USB Flash Drive review

06/2019

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6
products tested
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45
hours invested
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3770
Amazon reviews analyzed
Winner IconOur winner:
SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB
USB Flash Drive

USB flash drives are extremely practical in everyday life. With these small devices, data can be transported and transferred anywhere at any time. We have tested 6 flash drives and paid special attention to their read and write speeds. Our test winner is the SanDisk Extreme Pro 128 GB stick: The device convinces with the fastest write speed by far and a 30-year warranty. Our favourite with the test mark 9,3/10!

We test independently. Askgeorge.com uses affiliate links. For a purchase via a link marked with a or our price comparison, we may receive a small commission.

last modified: 30.10.2019, 14:05
Winner Best price winner
Our winner: SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB Transcend JetFlash 780 128GB	 Review Samsung MUF-BA 128 GB 3.0 Memory Bar Review Kingston DataTraveler Elite G2 DTEG2 128GB Review SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive 128GB Review Patriot Supersonic Boost 128 GB Review

SanDisk
Extreme Pro 128GB

Transcend
JetFlash 780 128GB

Samsung
MUF-BA 128 GB 3.0 Memory Bar

Kingston
DataTraveler Elite G2 DTEG2 128GB

SanDisk
Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive 128GB

Patriot
Supersonic Boost 128 GB

  • High reading and writing speed
  • Extendable USB port
  • Extremely high reading speed
  • Extremely small and compact
  • Innovative design
  • High reading speed
  • Expendable USB port
  • Light and handy
  • Protected by rubber casing
  • Big
  • No possibility to attach to key ring
  • Relatively slow reading speed
  • Cap is easily lost
  • Slow writing speed
  • Slow reading speed
  • Cap is easily lost
  • Slow writing speed

Extremely fast and powerful USB flash drive, which also has its price.

A USB flash drive with extremely high reading speed and good writing speed.

A very small, practical USB flash drive for your key ring.

An average USB flash drive with slow writing speed. Suitable for the average consumer.

Average USB flash drive with slow writing speed.

An average USB flash drive with a slow writing speed due to its small cache.

Cent / GB 32 51 61 40 17 18
Reading speed 325 MB/s 329 MB/s 141 MB/s 214 MB/s 172 MB/s 200 MB/s
Writing speed 303 MB/s 152 MB/s 110 MB/s 92 MB/s 59 MB/s 76 MB/s
Read speed
Write speed
Compactness
Design
Additional warranty 30 years 5 years 5 years 5 years 5 years 3 years
Scope of delivery Flash Drive Flash drive Flash drive Flash drive Flash drive Flash drive
Quality impression Very good Good Good Good Satisfactory Good
Packaging Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard
Height 1,1 cm 0,8 cm 1,1 cm 1,9 cm 1,1 cm 2 cm
Width 7,1 cm 7 cm 4 cm 5,9 cm 2,2 cm 6 cm
Depth 2,1 cm 1,8 cm 1,2 cm 1,1 cm 6,2 cm 1,2 cm
Weight 18 g 12 g 9 g 18 g 13 g 13 g
Manual language EN, DE, ES, FR, IT, PO EN, ES, DE, IT, PO, NL, FR, RU, TK, KR, JA, CH EN, KR, JA, CH 25 languages EN, FR, IT, DE, ES, RU, PO EN, FR, DE, ES, RU, CH
Quality of instructions Good Good Good Good Good Good
Ports USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0
Test seal: SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB, Rating 1.53
read review
Test seal: Transcend JetFlash 780 128GB	, Rating 1.85
read review
Test seal: Samsung MUF-BA 128 GB 3.0 Memory Bar, Rating 1.98
read review
Test seal: Kingston DataTraveler Elite G2 DTEG2 128GB, Rating 2.32
read review
Test seal: SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive 128GB, Rating 2.49
read review
Test seal: Patriot Supersonic Boost 128 GB, Rating 2.49
read review
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*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

Tested products

1st place: SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB

Test seal: SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB, Rating good

The SanDisk Extreme PRO is an extremely powerful flash drive. With its speeds of over 300 MB/s in both reading and writing, it achieves SSD speed values. The speed remains constant over the entire duration of the transfer process and does not break off at any point.

read review
Transcend JetFlash 780 128GB	 - thumbnail Test seal: Transcend JetFlash 780 128GB	, Rating good

2nd place: Transcend JetFlash 780 128GB

The Transcend JetFlash can convince with its performance. Its read speed can compete with that of an SSD hard disk. Its writing speed is average. Altogether an above average USB flash drive, but may not be worth its price for every consumer.

read review
Samsung MUF-BA 128 GB 3.0 Memory Bar - thumbnail Test seal: Samsung MUF-BA 128 GB 3.0 Memory Bar, Rating good

3rd place: Samsung MUF-BA 128 GB 3.0 Memory Bar

The Samsung Memory Bar is the perfect flash drive to put on your keychain. It is extremely small and extremely light. The speed values are also convincing.

read review
Kingston DataTraveler Elite G2 DTEG2 128GB - thumbnail Test seal: Kingston DataTraveler Elite G2 DTEG2 128GB, Rating good

4th place: Kingston DataTraveler Elite G2 DTEG2 128GB

The Kingston DataTraveler is an averagely powerful USB flash drive. The read speed was convincing, but the write speed of the device is slower than that of many competitors. In addition, the USB port is protected by a plastic cap, which can quickly get lost.

read review
SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive 128GB - thumbnail Test seal: SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive 128GB, Rating good

5th place: SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive 128GB

The SanDisk Ultra is an ordinary USB flash drive. A very good solution for the average consumer - who is not dependent on SSD speeds - because of its great price-performance ratio.

read review
Patriot Supersonic Boost 128 GB - thumbnail Test seal: Patriot Supersonic Boost 128 GB, Rating good

6th place: Patriot Supersonic Boost 128 GB

The Patriot Supersonic Boost is an averagely performing USB flash drive, protected by a rubber coating. The speed test showed that the stick is fast when reading, but a little slower in writing. All in all, however, it is suitable for the average consumer.

read review

SanDisk - Extreme Pro 128GB

Winner: read review
  • For faster data transfer use a USB 3.0 flash drive
  • The USB stick is an alternative to the cloud for mobile data access.
  • It is well suited for attachment to a key ring
  • With additional software the USB flash drive can be used to encrypt the computer.
 

Prior to the test, we defined practical requirements and defined the following test criteria:

  • reading speed
  • writing speed
  • compactness
  • design


In order to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for the USB sticks. First, the scope of delivery is controlled. With two different softwares, the transmission speed for writing and reading the sticks is checked.

Results of transmission speed for writing and reading
Results of transmission speed for writing and reading

The results are recorded by screenshot. It also assesses how well the devices can be carried.

In order to rule out errors and to ensure the burden of everyday use, each test takes place in several passes.

The test criteria receive percentage shares depending on their importance. The final score is finally objectively calculated by means of an algorithm from the test criteria.

Product selection

Our product selection is done by observing the current market. In addition to popular branded products, we also include insider tips in our selection. Criteria such as price and functionality are an important factor for us. Also by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (eg Stiftung Warentest), the test field is determined.

The devices are purchased anonymously or borrowed from the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our rating.

As soon as new relevant products hit the market, our test field will be extended. The new products go through the same test as the tested devices.

USB flash drives are characterized by their qualitaty and their versatile properties and application possibilities. But there are certain things you should keep in mind when buying a USB flash drive.

Experience has shown that not every USB flash drive is ideal for every type of data storage. In order to achieve the highest possible writing and reading speed, a USB stick should have at least version 3 or 3.1. You can recognize this by the blue plastic marking in the plug and, of course, on the outer package labelling of the USB stick.

USB sticks with a storage capacity of up to two terabytes are available. For quite some time, however, counterfeits have been romping about on the market at the lowest prices. Surely these cheap parts may be very tempting at first glance. But mostly they only have a storage capacity of a few gigabytes.

A USB flash drive is a mobile, electronic storage medium on which a great variety of digitised information of all kinds can be stored. These flash drives can be connected to a computer or other terminal device via the so-called Universal Serial Bus or USB.

Both elements, the USB port and the flash drive, are directly coupled to each other and thus form a unit. An additional cable is therefore not required for functionality. No matter if documents, pictures, movies or files: A USB flash drive is indispensable for everyone who wants an efficient medium on which even larger amounts of data can be stored. If, however, you compare the USB flash drive with the performance of a classic hard disk, it should be noted that under certain conditions the stored data is only available for a limited period of time.

It wasn't too long ago that DVDs or CDs were used instead of USB flash drives to store larger amounts of data. As versatile and flexible as USB flash drives are, they have one major disadvantage: The so-called data transfer rate sometimes lags behind the increasing capacity. This means that it might take half an hour to equip a USB flash drive with a storage capacity of 64 GBytes if the transfer rate is set at about 50 MBytes per second.

Also with regard to the guarantee of high security standards in companies, there is still potential for improvement with regard to functionality. Thus, one can theoretically install malware on a PC used for private or commercial purposes with the USB flash drive. These can be distributed at will via the company network. But it is to be expected that solutions for this will be found in the future. As a lot has already happened with regard to storage capacity as well.

In the first years after USB flash drives were established on the market, the storage capacity was generally about one to two gigabytes. Today, USB flash drives are offered with a storage capacity of 32 gigabytes to one terabyte. USB flash drives are formatted with the NTFS file system on Windows computers. For file sizes of one to two gigabytes, the FAT 32 file system is used. However, those who use the USB flash drive on a Mac PC or Linux computer use Ext, Ext2 or BtrFS file systems. These systems are not compatible with Windows computers.

Of course, one could ask what the advantage of the USB flash drive is, in comparison to the new so-called Sync-and-Share tools such as Dropbox or WeTransfer. In any case, the USB flash drive is literally "tangible" and is available in different colors and designs. It fits in every handbag and every purse and is therefore ideal for giving away or as a creative advertising gimmick.

USB flash drives are characterized by their versatile usage portfolio. They are primarily used for data storage and mass storage. It is possible to use them as a functional flash drive or to transfer data between computers or other terminal devices. Such as digital cameras, MP3 players or smartphones, for example. Depending on requirements, memory card readers or other adapters can also be used in order to benefit from extended storage capacities. USB flash drives are used both in business and private life for the wireless exchange of data.

The USB flash drive can be connected to a local wireless network or to a mobile phone network. USB flash drives are also used as a marketing gimmick in design-driven looks. This makes them even more attractive, and the recorded data can be passed on to buyers or potential customers. In this respect, it is a good idea to store technical data, advertising videos, songs or even advertising-effective pictures or picture galleries on corresponding USB flash drives.

USB flash drives with integrated WLAN function are subjects of growing popularity today. They are a little more expensive to buy, but they include a USB-A port and can be connected to the computer with it. While they are plugged in, they can be used as WLAN access points. The user is therefore able to open his own WLAN with a USB flash drive, into which further devices can then be implemented. This in turn offers the advantage of you being able to access the data stored on the flash drive via the network. USB flash drives can also come in a special version that can also be used as receivers for digital broadcasting. USB flash drives are also used for data conversion of analogue video or audio signals.

If you're looking for cheap USB flash drives these days, you'll quickly find them: devices with high memory capacity from established manufacturers at very low prices are available abundantly in online shops. Blinded by chance of a great deal, it may be too late to realize that it is a fake.

We'll give you tips on how to detect counterfeit products and how to check the storage of devices you've already purchased.

How can I check if the purchased flash drive is counterfeit?

Before you use the purchased flash drive, you should first check its capacity with your PC. With the test programs H2testw (Windows) and F3 (Linux/Mac) you can find out whether the available memory size matches the seller's specifications. Depending on the size of the storage medium, the verification process can take several hours. However, if you want to avoid data loss, it is worth the time. Some fake devices have less than 5% of the indicated capacity.

If unreadable sectors or errors occur during the test run, you should exchange or return the device. If the products do not contain information about the read and write speed, this is not yet a clear indication that it is a counterfeit. Even some large manufacturers do not provide this information. With high-quality storage media, however, usually come specific speed specifications.

Rules of thumb about speed: A USB 2.0 memory can achieve more than 30 MBytes/s, good USB 3.0 should achieve more than 60 MBytes/s. Many storage media are usually slower in writing than in reading. You can easily test the speed with Windows tools like Crystal Disk Mark. Results that are clearly too slow should be reported to the manufacturer.

Unfortunately the programs can't expose all forgeries. USB flash drives, for example, which are sold under the wrong brand, run without a problem at the beginning, but can give up after a while. To avoid the accidental purchase of a counterfeit, it's best to buy storage media from your trusted retailer. To check the purchase with the programs H2testw or F3 recommandable nevertheless. That way you can be confident that the device is intact and keeps its promises.

What to do in case of data loss?

A USB flash drive with incorrect memory information can have fatal consequences: If the device is written with more data than it can store, data will be lost forever. With fake storage media there is no way back, the data cannot be recovered. The only way to prevent this is to make backup copies. Duplicate important data, such as precious holiday pictures and important documents, and save them on at least one other storage medium. That way, you can make sure your data doesn't get lost.

How do I return the fake items?

If you are sure that you have purchased a fake device, you should return it to the retailer immediately. For sellers in the EU, this is especially possible for online shops within the first 14 days and without giving reasons.

However, this is not the case for dealers outside the EU. If a return is possible at all, it is much more complicated to conclude. The sales contract would not be concluded under the conditions of German or European law, but to the laws of countries in which the dealer is located.

How do I avoid purchasing fake USB flash drives?

The selling price is the first important note: A USB flash drive from Kingston with 2 TB memory for example costs more than 1100 Euro. If retailers on Amazon or eBay offer this flash drive for less than 20 Euro, you as a buyer should immediately become suspicious. Such price differences can only be a fake. Usually, these devices offer only a fraction of the specified storage space.

Before making a purchase it is advisable to compare offers of similiar devices on other search engines. That way can get a rough idea of the current market price and see how realistic the prices on the net are.

A closer look at the product's labelling can also be helpful. Even small spelling mistakes can unveil a fake.

For online platforms such as eBay or Amazon, you should pay attention to the seller's location. Most counterfeit USB flash drives come from the Far East. Here the import can already become problematic, if e.g. necessary documents are missing or the product does not have a CE mark. If product counterfeiting is suspected, customs will confiscate the goods and destroy them or send them back. In the worst case you will not get the goods nor your money back.

In order to avoid such problems you should buy from a trustworthy dealer if possible. With a reputable seller, you have the strongest consumer protection and can successfully complain about the products.

Important questions before the purchase

You should ask following questions in order to avoid buying counterfeit USB sticks.

  • Is the price in line with the market?
  • Is the capacity realistic?
  • Is the speed of the device indicated? If so, is it high enough?
  • Are there product specifications on the manufacturer's side?
  • Is the seller located in the EU?
  • Does the seller make a sincere impression?

If you can answer most of the questions with "yes", there is a very high probability that it is a real device and you can buy the desired stick without hesitation.

It was in 1988 that the USB flash drive first saw the light of day. If you look at it closely, it wasn't an innovation that had been planned for years, but rather a result of an emergency. It is Dov Moran, an engineer from Israel, who is now regarded as the inventor of the USB flash drive. He was on a plane, preparing for an important presentation. His problem, however, was that the technology played a trick on him: his battery didn't work and the data and results he generated weren't stored correctly either. The data volume was simply too large and exceeded the storage capacity of the floppy disk. The result was that everything he had worked out and written down for the forthcoming presentation was irretrievable. This was a groundbreaking experience for him and Moran swore that something like this would never happen to him again.

At that time, people still worked quite frequently with floppy disks and used them as storage medium. However, the storage capacities were often insufficient. Thus, they were not enough for the purposes of Dov Moran. He therefore wanted to create something completely new and founded the company M-Systems in 1989. The goal of Dov Moran and his team was to design a universal connection that could store as much data as possible. Nevertheless, the production costs as well as the later selling price should be as moderate as possible. Consequently, M-Systems faced an almost insoluble challenge. After extensive research and numerous experiments, the world's first USB flash drive was soon born, named DiskOnKey by Dov Moran and his team.

At that time, the storage capacity of the USB flash drive was only 5 MB. Even though this was very little compared to today's standards, the flash drive became available around the year 2000 - at a retail price of around 50 US dollars. What seems unbelievable today was very popular at the time. Despite the fact that the USB flash drive had the big size of a pocket knife. However, M-Systems was very eager to improve the innovation successively and to equip it with first-class software. Interestingly, the world's first USB flash drive was 1.6 mm x 54.1 mm x 85.4 mm in size. The demands of customers grew, and attempts were made to design USB flash drives in smaller dimensions. Modern USB flash drives today are about 20 mm x 3 mm x 15 mm small - with a total weight of just over 1.9 grams. In 2006, Dov Moran sold his company to the SanDisk Corporation for more than $1.6 billion.

Who is Dov Moran?
Dov Moran was born in 1956 in Israel and is a renowned businessman, inventor and engineer. Today he is the owner and chairman of modu. The company is known for working on the development and conception of the so-called modu. This is a modular smartphone that can be used with a number of additional devices, the "jackets". The aim is to use this technology (in combination with an app) to ensure social interaction during TV shows.

As indispensable as the USB flash drive is today in many areas, as moving is its history. As a storage medium, the USB flash drive has become an indispensable part of our professional and private lives. Almost everyone carries one or sometimes even several with them. This is amazing if one considers that this fulminant career only started with a small, inconspicuous punch card...

In 1890 and 1891 the time had come: The first punched card had been invented and was considered a real sensation in the industry at that time. Herman Hollerith, later founder of IBM, is regarded as the inventor of this innovation. At the time, he wanted to force the automatic processing of information and ensure the greatest possible transparency. This is exactly what he achieved with great success. This impressive invention was followed by the punched tape, which was developed by Konrad Zuse in 1937. However, the punched tapes were in use before the punched cards. At that time, however, they were only used to operate looms. Later, punched tapes played an important role in telegraphy. In the legendary "Zuse Z1", paper tape was used as a storage medium, and in the post-war period it was used to process small amounts of data electronically.

A little review into the beginnings of the USB flash drive:
The demands on the capacities and the performance portfolio of the punched tape grew. As of the 1950s, however, magnetic tapes outranked punched tapes and punched cards in their significance. This finally made it possible to store much larger amounts of data. The magnetic tapes were simple plastic foils, which were equipped with a magnetic material. What 10,000 punched cards stored at that time was now possible with just one magnetic tape. Their dominance lasted for about 20 years. Until the beginning of the 1970s, when the 8-inch floppy disk saw the light of day. It was IBM that succeeded in revolutionizing the computer market with this technology. While the floppy disk initially had a storage capacity of about 80 kilobytes, which was comparable to the capacity of about 1,000 punched cards, floppy disks with a capacity of 1 megabyte soon conquered the market. The Compact Disc was invented in 1982 and is still used to a large extent today. No matter whether for storing information or songs - the CD is characterized by a remarkable performance. The same is true for the ZIP drive, which caused a sensation in 1994. Then the DVD and Blu-Ray discs came onto the market. And only a short time later, the USB flash drive was born. In 2001 another highlight, the SD Memory Card, conquered the hearts of technology fans. In the end, one can certainly stay curious about what types of storage media are about to enter the market in the future.

If you need a little more storage space, you could use an external hard disk.
We have tested external hard drives with 1 TB storage capacity for you. You can find out which models are the best in our big Hard disk test. We also tested Hard disks with 4 TB storage capacity.

How do we test at askgeorge.com?

Live and authentic: We get the devices into our Hamburg test laboratory. Here we take a close look at everything.

Each test is preceded by an extensive search:

  • Which suppliers are on the market?
  • What current products are there?
  • What are the comparison criteria?
  • What tests are we going to run?
  • What is the test procedure?

When everything's settled, we'll bring the devices to us. For each product the test procedure, the measured values and product properties are documented in detail. We create photos and videos. We evaluate the results for you, summarize everything in a test report and calculate the test grade.

Have fun!

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