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Bonus Review: Verbatim Storage You Can Lose In a Flash

My mailbox -- not the electronic kind, but the cubbyhole reserved for me in our mailroom -- can attract some oddball gadgets. One of the weirder ones showed up on Friday: a Verbatim Store 'n' Go Micro USB Drive.


"Micro" is the operative word here: This flash-memory drive (or memory key, or USB key, or whatever you want to call it) only measures about an inch long, half an inch wide and a sixteenth of an inch thick. That's less than half the thickness of the USB ports it plugs into.

As such, the Store 'n' Go Micro -- available in 2, 4 and 8-gigabyte versions at around $12, $22 and $34 each -- represents an impressive feat of memory miniaturization. Unfortunately, it's less than practical.

Let's start with that tiny size, not much bigger than such microscopic memory-card formats as microSD. If one of these babies lands in the bottom of a cluttered desk drawer, purse or briefcase, you may not see it again for months.

(The packaging of the review model -- the usual annoying blister-pack plastic enclosure -- included a little lanyard, which Verbatim suggests you can use to attach the drive to a "cell phone or your key ring.")

These diminutive dimensions also create a usability problem. Unlike regular USB flash drives, this only occupies part of a USB port and therefore allows for no tactile feedback if you try to plug it in upside down. As a result, on three different USB ports I popped it into with the Verbatim label facing up, I had to flip it upside down to get the thing to work.

Store 'n' Go Micro drives also require more electricity than other USB flash drives, which prevents them from working in "low power" USB ports, such as those in many external hubs and most Apple keyboards.

So while I recognize the effort that went into this device, it's not something I'm tempted to put on my shopping list -- I just don't see a problem that this gizmo needed to solve. If, on the other hand, you would like to see something more compact than garden-variety USB flash drives, I'm sure you'll let me know in the comments.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  May 4, 2009; 12:28 PM ET
Categories:  Computers , Gadgets  
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I lose the regular-sizes flash drives that I have, so a micro one might as well be disposable, because that's what will happen to it. For the same reason, it had better have security software aboard.

Why does it require more power than a regular USB drive?

And where did you dig up a 3.5" disk for the picture? :-)

Posted by: pjgeraghty | May 4, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I'd call my friends to talk about this new gadget, but my cell phone is so tiny I can't see the numbers well enough to punch in a call... 8-}

Smaller is not always better.

Posted by: mjohnston1 | May 4, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"a usability problem."

Remember calculator watches?

Posted by: wiredog | May 4, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I can see myself now trying to find that thing in my purse........

Posted by: tbva | May 4, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I love flash drives and the insanely low prices have me buying them in droves... in large part because they seem to walk away ("... I KNOW I had a 4gb drive around here, somewhere..."), and those are the "full size" little guys.

Plus, I've washed drives on several occasions -- two even went through the drier TWICE -- so you know this little guy'd be easy to miss in a deep pants pocket.

Of course, with the exception of the Xubuntu-on-a-flashdrive install, no data was lost due to washing and drying. And although I had to wipe the xubu, the drive itself worked fine, subsequently.

Pretty hardy little technology we've developed here. But I'd rather see prices drop on 16-256gb than increasing miniturization of these smaller drives.

Posted by: Bush--notrelated | May 4, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

i have a flash memory card that is SD format and micro USB.

Kind of frightening that you can do that.

Posted by: patb | May 4, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I've lost a 4GB that cost me $14.

Posted by: edlharris | May 4, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

This will eventually be integrated into your credit card. People will carry their operating system, their programs, and their data on their credit card, and slide it into a slot in machines that will be everywhere.

Posted by: MagicDog1 | May 4, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Not me pal.

Even now I won't carry a credit card that has any RFID capability because it's a security violation, let alone a card with all that info available on it.

"pjgeraghty" - Rob probably found the 3.5" diskette at the bottom of a drawer with all those other diskettes none of us use anymore, but keep. With the price of flashsticks dropping, next year we'll have them at the bottom of the drawer with our old diskettes. At least we could write on the diskette what the heck was on it, while the flashsticks will be mysteries.

Posted by: lquarton | May 6, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Actually, this would be a good gift for someone to store medical information on a key chain. Or someone can keep backup information in tight places such as a safe deposit box. Current USB's, although small, are still too bulky. This would be perfect.

Posted by: scubatankman | May 10, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

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