Solid, but not the fastest drive in my pocket
Sep 21, 2010
Review by Thomas Wikman
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Small, inexpensive, hard, and solid.
Cons:Lanyard hole not key chain compatible, medium write speed, not cap-less design.
The Bottom Line:
This small, cheap, robust, simple thumb drive has some advantages but write speed and key-ring compatibility is not among them. There are better thumb drives but it is decent enough.
I recently bought the Centon DataStick Pro 4GB model number DSP4GB-008 at a local store. It is hard, small, blue and solid, plug and play, PC and Mac compatible, and compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1.
Recommend this product?
I own dozens of various thumb drives of different capacity, write/read speed, and with or without software and special features. This is a bare bones thumb drive and with that I mean that it did not come with any software, no encryption, password protection, vault, it is not self defending (no on-board anti-malware software) and have no other special features. Therefore this thumb drive is for transporting non-confidential non-sensitive data and not much else. However, that is what most people need their thumb drives to do anyway.
The Centon DataStick Pro 4GB (shape)
The Centon DataStick Pro is smaller than what is typical of thumb drives. It is a little thinner, a little shorter, and a little less wide. Therefore you will not have a problem attaching several of them tightly next to each other or other devices using USB ports. The thumb drive is hard, solid, and metallic (Aluminum casing) and it feels sturdy. You cannot easily break it by stepping on it. It is somewhat heavy in comparison to other thumb drives.
It has a small black cap that easily comes off. In general I prefer cap-less designs especially in comparison to flash drives for which it is easy to lose the cap, like this one.
The Centon DataStick Pro 4GB (Lanyard hole and LED)
The Centon DataStick Pro 4GB has a tiny small green LED on it which flashes during connection and driver installation and then shines steady as long as it is connected. The fact that it shines steady while it is connected is convenient because then you know it works. Not all thumb drives have a steady LED light and sometimes you don't know if the thumb drive has been recognized or not. Since the LED is so tiny, it does not consume much power. However, the LED could be hard to see in cluttered environments in day light.
The Lanyard hole is located at the end of the drive and built into the stick. This makes it Lanyard compatible but unfortunately not key-ring compatible. Don't try to put this thumb drive on your key-ring.
The Centon DataStick Pro 4GB (features)
As mentioned the DataStick Pro is plug and play, PC and Mac compatible, and compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1, like most thumb drives. The 4GB capacity is enough for most home use (several minutes of HD video, or a thousand photographs). It was recognized by all of my computers (and all my operating systems) which is not the case for all my thumb drives. ReadyBoost (Vista and Windows 7 machines) works as advertised.
My special Centon DataStick write-speed measurement (view this section as appendix to the review)
I should say that the section below should be seen as an appendix, so if you are bored by reading it, please skip ahead.
Many people incorrectly assume that all 2.0 devices are equally fast. However, this is not true. First they are often rated according to write speed and read speed and even that number is often not accurate for the real world. I am aware of the fact that actual write/read speed depends on many other factors beside the thumb drive itself including hard disk access speed, computer, and what is happening on the computer during the test. I found that for the same device the write speed measurements were round about the same on different computers of vastly different speed and different operating systems. However, the different thumb drives performed very differently consistently across platforms.
Below I have summarized the results of a couple of write tests that I did. The experiment I did was that I copied two large files (320MB and 570MB) to various flash drives from two different computers and measured the time. The result for the Centon DataStick 4GB drive is indicated in bold.
This is the time it took to write from a HP p6130y desktop Windows 7 Home Premium computer. I should say that this is a fast and modern desktop.
Centon DataStick Pro 4GB -->173 seconds (this one)
Memorex 8GB Travel Drive -->90 seconds
SanDisk 16GB Cruzer --> 75 seconds
PNY Attache 2GB --> 154 seconds
Kingston 4G USB Data Traveler --> 96 seconds
Kingston 1GB USB Data Traveler --> 477 seconds
Memorex 1GB travel drive --> 256 seconds
PNY Attache 1GB --> 175 seconds
Altex 4GB --> 311 seconds
This is the time it took to write from a D820 laptop Windows XP Professional computer. I should say that this is a somewhat slow and older laptop which is several times slower than the HP p6130y desktop (with respect to CPU and overall benchmark).
Centon DataStick Pro 4GB --> 179 seconds (this one)
Memorex 8GB Travel Drive -->91 seconds
SanDisk 16GB Cruzer --> Not recognized by D820 / Windows XP
PNY Attache 2GB --> 167 seconds
Kingston 4G USB Data Traveler --> 103 seconds
Kingston 1GB USB Data Traveler --> 478 seconds
Memorex 1GB travel drive --> 253 seconds
PNY Attache 1GB --> 179 seconds
Altex 4GB --> 320 seconds
As you can see there are slower flash drives but considering but it is not impressive either. As expected the new "store brand" thumb drive, "Altex", performed badly.
Centon DataStick Summary
This is a decent bare bones flash drive. It is plug_and_play, small, hard, robust, and it is easily recognized by all my computers and OS'. However, considering that it is not very fast, the lanyard hole cannot be used with a key-ring, and the cap is easily lost, it is not a five star product. However, I give it three and a half stars rounding up to four.
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