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How to Choose a Flash Drive

Catalogue

Flash drives are the most sought-after compact storage devices for transferring data, such as work documents and media files. The number of flash drives with different parameters available today can be overwhelming. We're here to help you navigate through this large range of drives, and to make sure you choose the right one.

How to choose a flash drive

How Should You Choose a Flash Drive? Here Are Some Tips

  1. USB 3.1 flash drives reach high transfer speeds.

  2. For multimedia files, choose the maximum capacity you can afford.

  3. Office documents will transfer well with even low-capacity flash drives.

  4. USB 3.1 flash drives are backward compatible with USB 2.0.

Frequently Asked Questions When Choosing a Flash Drive

Capacity

The fundamental parameter of a flash drive is its capacity. With the ever-increasing file sizes, capacity often becomes limiting, which is why we recommend that you get a drive with a higher capacity than you currently consider sufficient.

  • For documents, a gigabyte-range capacity is usually enough.
  • For multimedia files, we recommend the maximum capacity that your budget will allow.

The Amount of Files You Can Store on a Flash Drive with a Given Capacity

File Type4GB8GB16GB32GB64GB
HD video (min.)60120240480960
Photos (10MP)13002600520010,40020,800
Audio file (MP3)100020004000800016,000
(Photo size 3MB, audio file size 4MB, HD video bitrate 9Mbps.)

Read and Write Speed

Write speed determines how long it takes for your data to save to the flash drive, whereas read speed determines how fast you can transfer files from the flash drive or play them back. High write and read speeds become particularly noticeable when you're transferring large files.

  • For transfer of large files, we recommend flash drives with high write and read speeds.
  • You can expect high speeds from USB 3.1 (3.1 gen1) drives and USB-C drives with USB 3.1 support.

Interface Comparison

InterfaceConnectorBandwidth
USB 2.0USB-A, USB-C480Mb/s
USB 3.0 (3.1 Gen1)5Gb/s
USB 3.1 (3.1 Gen2)10Gb/s
File size is given in bytes. 1 byte (1B) = 8 bits (8b).

The write and read speeds of USB 3.1 flash drives can be more than ten times higher than those of USB 2.0 drives.

Approximate File Transfer Time

File TypeApproximate SizeWrite timeRead time
USB 2.0USB 3.1USB 2.0USB 3.1
Full HD film15GB31 min3.5 min7.5 min1 min
100 photos1GB2 min15s65s9s
50 songs250MB31s4s20s3s
Write time varies depending on the size of the individual files, the flash drive mode, and the device connected to the flash drive.

The read and the write speeds are significantly different. This is because reading only requires the system to find the exact physical location of the file in the memory cells, but not to change the cells. Writing, on the other hand, requires change in voltage in order to change the status of the cells. If cells contain old data, they must also be erased before the writing process can start. This results in lower write speeds.

Data Backup

Flash drives shouldn't be used to backup data. A limited number of write cycles (in the thousands) is enough for a casual user, but it can be limiting when it comes to frequent backups. Flash drives are also less reliable than hard drives and they're easy to lose. For backing up data, we recommend using an external hard drive, which also beats a flash drive when it comes to the price/capacity ratio.

i If you're planning to use your flash drive to play high-resolution video files (especially 4K/UHD), know that low read speed can cause lagging.
Types of Flash Drives

Miniature Flash Drives

  • Small dimensions
  • Don't stick out too much from a port
  • Dimensions have no effect on capacity
Miniature flash drives

Durable Flash Drives

  • Highly durable; don't break easily
  • Will survive impact, falls and rain
  • Help transfer data as safely as possible
Durable flash drives

USB-C Flash Drives

  • Reversible connector (you always plug it in correctly)
  • Fast data transfer
USB-C flash drives

OTG Flash Drives

  • Connectors for a computer and a mobile device
  • Transfer data between computers and mobile devices
OTG flash drives

Children's Flash Drives

  • Carry your data in style
  • Made in shapes of popular characters
  • Unique designs that adults can enjoy too
Children's flash drives

Encrypted Flash Drives

  • Saved data is protected with encryption
  • Highly secure file transfer
  • Files can be accessed only with password
Encrypted flash drives

Flash Drive Features

Waterproof flash drives

Water Resistance

If your waterproof flash drive gets splashed with water, or is forced to take short bath, your data stays safe. You never have to worry about the weather or minor accidents.

Encrypted flash drives

Encryption

If you're using your flash drive to transfer important files that unauthorised people shouldn't be able to access, you can't go wrong with an encrypted flash drive. Only those with a password will be able to access the data.

LED activity indicator

LED activity indicator

An LED flash drive is equipped with an LED activity indicator. It tells you when data is being written to or read from the drive.

Retractable flash drives

Retractable Connector

To protect the connector, a retractable flash drive uses a mechanism that allows you to retract it when you're not using it. The connector is then shielded by the body of the flash drive when you carry it around.

Durable flash drive

Durable Design

Durable flash drives protect against accidental impact and water damage. We definitely recommend one of these if you're planning to carry the drive around often. Your data will stay safe in any situation.

Keychain loop

Keychain Loop

You can easily attach a flash drive with a loop to your keys. You'll be sure to never lose it.

Glossary - Flash Drives

USB

USB, short for Universal Serial Bus, allows you to quickly and easily connect peripherals and other accessories to your computer or other devices. Connectors currently in use are USB 2.0, USB 3.0/3.1, and the latest USB Type-C.

Capacity

Something you should focus on when choosing a flash drive is memory capacity. It's crucial for the actual number of files you can save on the flash drive.

USB OTG

USB OTG (On the Go) flash drives are equipped with two connectors; one connects to a computer and the other to a mobile device.

Glossary
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