When it comes to USB drives I tend to be fairly utilitarian – I want something fast, portable, durable, and reliable. The top brand drives all offer that stuff, so what makes you choose one $20 8GB drive over another?
Kingston is hoping that their urDrive software embedded in the DataTraveler 109 will offer users a differentiating factor that will be a deciding factor for a purchase. Let’s take a quick look!
Kingston’s DataTraveler® 109 is a fashionable USB Flash drive available in seven colors that make it fun to connect and share photos, music, videos and more with friends and family. Its small, capless design easily attaches to a lanyard or keyring. It’s a great accessory for slim notebooks and tablets.
DataTraveler 109 comes preloaded with urDrive software that gives you a new and exciting way to look at your data. urDrive is preloaded software exclusively on select Kingston® DataTraveler® USB Flash drives. After you launch the software, the urDrive interface pops up like a desktop for your USB.
Most USB Flash drives offer passive storage, which simply allows users to store and retrieve their data. urDrive offers engaged, active storage that allows you to easily access and organize your files, photos, videos and music. Other features include a built-in Photo Viewer, Web browser, games and music player.
When I first got the DataTraveler 109 (DT109), I immediately popped it into my Macbook Pro to test transfer speeds. The urDrive software is Windows-only, so that test would have to wait.
I have another 8GB USB drive that I use daily to maintain my work files going back and forth and as a backup. It has been ultra-reliable over the last two years, so I wanted to test the DT109 against that drive. In terms of speed, I used my 1.5GB ‘current project’ folder that has files varying from a few kilobytes to over 150 megabytes.
The transfer rate was very quick – taking about 2.5 minutes with the DT109, which was more than 30 seconds quicker than the older drive. I don’t know if that is due to fragmentation, quicker memory, cleaner interface contacts, or some other factor – but what it assured me was that the low price of the DT109 wasn’t due to it being a cheaply made product.
As another test, I have been carrying the DT109 around on my keychain for the last couple of weeks. It features a loop at the end that practically begs to have you carry it around that way, and has proven durable in my standard usage. I plan to leave it on my keys from now on, as there seems to be no visible impact.
My experience with urDrive has been very positive after getting past one hurdle – the realization that most security software doesn’t like programs running off a memory stick. When I first inserted the drive into my Sony Vaio and tried to run the urDrive executable, this is the error I saw:
I got the exact same error from my current work laptop, which blocks USB devices from auto-mounting and launching their embedded apps, so it was not surprising.
After fully disabling my Norton 360 on the Vaio I was able to get things running properly and saw the screen as shown below.
I was able to repeat the successful launch of urDrive on multiple other computers running Windows XP or Windows 7 in 32 or 64-bit versions. But my Vaio experience is a reminder of the old adage “if at first you don’t succeed … disable your anti-virus and try again!”
The urDrive software has a load of functionality. You can scan your computer using Norton PC Checkup, browse the web using the integrated browser that stores your preferences, access a 6GB online storage locker, play games, and also has activities for the kids.
When you choose one of the main categories such as games, it opens up a folder containing the items selected. And as you can see, there are currently twenty-four games available, including things like Zuma and Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies.
I tried playing some Tiger Woods Golf, Battlefield Heroes, Lords of Ultima and Dragon Age Journey. I had played everything but Battlefield Heroes before either on Facebook or as a web game, and this experience was very similar but with a somewhat slower startup.
Does the urDrive alone merit the price of the drive? Probably not – you can easily get free backup space, every computer has a web browser, and most of the games and kid stuff included is available for free.
But that isn’t the point – urDrive is a differentiator, a ‘value add’. So that by opening a small file you have access to a bunch of things and STILL keep your full 8GB drive for your items. In THAT way it is a huge value.
The DT109 is a tiny drive that offers a great value: it is very portable, highly durable, fully elclosed (I hate the exposed contact drives), and offers a great value-add with urDrive. And for all of that, the list price is only $16 for the 8GB drive and $30 for the 16GB drive (with actual prices much lower). The DT109 is an easy recommendation and has quickly become my go-to USB drive – if you are looking for one, definitely check it out!
Review: Kingston’s DataTraveler 109 with urDrive
Where to Buy: Amazon.com
Price: $16.00 (currently on sale for $8.99!)
What I Like: Super solis design; fast transfer rate; very portable; enclosed contacts; loop for easy attachments; loads of functionality in urDrive
What Needs Improvement: Some issues with anti-virus software and corporate blockers; urDrive software runs slower than locally installed apps
Source: Kingston provided a drive for review