Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Lifewire / David Kukin
Integrated key ring
The Samsung BAR provides a decent amount of power in a tiny package, but it has since been eclipsed by Samsung’s newer (and cheaper) BAR Plus
The Samsung BAR has been an extremely popular flash drive, offering 32, 64, and 128 GB options. It lacks any advanced features like data encryption, but its simple metal casing is highly durable, boasting protection against water, magnets, and extreme temperatures.
We tested this best-selling device to see how it holds up. The 20-30 MB/s USB 3.0 transfer speeds probably won’t blow you away, but they’re acceptable for light to moderate usage. The BAR’s main weakness is that it’s been replaced by a newer, cheaper model: the BAR Plus.
Even among small USB sticks, the Samsung BAR is teeny tiny. It measures about an inch and a half long and has an awkwardly bulky key ring at one end. The shiny metal case looks nice and feels durable, though it’s prone to lots of fingerprint smudges. The key ring easily attaches to keys, backpack zippers, and lanyards, or simply slips into a pocket. The Samsung logo is clearly imprinted on the front with the storage space listed on the back.
The simple metal casing is highly durable, boasting protection against water, magnets, and extreme temperatures.
The Samsung Bar supports USB 3.0 as well as older USB 2.0 ports. It’s rated for up to 150 MB/s read speed for sequential files with USB 3.0.
For a USB drive that’s little more than a tiny metal stick, it’s no surprise that the Samsung BAR doesn’t require any software or installation. Just pop it into a USB slot and start loading files.
The BAR defaults to the older FAT32 file system, which means if you want to transfer files larger than 4GB, such as full-length HD movies, you’ll need to format it to exFAT or NTFS.
Using the data transfer benchmark program Crystal Disk Mark and a USB 3.0 port, we saw read speeds averaging 135 MB/s and write speeds ranging from 30 MB/s to nearly 50 MB/s depending on the size of the test folder.
Our more hands-on testing generated considerably slower write speeds, however. It took a solid minute to transfer a 1.1GB, 32-minute HD video to the Samsung BAR, with an average write speed of around 22 MB/s. Transferring that video back to our PC resulted in the expected 130 MB/s transfer speed (about eight seconds). A digital copy of Avengers: Infinity War took a little over four minutes to write and about 40 seconds to copy back to the PC.
The Samsung BAR also runs quite hot while transferring, and without a plastic cover the heat is far more noticeable.
We also tested dome large folders full of MP3 music and JPG pictures and video clips. Both times it took one minute to transfer 1GB media folders to the USB, with average write speeds fluctuating between 16 and 25 MB/s, including some odd hiccups when it dropped to under 5 MB/s.
The Samsung BAR also runs quite hot while transferring, and without a plastic cover the heat is far more noticeable than with most other USB storage devices.
With an MSRP of $24.99 for the 32GB model, the Samsung BAR is grossly overpriced compared to the competition. The BAR lacks any extra features or visual flair to account for the price hike, and while it’s generally offered for less now that a newer model has been released, it’s still too expensive for technology that is only going to get more outdated.
Samsung’s newer BAR Plus flash drive promises faster speeds and a more sensible price tag. This model ranges from $13.99 up to $74.99 for storage capacities from 32GB to 256GB.
Another tiny metal stick, the Kingston DataTraveler could be the BAR’s long-lost twin. The DataTraveler is definitely way cheaper than the over-priced BAR, though it also lacks the BAR’s more durable features like water and shock resistance.
When compared to Samsung’s newer and cheaper BAR Plus, however, the DataTraveler can’t compete, and neither can the older version of the BAR. There’s really no reason to get this older iteration when the BAR Plus is available for less.
Pass on this and buy a newer model.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with the Samsung BAR. In fact, there’s a lot we like about the design and durability. But it’s been eclipsed by Samsung’s newer model, the BAR Plus, which features a similar physical metal design and higher-rated transfer speeds at a lower price.