Despite the ever-increasing popularity of Cloud storage services that allow us to seamlessly store our data in servers located inside the internet itself so we can access them wherever we may be and at any time of the day, the week, or the year, there are still those among us who prefer storing our precious data on portable physical storage devices. While there are plenty of options from SSD external drives to Secure Digital cards and even TransFlash cards with which we can store our data, nothing can beat the versatility of flash drives. Perhaps this is because almost all of our devices, both desktop and mobile, come with a USB interface allowing for instant communication between devices. As such, for those who would like to have the 10 cool USB drives to store your data in 2017, this is for you.
10 Really Cool USB Drives[toc]
SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.0 Flash Drive by SanDisk
For road warriors who want a really thumb-sized flash drive to store and secure all of their data, the SanDisk Ultra Fit seems to be a very excellent option. Built to be no larger than the Bluetooth adapter of a wireless mouse, the Ultra Fit is more that capable of living up to its moniker. It can write data up to 15 times the speed of standard USB 2.0 drives allowing you to copy your favorite full-length film in under 30 seconds. For security-conscious individuals, the Ultra Fit provides its own digital security platform, the SanDisk SecureAccess which allows you to create your own private folder fully secure with 128-bit AES encryption. You no longer need to individually apply security password-enabled features in each file that you want to secure. All you need is to drag and drop them into your SecureAccess folder to provide you with instant file and folder security. One of the downsides of having too many files to manage at once is the accidental deletion of certain files. While you can recover these through your Trash Bin in your desktop, a more ingenious solution is SanDisk’s RescuePRO deluxe which gives you the benefit of recovering your lost data. The Ultra Fit comes in 16, 32, 64, and 128 GB capacities giving you superb options for all of your data needs.
What We Like about It – The very low profile of the Ultra Fit plus its excellent data recovery and file security support gives this portable storage device the thumbs-up of close to 3,500 satisfied data warriors.
Transcend StoreJet 25M3 Military Drop Tested USB 3.0 External Hard Drive by Transcend
For those who have a knack for dropping things, whether accidentally or otherwise, the solution is Transcend’sstoreJet 25M3. This one’s been designed and tested to withstand drops with its patented military-grade advanced 3-stage shock resistance and protection system coupled with an anti-shock rubber external casing. With this system, you can be sure that its internal hard drive mechanism stays in place regardless of the force of the impact. But that’s not the only thing that you’ll admire from the StoreJet 25M3. It also features a Quick Reconnect Button for those incidents of accidental removal of the USB cable from your device’s port. In some cases where a USB device malfunctions, we always try to safely remove the device first before we can even attempt to reconnect it. With the Quick Reconnect feature of the StoreJet 25M3, there’s no need to go through that process anymore. Just press the button and it instantly reconnects. It also has an Auto-Backup feature giving you superb security for your files. This requires the Transcend Elite software, though. Adding to file security is a file and folder encryption technology based on a 256-bit AES system. With data transfer speeds rated at 90 MB per second, the StoreJet 25M3 is 3 times faster than standard USB 2.0 models giving you superb control of your data storage needs. Available in 1 or 2 terabyte capacity, the StoreJet 25M3 is the solution for massive data storage requirements.
What We Like about It – The durability and quick reconnection features of the StoreJet 25M3 justify the more than 2,500 super contented customers. Add the security and data management features and you’ve got one of the best USB storage drives this 2017.
Seagate Expansion Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 by Seagate
If you’re looking for an external hard drive that you can plug to any USB port and instantly use it without having to install anything else to make it work, then the Seagate Expansion Portable External Hard Drive is just for you. Available in ultra-high capacity systems of 1 to 4 terabytes, the Expansion Portable features a patented SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port that you can instantly connect to any Universal Serial Bus port in your computer that runs on Windows 7 or 8. The interface of the Seagate Expansion is so easy that it’s as simple as drag and drop. There are no complicated processes you’ll need to undertake to move your files from your computer’s hard drive to the Expansion Portable EHD. You can safely organize your files be it media files, projects, or even document files so you can easily access them whenever you need them.
What We Like about It – When it comes to computer hard drives, Seagate is one of the most respected names. You can thus count on its reputation to give you a superb product in the expansion Portable External HD.
Samsung BAR USB 3.0 Flash Drive by Samsung
Want a really sleek-looking thumb drive? Then the Samsung BAR is the answer. Designed to be as sexy and stylish as its other signature electronic items, the Samsung BAR comes in a high quality and super durable metal casing that is as elegant as it is functional. The beautifully curved key ring gives you the physical security you need to keep the BAR with you all the time. The BAR has other features that make it the preferred storage solution of highly active people, especially those who combine work and play like some X-gamer. The Samsung BAR is fully waterproof, giving you the worry-free protection in case you find yourself drenched in the rain or fall into a swimming pool. It’s also shock-proof, protecting the sensitive data management mechanisms inside its sexy metallic body. The Samsung BAR is also magnet proof so you can be sure your data won’t be lost in case you happen to get anywhere near a magnetic field. Even going through airport security and its x-ray system, your data will still be protected because of its superb x-ray protection. Boasting of NAND Flash technology, the Samsung BAR allows you to perform data transfers at lightning speeds. Clearly, the close to 2,000 customers who left very high marks for the BAR saw the true potential of this winner.
What We Like about It – It’s the sleek design of the BAR that we fell in love with first and foremost. The advanced construction giving it superb protection against the elements is also very noteworthy.
SanDisk Cruzer CZ36 USB 2.0 Flash Drive by SanDisk
With almost 15,000 rave reviews, it should not really be surprising to see the SanDisk Cruzer CZ36 to be the bestselling USB flash drive in the world. While it only operates on a USB 2.0 platform, it is still able to provide fast data transfers to its 8 GB to 256 GB capacity variants. The slide-to-open design of the Cruzer CZ36 eliminates the need for a separate cap which can get lost if you’re not really careful about it. And since the USB connectors are all found within the cavity of the Cruzer CZ36, you can feel more secure about its physical integrity than if it were exposed in the outside. Install the signature SanDisk SecureAccess program in your computer and you can easily create a fully protected folder for all of your sensitive files. There’s no need to place a password security feature on each folder or file. Anything and everything that you drag and drop into the SecureAccess-built privacy folder is instantly secured using a 128-bit AES encryption technology. If you want a USB flash drive that’s literally trusted by thousands of consumers worldwide, then the Cruzer CZ36 is the one you definitely have to get.
What We Like about It – With thousands of rave reviews, we’re inclined to admit it’s the best. Sadly, it may not appeal to individuals with USB 3.0 ports. The speed of data transfers is quite fast, nonetheless.
Samsung USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit by Samsung
Love the sleek design of the Samsung BAR but wished it were smaller? Then the Samsung Fit is the flash drive to get. Technically, it has all the same features as the Samsung BAR. From its superb waterproofing features down to its x-ray protection, magnet proofing, temperature proofing, and excellent shock proofing properties, the Samsung Fit is perfect for individuals who require lightning quick data transfers but in a super compact design. The Fit is almost similar to the SanDisk Ultra Fit, leaving behind a very small signature that you won’t even notice it’s there. Now, for those who may have problems with short-term recall, this may not really be a good idea as its miniscule size can make it quite challenging to locate. However, it does have a hole in which a small ring, loop, or string can be inserted and tied. Another potential issue is that the connectors of the Fit are inherently exposed so you’ll have to make sure never to bring this in areas where there is substantial amount of dirt or dust. It is, nevertheless, a very sophisticated way of storing your precious data.
What We Like about It – With a very small and compact design, the Fit is perfect for those who don’t like bulky storage devices. Its NAND Flash technology also helps ensure faster rates of transfers.
Kingston Digital DataTraveler SE9 USB 2.0 by Kingston
At first glance, you’ll think the Kingston Digital DataTraveler SE9 is nothing more than a thin strip of metal that has your name engraved on its sleek metallic surface. However, it is this very slim profile that makes the DataTraveler so appealing that customers have been so satisfied about the product that more than 10,000 of them actually left very positive comments and reviews for other potential buyers to consider. The width of the DataTraveler is actually smaller than the width of your little finger and its length is not even half the length of your thumb. Its fully integrated key ring hole makes it highly ideal for attaching to your keychain so it won’t get lost in the process. If there’s one negative about the Kingston DataTraveler, it is its USB 2.0 platform. We’re not really sure how it performs on a 3.0 port. It will still be able to transfer files and folders at an amazing speed but will not be able to fully capitalize on the USB 3.0 architecture of your device. Additionally, it only supports Windows XP, Vista, and 7 as well as Mac. Perhaps, additional software updates can make it work as well in Windows 8 and 10 as well as later versions of the Mac.
What We Like about It – The super slim styling of the DataTraveler is really fantastic. It gives you an impression that it’s not really a data storage device.
SanDisk Cruzer Fit CZ33 USB 2.0 LowProfile Flash Drive by SanDisk
Let’s just say the SanDisk Cruzer Fit CZ33 is the older cousin of the Ultra Fit. It features the same SanDisk SecureAccess program that you can use to provide extra security for your files. It also has a very small profile making it super handy. Unfortunately, unlike the Ultra Fit, the Cruzer Fit runs on USB 2.0 and only comes with a maximum of 64 GB of storage space. Nevertheless, it’s still well-backed by no less than 10,000 positive comments, feedbacks, and reviews. For a USB drive that runs on the 2.0 system, we’d say it’s remarkable.
What We Like about It – It’s perfect for people preferring smaller or tinier storage solutions. The SecureAccess is a welcome addition, too.
Samsung USB 3.0 Flash Drive Duo by Samsung
Majority of the USB flash drives we have today work only on the standard USB port. Regrettably, you will not be able to transfer your files on your mobile devices directly to a flash drive. You’ll need to transfer it first to your computer and then transfer the files to your mobile device using the Micro USB cable that came with your device. Samsung has managed to solve this issue with the Samsung Flash Drive Duo. The Duo already features both the standard USB connectors and another one specifically designed for Micro USB ports like those found in your smartphones and tablets. This way, you can easily manage your files on your mobile devices by storing them on the Duo without the need to first connect through a computer. With the same element-proofing features, NAND Flash technology, and a really sophisticated metallic and super slim design, the Samsung Duo is one of the fastest rising stars in the world of mobile storage solutions.
What We Like about It – Give it a few more months and the Samsung Duo will also gain the worldwide recognition of the other products we have in this list. The dual USB and Micro USB connectivity is simply the best selling point of the Duo.
PNY Turbo USB 3.0 Flash Drive by PNY
Boasting of a sliding collar design, eliminating the need for a cap, the PNY Turbo USB Flash Drive is one unique-looking storage solution with a fully integrated loop allowing it to be attached to any key chain or any other item. The Turbo is available in 16 to 256 GB capacities so there’s bound to be a solution for your needs. Like all USB 3.0 devices, the PNY Turbo is also backwards compatible allowing you to use it on devices that have USB 2.0 ports.
What We Like about It – It’s the cap-less, sliding collar design that is quite remarkable in the PNY. And we think this is what close to 10,000 customers also think and like about it.
How We Chose the Cool USB Drives in Our List
While we wanted to be as objective as possible in our search for the coolest USB drives that you can use to store your data this 2017, we had to admit that we had to focus more on tech companies that have an unquestionable reputation in the design and production of portable storage devices. You can say it’s like choosing between Microsoft and Apple or Intel and AMD. Whatever you choose, technically, you can rely on these companies to provide you with the kind of product that you expect.
It would be foolhardy for us to make this evaluation by ourselves alone, however. We did look at existing product ratings to help validate our initial assessment. So, we only included products that have at least 4 stars on their ratings. We also looked at the number of positive reviews that the product was able to obtain. If it gained thousands, then it’s more likely to end up in our list than not.
Once all of the shortlisted USB drives have been screened, we then scrutinized their individual features, what makes them really unique. We looked at built-in security features because data security is an overriding concern these days, what with internet hacking, identity theft, and distributed denial of service attacks occurring at a very rapid pace. It was also crucial to look at the backwards compatibility of these devices as not all of us have the luxury of owning the latest devices. Other features were identified and then evaluated for the benefits that they provide.
Lastly, we looked into the style or design of the USB drive. We know that bulky storage devices are a big no-no for many individuals. Today, size does matter. And if we can have a product that allows us to pack 1 terabyte of data in a storage device no larger than the nail on our thumb, then that would really be amazing. Of course, there will always be trade-offs for such a miniscule design. We studied these effects carefully, too.
Choosing the Right Data Storage Solution
Many of the computers we use today come with massive storage capabilities with entry products often starting at 320 to 500 GB of hard disk space. Some can easily run in the terabytes with options for adding some more. While it is quite easy to enumerate the things you need to look for when choosing the right storage device, it all comes down to a few basic things: security, accessibility, and convenience.
When it comes to security, it pays to choose a storage solution that can give you superb encryption. While different types of storage devices offer varying degrees of protection, most experts agree that using a physical storage solution such as flash drives with superior security infrastructure is a lot better than using network accessible storage devices such as Cloud services. This is because of the lower risk of exposure against DDoS or cybercrime threats.
However, when accessibility and convenience are factored in, there are no clear winners. Cloud-based services may come in handy as long as you can connect to the internet. Physical storage solutions will only be effective so long as you are able to keep the integrity of the storage devices. Bulkier external hard drives may not be convenient but they do give you superior latitude when it comes to storage. Super slim, low-profile storage solutions, on the other hand, give you absolute convenience. Unfortunately, because of their small signature, they are more susceptible to being lost.
In deciding which data storage solution to use, it is often a lot better to have both a Cloud-based and a physical storage device, with either solution being the backup of the other. At least, you’ll have better control of your data.
The Bottom Line
If you’re always finding yourself complaining about the scarcity of storage for all of your files, any of our 10 cool USB drives can be the perfect answer. You can be more productive with your data fully organized and well-secured in a storage device that’s well-loved by thousands all over the world.
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