I've been a USB flash drive user for years. I'm finishing up college and I practically live on one of these between my laptop, desktop, labs and classes. I've been doing the 'ole file drag'n'drop for years. So reviewing a USB flash drive is about as entertaining as watching Snakes on a Plane—just kidding, Snakes on a Plane was freaking awesome.
Let's just say I was a little surprised by how much the SanDisk Cruzer Titanium stood out. It isn't your average USB flash drive, thanks to the form factor and amazing U3 Launchpad—I will get into later. Now, hit the jump for the full review.
First and foremost, this USB flash drive is built like a tank. I've handled a lot of crap flash drives that are cheap as hell. This is nothing like it. It is composed of hardcore titanium that is supposedly indestructible. The guys over at EverythingUSB even ran one over with a car and it was fine. Included is a metal belt clip and a lanyard.
Another feature that I shrugged off before, but now realize how the value of, is the retractable USB connector. The USB connector slides out and slides in, no need to worry about losing caps and damaging the connector from wear and tear.
Overall the construction of the USB drive is solid. It has some weight and consistency making it feel like an actual gadget, rather than a cheap toy.
The U3 Launchpad is where this USB flash drive really shines. To easily explain, think of U3 as an operating system for the flash drive. I have been a drag'n'drop flash drive user forever. And yes, I've seen the hacks and mods to make programs run off of your flash drive, but never really tried. After using this U3 suite for a few days back and forth from my desktop to laptop to campus, it has already revolutionized the way I mobile compute.
For Windows machines, a small U3 icon will appear in the system tray upon plug-in of the flash drive. A simple left click of the icon brings up your menu—a menu reminiscent of Windows XP.
This menu is where all of the magic happens. It allows you to launch programs, sync, browse your files, add programs, enable security options, eject the flash drive and more.
The U3 Launchpad comes preloaded with some software including Avast! Antivirius, Skype and CruzerSync. But you can also click on the Add Programs link and it pops up an integrated browser to allow you install a variety of different software, painlessly. Unfortunately, some of the software does cost money to download and install. Sudoku, Firefox, Thunderbird and Trillian were the software options I installed.
The CruzerSync software is probably the best feature on the U3 Launchpad. It allows you to setup a syncing configuration between your computer and the flash drive. It is completely customizable, allows you to choose folders, file types and size options. The CruzerSync abilities don't end there, either. It can synchronize favorites from Internet Explorer or Firefox and it can synchronize e-mail with Outlook Express or Outlook. You can select what part of the e-mail programs to sync—Emails, attachments, contacts, tasks, notes and calendar are all options. The big, giant, massive downside is the inability to sync with Thunderbird. I don't use either Outlook clients, so this very useful email syncing function is very useless for me.
This is just cracking into the indestructible shell of the SanDisk Cruzer Titanium with U3. The 2GB model I tested retails for $100 or so with lower capacity models being cheaper. This is easily the best flash drive I have ever used. Good solid build, and the software functionality from the U3 Launchpad is very cool and very smooth. If you have made it this far in my review, congrats. You get some super secret info. We're going to give away a couple of these bad boys, stayed tuned for details.
Product Page [SanDisk]