SanDisk Cruzer U3 Drive

September 28th, 2007 by Potato

I’ve had a Kingston USB drive with U3 for a while now, and have quite liked it. The U3 software can be a little naggy at times, and does slow down the first recognition of the drive by Windows, but the ability to carry around some programs, and most importantly, to easily password protect the whole stick appeals to me.

So when my dad decided that he didn’t want to carry his laptop back and forth with him to the cottage, and instead bought a second to leave there, he suddenly had a need for something to securely carry his data back and forth. I decided to get him a U3 thumb drive, and some kind of automated synchronization software. When I saw the SanDisk cruzer 4 GB U3 stick with “Cruzersync” I figured I had exactly what he needed. Cruzersync is billed as a synchronization program:

CruzerSync™ U3 Edition software allows SanDisk Cruzer® smart drive users to easily and securely (AES 128-bit encryption) access, edit and restore ALL their personal files (productivity documents, audio and video files, bookmarks etc.) and Outlook® data (emails, attachments, calendar, contacts, notes, tasks) at anytime from any computer in the world. A true Mobile Desktop at your fingertips!

[emphasis mine].

It turns out, though, that it’s not a synchronization program at all. It is fairly intuitive and easy to set up a “synchronization” between the computer and the stick, and once the directories to sync are set up, it will “synchronize” with just one button to find, so it’s perfect for my dad… except that it only works on one computer. You can’t really synchronize at all, instead it’s just a flashy automatic backup program. There is a mechanism for uploading files off the stick to another computer (or to your “main computer” if you accidentally delete some), but it’s no more automatic or intuitive than using the drive as a normal disk/folder and manually copying the files back and forth.

Other than that bit of bait-and-switch, it seems to be a good drive. It has a decent write speed, it’s light, and attractive (the black with orange accent light is very Halloweeny :)

With U3, there are some other providers of software, so I’m trying some other synchronization tools to see if they’ll work for my dad (they’re a bit pricey, around $30, but that’s really nothing compared to $900 for a second laptop). Otherwise, I may have to teach him how to copy his work to the U3 drive and then back to the computer, or create some kind of batch file to do that automagically.

Wayfare also recently got a new Kingston memory stick, this a 4 GB one without U3 (she just outgrew her 2 GB stick). However, it’s been frightlyfully slow, taking a good couple of seconds to save an empty Word document to the stick, and over a minute to save my thesis. Her old memory stick, also a Kingston, was at least twice as fast at transferring the very same files. Kingston tech support suggested that there might be a defect with it, and that they did have a batch go out that should be recalled due to slow speeds, but her serial number wasn’t in the range. We replaced it anyway, but the replacement is just as bad. Of course, they both came from the same Best Buy within a day or so of each other, so maybe I shouldn’t have expected any kind of improvement. I think we’re going to try exchanging it for a SanDisk next week.

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