USB Flash Drives, also known as USB Sticks are small USB devices containing flash memory chips which many operating systems such as Windows recognised as an external drive once plugged into a USB port.
Flash memory is a type of memory which retains its contents when the power is cut.
They can be incorrectly referred to as Memory Sticks, but a Memory Stick is Sony’s own proprietary flash memory product for use in Sony’s devices like digital cameras.
Many systems now use the USB 2.0 standard which replaced the original USB and USB 1.1. The latest USB 3.0 provides much faster transfer speeds, but USB 3.0 sticks are more expensive, and the extra performance in speed cannot be made use of without a computer which has the newer USB 3.0 ports.
Things to consider when choosing a USB Stick:
- Decide whether you require speed, memory capacity or both. Higher speed versions will be more expensive, as will those offering a larger memory capacity.
- Will you use it for private data? Security features such as a password, encryption or finger print access may be reassuring.
- Would you appreciate a capless design? Such sticks are good when constantly transferring data between computers.
- What are you going to use it for? If it is for car audio for example, then there are USB Flash Drives which are so small you can leave them plugged into your car audio or laptop and not notice them.
- Speed up your PC – Look for ReadyBoost sticks to speed up your Windows computer or laptop.
- Will you be carrying it about? If so perhaps consider a tough model with rubberised casing offering dirt, dust and water protection.
- Will it be a gift? There are gold plated, silver, metal cased drives which look expensive and feel good in the hand, some also have a decorative panel and crystal.