The best ultra-portable USB 3.0 storage products from 16 to 128 GB square off in a grand comparison. We found wildly disparate transfer rates ranging from 200 MB/s down to a snail’s pace. At the end, though, two products rose to the top of our list.
Wrapped in brushed aluminum and glossy white plastic, with a large loop to attach the thumb drive to almost any type of key ring or chain, the Ultimate Data Traveler 3.0 is at least attractive. This is but one of the products in Kingston’s comprehensive lineup of thumb drives. Like A-Data, Kingston offers this product in 16, 32, and 64 GB capacities. For our roundup, we received the flagship model that comes with an extension cord to connect the USB 3.0 drive to a USB 2.0 port.
Unlike A-Data, though, the DT Ultimate comes with a comforting five-year warranty. On the other hand, a mere 16 GB runs you at least $65, while our 64 GB model starts at an almost-breathtaking $200.
Kingston promises an 80 MB/s read rate and up to 60 MB/s writes, and the drive delivers. We measured read speeds of up to 93 MB/s and writes at up to 65.8 MB/s. With those numbers, Kingston exceeds its claims in these important categories, and the device even holds its own among more costly and more powerful drives like Super Talent's USB 3.0 RAID Drive, which employs RAID technology to reach higher performance (along with its higher price).
Nevertheless, this drive's read rate is clearly surpassed by both Super Talent and OCZ’s Enyo. Users who often transfer large amounts of data will certainly be more satisfied with those products due to their higher performance. However, in our real-world tests, where we transfer data using files of various sizes, the Data Traveler Ultimate 3.0 performs better than expected. Only in the category of combined reading/writing does this stick show a clear weakness.
- High-Performance Drives
- A-Data Nobility N005 Flash Drive (16 GB)
- Kingston Data Traveler Ultimate 3.0 (64 GB)
- Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 (128 GB)
- LaCie FastKey USB 3.0 (120 GB)
- OCZ Enyo (128 GB)
- Patriot Supersonic (64 GB)
- PQI Cool Drive U339V (64 GB)
- Super Talent ExpressDrive (32 GB)
- Super Talent SuperCrypt USB 3.0 (32 GB)
- Test Configuration
- Benchmark Results: Access Times
- Benchmark Results: I/O Performance
- Benchmark Results: Sequential Data Throughput
- Benchmark Results: Image File Reads/Writes
- Benchmark Results: MP3 File Reads/Writes
- Benchmark Results: Small File Reads/Writes
- Benchmark Results: Combined Streaming Reads And Writes
- Conclusion: Check Performance First, Then Buy