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Lifewire / David Kukin
Tiny size for extreme portability
Sleek metallic casing
Very slow write speed
Lacks file encryption
Though it handily wins in the size category for portable USB drives, the Kingston DataTraveler SE9 G2 Flash Drive has some seriously slow write speeds. This makes it better suited to business professionals passing on digital files rather than regular data transfer usage.
Some USB storage drives feature fancy cases, private data encryption, and support for multiple ports and connections, and some are just little metal sticks that store files. The Kingston DataTraveler is firmly in the latter category.
While its tiny size is a big plus, it comes up shockingly short on transfer speeds. Even when connected to USB 3.0, write speeds are super slow and make this device feel older than it is.
The Kingston DataTraveler is almost impossibly small and light, measuring 1.77 x 0.48 x 0.18 inches and weighing close to nothing. But, surprisingly, its silver metallic casing feels durable and sturdy.
The only prominent physical feature is a key ring. Normally we balk at flash drives’ insistence that we add them to our keys, but the DataTraveler’s size makes it an easy addition.
The DataTraveler beats all of its major competitors when it comes to price.
Kingston includes its logo on one side and the storage space on the other. They also offer a co-logo program that allows you to add your company logo and digital files when ordering in bulk.
The Kingston DataTraveler supports USB 3.1 Gen 1 (also known as USB 3.0) and 2.0. As a USB device, the DataTraveler works with Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, as well as Mac and Linux.
Kingston lists the read speed at 100 MB/s and the write speed at 15 MB/s for the 16Gb, 32GB, and 128GB models. Those speeds assume the device is plugged into at least a USB 3.0 port.
Most of the time we want a USB storage device to just do its job and nothing more, and that’s exactly what the Kingston DataTraveler offers. Plug it into a USB slot, and the PC instantly recognizes an empty storage drive. There’s no software to install or any setup required.
We did reformat it from the default FAT32 to NTFS in order to test larger file size transfers. This took all of a few seconds and was done directly through Windows.
The 16GB DataTraveler has pretty slow transfer speeds compared to other USB 3.0 devices. Kingston lists them at 100 MB/s read and around 15 MB/s write. Using the free program Crystal Disk Mark (version 6.0) and USB 3.0 with Windows 10, we tested transfer speeds with 500 MB, 1GB, and 5GB files.
We were never able to reach 15 MB/s when writing to the USB device, Instead, it averaged closer to 10 or 11 MB/s. Read speeds were better and peaked at around 130 MB/s for sequential files, which is more in line with other USB 3.0 storage drives.
While its tiny size is a big plus, it comes up shockingly short on transfer speeds.
The read speeds came back down to normal when we manually transferred large video files and media folders. A 1.1GB, 32-minute HD video took about two minutes to write, averaging 11 MB/s transfer speed. The speeds were similar with a 1GB media folder of pics and video clips.
Downloading these files and folders back to our PC took about 10 seconds each, at 105 MB/s. Transferring an HD feature film larger than 5GB onto the USB took eight and a half minutes. Downloading the same file back to our PC took about 50 seconds at 109 MB/s.
Devoid of any extra features, the Kingston DataTraveler is very inexpensive. The 16GB retails for $6.99 and increases up to 128GB for $27.99. The DataTraveler sports some of the lowest prices among USB storage drives, making it an effective budget purchase that doesn’t sacrifice too much power or storage.
Even if you don’t need much space, we recommend shelling out the extra dollar or two for twice the storage of the 32 GB model.
No matter what your storage needs, the DataTraveler beats all of its major competitors when it comes to price — but you get what you pay for in the form of terrible transfer speed. It’s not much cheaper than the Samsung BAR Plus, which also features a tiny metallic frame, and that device also has better transfer speeds and more durability.
Ultra-portable and fine for business, but frustratingly slow for most users.
The Kingston DataTraveler won’t win any awards for speed, but with Kingston’s custom logo program and bulk ordering, this flash drive is a solid choice for business professionals who want to distribute their content to clients and patrons. Those who need to consistently transfer files back and forth, however, should look for a faster alternative.