We had another tiny on-the-go USB come across our desks. This one is the Kingston DataTraveler 109 8GB personal USB drive.
First off from a design standpoint the device is very small in a plastic housing. The plastic is not the toughest casing for such a drive, but in a smaller package, it does enough to stay safe. that would not be very tough in a larger unit, but is OK in the smaller package. The large hole in the back makes it easy to slip on a keyring or a thread/lanyard for easy transport.
The black and white coloring looks great and helps you keep straight which side is up.
The data is tucked back in the unit which has done enough to protect it while on my keyring during the three weeks of testing. Its not water or dust proof like others, but we have not had an issue yet and I try not to drop my keys in water anyway.
Along with being a nice drive it is also pre-loaded with the 122MB URDrive software and applications which are designed to give you a little more than the traditional drive. The site claims “Most USB Flash drives offer passive storage, which simply allows users to store and retrieve their data. urDrive offers engaged, active storage that allows you to easily access and organize your files, photos, videos and music.”
I am still wondering why this is necessary and I have not found my self needing the included apps. Like other drives in the past that fire software when inserted, urDrive is not bootable – it is not an operating system. Its more like a shell program that allows you to better use and view the files you choose to store on it.
The large app buttons bring up several pre-loaded applications-
Norton PC Checkup, which needs to be loaded onto your PC.
Maxthon Browser, which needs an internet connection and can download data straight to the thumb drive and various other apps like like a kids site, a store for videos and music and games (WHY?)
The included shell software makes things difficult and borderline unnecessary. Things like sorting your files by music and movies, playing said files on included media players. Although its all nice looking, I'm still not sure why it exists. Of course it works well with Windows but the urDrive doesn't work on Mac, which is fine because I am predominately a Mac user so I could avoid it. Although I did fire it up on a Windows machine for the review. Norton software is really the only worthwhile include.
The drive comes in three sizes 4, 8 and 16 GBs. Right now Kingston has a promo price of $8! for the 8GB drive, that may be enough to just put this over the top. Along with an included five year warranty.
+ Included five year warranty
- urDrive software is slightly unnecessary for most