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Fingernail-Sized USB Drive Packs Whopping 32 GB

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 24 comments

Lexar Media revealed two backup drives, one smaller than a fingernail.

Lexar Media today launched two "Echo" flashed-based backup drives that may be hard to grasp in a visual sense. The Echo ZE drive is slated to be one of the smallest USB drives in the world, measuring just 20.1 x 15.1 millimeters. It's also probably obvious that this model doesn't provide a massive load of storage space... that's coughed up by its larger cousin, the Echo SE series.

Outside the ZE's particular size, the biggest feature both drives offer is their ability to keep the PC backed up at all times thanks to software provided on the drives. The larger SE version isn't really suitable to stay plugged into a laptop (or a desktop for that matter), however the miniature Smurf-like ZE drive is designed to be "plug-and-stay," meaning it won't stick out like a mutated appendage.

Lexar Media claims that the larger SE drive offers read speeds up to 28 MB/s and write speeds up to 10 MB/s. The company didn't really provide read and write numbers in regards to the ZE drive, but did mention that both will securely encrypt user files. Both are also compatible with Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X operating systems.

Although no price points were offered, the SE comes in three capacities: 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. As for the tiny ZE drive, it comes in 8 GB, 16 GB, and 32 GB capacities. Lexar Media said that the drives will begin to hit the market next month.

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  • 6 Hide
    fatkid35 , January 5, 2010 9:16 PM
    didn't they do this with cell phones. smaller, smaller , smaller.... so what. just easier to loose.
  • 3 Hide
    webbwbb , January 5, 2010 9:34 PM
    Well if they can fit 32gb into that space then imagine how much storage a full sized drive could have in about a year. We could be hitting the 1TB mark with flash drives before we know it.
  • 2 Hide
    hakkafusion , January 5, 2010 9:41 PM
    plug and stay. ain't going no where =)
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , January 5, 2010 9:47 PM
    Want a 1TB drive with 28MB/s read and 10MB/s write? Try copying over a disk image on that thing.
  • 3 Hide
    curnel_D , January 5, 2010 10:25 PM
    The SE is a bore. Nothing makes it better over it's competitors that can be both faster and with larger capacities. Plus there's alot of avaliable software to do automatic encrypted backups.

    The only thing that makes the ZE special is it's size, which is increadible at 32GB. I'd love to see the technology under it's hood.
  • 0 Hide
    curnel_D , January 5, 2010 10:30 PM
    fatkid35didn't they do this with cell phones. smaller, smaller , smaller.... so what. just easier to loose.

    In this case, it's totally different. Sure it's easier to use, but I've lost dozens of standard sized flash drives as well. And I've broken dozens in my laptop too, because of their size. (Imagine a usb drive sticking out the side while you're facebooking from bed, and you suddenly get up to use the bathroom when you realize that the body portion of your 64GB usb drive just landed at your feet.)

    Drives like this prevent that problem completely, which is plenty welcome in my book. Specially since my BT connected phone does the same job wirelessly that thumb drives did for me 5 years ago.
  • -2 Hide
    Gandalf , January 5, 2010 10:53 PM
    This size will only be helpful when incorporated with something else. It's the technology that makes it smaller that's important.
  • 3 Hide
    christop , January 5, 2010 11:02 PM
    K see it now..
  • 3 Hide
    omnimodis78 , January 5, 2010 11:13 PM
    fatkid35didn't they do this with cell phones. smaller, smaller , smaller.... so what. just easier to loose.

    If you're the type who loses things, then the size isn't the problem, you are the problem! This is great especially for car stereos which are USB compatible! This is much nicer than having a 2" thing sticking out.
  • -1 Hide
    wildwell , January 5, 2010 11:24 PM
    At that size, it's not like you really have to take it out of your computer at all. I could leave it plugged into my laptop and it would fit into my computer's bag no problem. If you clip your finger nails too short, it might not even come out easily anyway.
  • -1 Hide
    Shadow703793 , January 5, 2010 11:31 PM
    Curnel_DThe SE is a bore. Nothing makes it better over it's competitors that can be both faster and with larger capacities. Plus there's alot of avaliable software to do automatic encrypted backups. The only thing that makes the ZE special is it's size, which is increadible at 32GB. I'd love to see the technology under it's hood.

    Aka, TrueCrypt.
  • -1 Hide
    Shadow703793 , January 5, 2010 11:32 PM
    This is not only easyer to loose, it's much easier to break. Hence, why I use a Corsair Voyagger.
  • -1 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , January 5, 2010 11:48 PM
    Yeah, plug and stay. You wont be able to get the damn thing out! Impressive non-the-less. Although, I wouldn't want to back up and serious data to it. One good static ZAP and that thing is history, never mind the slow ass transfer speeds. What is it even good for? Transferring files to and from your friends houses until it's a hunk of, I mean a piece of, I mean... a little... whatever it is.
  • -1 Hide
    yrmoma , January 6, 2010 12:31 AM
    ... so? They've had this high of capacity in a much smaller package. *cough*MicroSD cards*cough*
  • 0 Hide
    FSXFan , January 6, 2010 2:50 AM
    yrmoma... so? They've had this high of capacity in a much smaller package. *cough*MicroSD cards*cough*

    Not all PC's have MicroSD card readers (I have 3 in my house that don't, none that do). ALL PC's have USB ports and like someone mentioned earlier, many car stereos and other non-PC devices have USB these days.
  • -1 Hide
    seatrotter , January 6, 2010 3:00 AM
    Is it safe to assume that its controller is up to "speed", especially when handling vast amount of files? Basically, will its performance be nearly identical when, say doing a copy of 1GB X 1 vs 1MB X 1000?

    It has been a long time since I bought a flash drive so I don't know the performance of today's flash drives. One I bought before was a very fast Apacer (forgot the model, but it's their then top model), another is a cheap one. Regardless of the number of files, the Apacer showed little performance decline, while the cheap one's performance (though matched the Apacer when copying large single files) nose-dived.
  • 1 Hide
    lightsaber , January 6, 2010 11:45 AM
    nice...but something this small is bound to get lost really easy.
  • 1 Hide
    zelannii , January 6, 2010 12:05 PM
    This small is both too small to proporly keep safe, yet too big to be as convenient as an HDSD card.

    I like SD cards over USB sticks as they are usefor for more than just PCs (cameras and most camcorders too) so they're a bit more universal, and I have a tiny sleeve in my wallet that can hold 4 of them such that I can not easily loose them.

    I have 1 32GB SD cards already, and a few 16GB ones too. I can't imagine needing 64GB in any case where I would not want hundreds of GBs (I barely need the 16s more than half full ever, and a 32GB can hold a full resolution BlueRay movie rip and hours and hours of DVD quality video), so I really see no point to storage in a less ideal form factor.

    Also, what's the flash performance class of this? I really doubt its faster than a class 6 SD card... (class 4 can handle 1080p at guaranteed minimum write speed, class 6 can handle it in 60FPS, read is much faster).
  • 0 Hide
    zelannii , January 6, 2010 12:11 PM
    FSXFanNot all PC's have MicroSD card readers (I have 3 in my house that don't, none that do). ALL PC's have USB ports and like someone mentioned earlier, many car stereos and other non-PC devices have USB these days.


    And a tiny USB-SD reader can be had for about $10, and everyone I know who has a PC has one handy, but just in case I keep one in my car along with my space iPhone charger.

    Also, USB is nice and convenient, but if it's priced anywhere near SDHC, then having the ability to easily use it in not only most PCs and nearly all laptops (and all of them with a simple adapter), but also being able to stick in in any 3 of my cameras, my camcorder, or my wife's PDA is a huge plus for $5 more... (about $70 currently for 32GB SDHC, and i see USBs around $65 in the same capacity, I'd assume smaller means more expensive for this new one, so the price point shoudl in fact be a non-issue),
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