When the small USB starts thinking big

Three USB devices that show small does not mean limited capabilities

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | Published: April 6, 2014 8:42:32 am
IMG_20140330_185412 This gives a good idea of how big the Transcend JetFlash 510G and Stronium Nitro are.

The USB drive is one of most ubiquitous pieces of technology. But we don’t give it the attention it deserves. However, that has not stopped these small pieces of science from going on the fast lane of innovation.

Yes, USBs have been becoming small. In fact, some have become so small that any smaller and they wouldn’t even fit in the USB ports. So keeping their small size companies are trying to add more storage capacities. The smallest USB drives can now hold enormous amounts of data. This when it was not long back that we used to treasure our first drives that came with 128MB storage and hefty price tags. They are also trying to become more useful by finding solutions to regular problems attributed to these small devices.

Here are three USB flash drives that push the envelope like never before.

Transcend JetFlash 510G


This is a USB flash drive that is as big as the tip of your thumb and weighs all of 2.7 grams. But that does not mean this one is short on space. In fact, this specific model has 32GB of storage. Just for the record, that is over 15,000 medium size digital photographs, 8 hours of FullHD videos or about 8,000 songs.

For me, the biggest advantage of the JetFlash 510 is that the size makes it so convenient to be used as additional storage that does not need to be removed and stowed away after use. It hardly protrudes from the body of the laptop and you can just keep it there. However, this one uses the slower USB 2.0 and is not 3.0 compatible. It took me 9 minutes to copy a 5.3GB folder which had 10 different files in it.

Rs 1,250 for the 32GB Gold version

Strontium Nitro


This is an On-The-Go (OTG) USB device with 32GB storage. Data stored on OTG devices can be accessed from compatible smartphones and tablets. So the Nitro has two sides, one a regular USB head and the other a micro-USB for smart devices. It comes with a cap to protect the micro-USB side.

We tested the Nitro on a Gionee Elife E7 with a USB OTG file manager app downloaded from Google Play and faced no issues. The files stored on the device rendered fast and played without hiccups. This is also a USB 2.0 device and the same 5.3GB folder took the same 9 minutes to transfer. The Strontium Nitro is slightly larger than the Transcend JetFlash 510G, but still weighs under 3 grams.

Rs 1,400

Kingston Datatraveller Workspace 32GB


Though not hugely popular, WindowsToGo USB devices have been around since the launch of Windows 8 about two years back. These USB drives let you take an IT managed and secured workspace wherever you go. Aimed at people who use a lot of public computers, this USB drive can give a safe Windows 8 environment wherever you are.

All you need to do is plug in a WindowsToGo compatible device like the DT Workspace into a PC or laptop and reboot. Once the computer fires up again, it will load the Windows 8 OS. You can access the web, open files stored in the USB or even access the office systems without leaving any traces on the computer. The DT Workspace comes with a USB 3.0 and has a faster transfer rate than USB 2.0 drives.

It also has a feature that protects data for 30 seconds in case the drive has been unplugged accidentally. We tested the feature while watching a video and the movie resumed when we plugged the USB back in. However, WindowsToGo is not compatible for plug-and-play on all computers and needs to be opened through BIOS in some computers. But this a must-have devices for people who are always on the go, not always with their personal computers in tow.

Rs 6,726

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