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By Hanleigh Daniels 8 July 2013

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While portable hard-drives and externals might be a common fixture in many computer user’s notebook bags these days, flash drives still remain the most accessible and convenient method of quickly swapping out multimedia files or backing up your work documents.    

SanDisk’s Extreme USB 3.0 flash drive sports a functional, rather than a flashy (pardon the pun), design. The all-plastic construction of the drive features a black matte finish, with the USB plug being retractable via a glossy plastic slider. The pocket-sized memory stick measures in at 70.87 x 21.34 x 11.43 mm and boasts a handy keyring attachment at the back, which allows users to keep it with them while on the road.

Performance

In terms of available storage space, the SanDisk Extreme offers a decent 32 GB worth of portable storage along with an additional 2 GB online storage via YuuWaa cloud storage.

We like the fact that SanDisk included a copy of its SecureAccess software, which enables users you to encrypt (128-bit AES) their private- or work documents and data. The interface of this useful software is easy and straightforward to employ, and also enables users to password protect their flash drive.

According to SanDisk, the Extreme USB 3.0 flash drive delivers data transfer speeds of up to 190 MB per second when plugged into a USB 3.0 port. During testing we were able to copy a 1.6 GB full HD TV episode to the drive in just 16 seconds, which is substantially faster than the 45 seconds it took the Kingston DataTraveler R3.0 flash drive (review, also a USB 3.0 drive) to achieve the same feat.

The drive is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 ports and when it was connected to a USB 2.0 port, transferring the same episode to the Extreme took around 43 seconds. This, again, was comfortably faster than the DataTraveler R3.0’s time of 1 minute 6 seconds.

To the point

SanDisk’s Extreme USB 3.0 flash drive might not be the best looking flash drive on the market, but it certainly is one of the most useful, feature rich drives available. Users get access to USB 3.0 transfer speeds, password protection for their drive as well as the piece of mind that one’s data is encrypted should the drive go missing.

The recommended retail price of the drive is an expensive R700, especially in light of the fact that you can easily get a 64 GB USB 3.0 flash drive for that price.  

PROS
Blistering data transfer speeds; and offers both data encryption as well as password protection.
CONS
Expensive; and not as eye-catching a design as some other consumer USB 3.0 flash drives.
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