Jun 21, 2012

How much of a difference is there between different brands of USB flash drives?

I have used SanDisk products for years, basically because I've always thought of them as a quality product. I was looking at prices the other day, and was a little surprised at how much less expensive some other brands were. I have no complaints about SanDisk USB drives, in fact I can't recall ever having an issue with one, but I am curious if there is actually much of a difference between USB drives from various manufacturers.

I think a lot of it depends on how much you want to spend. If you can get by with one that is cheaper, and perhaps slower then that might be your best bet. There are differences, but how significant will they be for what you'd use the product for in the first place?

I'd sit down and figure out your budget, and then define what you need to do. Then start looking for reviews of the USB flash drives you are interested in buying. Grab the cheapest one that does what you need it to do.

A lot of it is features such as construction, included software, a cool look, etc., but there are also real differences.  I've used a USB drive that I got as a freebie at a trade show that worked ok on a Windows machine, but was not recognized by my Linux desktop, for example.  Beyond features, which along with capacity drives most of the cost, there are very real differences in speed between some USB drives.  Many of them are fairly close in performance, to the point that you wouldn't be likely to notice the difference in normal use, but some have much sloooooooower read/write speeds, and with large files that does make a difference.  San Disk is a good product, usually at the high end of speed benchmarks, even if not always the absolute fastest, and they have a lifetime warranty, so you do get what you pay for.  San Disk has also been a Ducati Moto GP sponsor, and makes Ducati edition products, so they get big bonus points from me for matching my racebike!    

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