Kingmax, better known for the production of SD and Micro-SD memory cards, has decided to expand its flash memory range with the release of the U-Drive; a USB thumb drive for desktops and notebook computers. Compatible with Windows Vista and ReadyBoost capable, the device has been tailor-made with the latest technology in mind. While it lacks certain fancy features found in other flash drive offerings, it should nevertheless make a reliable storage device, as well as a performance booster for proponents of Vista.
- Affordable price, 8GB storage, ReadyBoost capable
- Light on inbuilt features
The Kingmax U-Drive is a fairly basic device that performs its chief purpose well. While it's not the fastest performer on the market, its 8GB of storage space should serve you well.
Price$ 90.00 (AUD)
With dimensions of just 62x8x16mm, the U-Drive (8GB) is noticeably small, even by flash drive standards. If you're the type of person who easily mislays your gadgets; beware. Otherwise, this is an elegantly crafted device that remains sleek and functional, with an unusual turquoise finish and silver underside. A hole has been fashioned into the end, presumably for keychain use, though none is included in the sales package. All up, we rather like the overall look of the unit, which manages to stand out from the crowd despite its relative plainness.
In terms of speed, the U-Drive reads and writes at an adequate pace. We transferred 679MB of assorted Word documents and JPEG files in one hit, which took three minutes and 14 seconds to write to the device. We then reversed the procedure by dragging the 679MB folder onto the desktop, which took 58 seconds to complete. This works out at 3.5MBps and 11.7MBps respectively; a fair but unremarkable result. (By contrast, the Corsair Flash Voyager (CMFUSB2.0-32GB) clocked in at a blistering 5.05MBps write speed and 24MBps read speed, though to be fair, it is also more expensive.)
As mentioned above, the U-Drive is ReadyBoost-capable, which means you can use its memory to speed up the Windows Vista operating system. Admittedly, the difference barely registers on a high-end machine, but if your computer is strapped for memory and under-performing, you should definitely notice an improvement. As an added bonus, this also reduces hard drive access; thus extending your notebook's battery life in-between charges. Otherwise, additional functionality and capabilities are a little low on the ground (there are no encryption options for added security, for example).
In addition to Vista, the U-Drive is compatible with Windows XP/2000/ME, Linux with Kernel 2.4 and Mac OS 9.0. If you're still running the old Windows 98 or SE operating system, Kingmax offers a free driver download from its Web site (www.kingmaxdigi.com/support/download). The U-Drive also comes in 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB iterations, along with a range of different colours.
In conclusion, the Kingmax U-Drive is a fairly basic device that performs its chief purpose to decent effect. While it's not the fastest or most feature-packed model available, its 8GB of storage space should satisfy nonetheless.
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