Tips For Buying a Flash Drive

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Whether you want to purchase a new USB flash drive or just looking to upgrade, there are a few pointers that can make the buying process a little simpler. Remember that these guidelines are not hard-fast rules and should be tweaked to suit your needs.

Go Big

You'll never regret having too much space on your USB flash drive. While price obviously increases with capacity, you'll pay less to jump from 8GB to 16GB, for example, than you will should you have to buy a second 8GB drive later down the line.

Get Secure

Many drives come with some kind of data security, including password protection or even fingerprint scanning. The level of security you need will, of course, depend on what you're putting on the device, but you should look for a drive that has at least password protection. A flash drive's diminutive size may be convenient, but it also makes them notoriously easy to lose.

Another helpful safeguard is a manufacturer's warranty, commonly found on most USB flash drives. Manufacturers' warranties can range from one year to a lifetime and will protect against product manufacturing defects (all warranty terms vary, so check the fine print). However, warranties for flash drives are only worth it if they're already included with the device; don't bother purchasing an extended plan from the retailer -- it's not worth your money.

Stay Sturdy

No amount of password protection is going to help you if your flash drive falls apart after a little wear and tear. Look for drives made with anodized aluminum outer casings or some other kind of hardy material. If you do go with plastic, at least make sure that any caps feature some kind of tether. It also won't hurt to be waterproof, especially if you're going to attach it to your keychain.

Hold On

Normally, this site is typically a fan of all things USB 3.0, but when it comes to USB flash drives, it's usually not necessary. There's little point to paying a premium for speed when the drive is only transferring and carrying 32GB of data. The speed jump is negligible at that size unless you have a time-sensitive job that has you using the drive multiple times a day. In that case, make sure your computer is also USB 3.0-compatible before you buy a drive with the same technology.

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