Pros: Integrated cap, solid, fairly good write speed, key-ring compatible.
Cons: Too wide, too thick, no LED.
At the beginning of the school year I bought this generic 16GB flash drive at Staples for my son who is in eight grade. At school they sometimes need to take photos as well as movies and they may also need to store other large files, so the school recommended 8GB. I went with 16GB to have some margin. In fact I bought him three different flash drives because they get lost after a while.
What attracted me to this 16GB flash drive was the interesting "cap-less" design as well as the price. Well, it has a cap but it does not come off, so I am sure if it should be called a cap. Since my son does not need his flash drive to feature encryption, password protection, on-board anti-malware protection, or special software, a generic, pure storage, flash drive was sufficient.
General Design of the PNY 16GB Thumb Drive, PFD16GATT03EF
This flash drive is somewhat thick and wide but short. This is not a great thing if you need to insert several flash drives next to each other where USB ports are stacked next to each other. The flash drive is black and made out of hard plastic. This is not as solid as those that are encased by metal. However, it is better than the traditional and flimsy plastic PNY Attache flash drives.
As mentioned, I found the "cap-less" design of this flash drive interesting. Some cap-less flash drives have a retractable USB connector. This flash drive has a sliding connector cover instead, which is referred to as an "integrated cap". It does not look as cool. In fact, it is perhaps a little ugly. However, I think it is easier to insert and take out the flash drive from the USB port for this type of flash drive, in comparison to the flash drives with retractable USB connectors.
The lanyard hole is big and accessible enough, not only for the lanyard, but for a key-ring as well. My son put this flash drive on a key-ring which he in turn attached to a comfortable wrist band. This way the risk of losing the flash drive is smaller. One negative aspect of this flash drive is that it lacks an LED which makes it harder to know when it is connected and not. PNY claim this intentional to save energy.
Features of the PNY 16GB Flash Drive, PFD16GATT03EF
The PNY 16GB Flash Drive is plug-and-play, PC and Mac compatible, and compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1, like most thumb drives. ReadyBoost works, however, most modern flash drives are ReadyBoost compatible, which by the way is not a big advantage since adding RAM to a computer is cheaper and not that difficult, and provides much better performance. In addition to the 16GB capacity, which should be plenty for most home use, it does not come with any special features. It is a generic, pure data storage, flash drive.
Write Speed for the PNY 16GB Flash Drive, PFD16GATT03EF
Different USB 2.0 Flash drives are rated differently with respect to read and write speed and they perform quite differently. Typically the write speed for generic USB 2.0 flash drives is rated between 3.0MB/s to 28MB/s. There are also some flash drives that are rated to be super fast (expensive) and there are USB 3.0 flash drives.
The actual read and write speed of a flash drive depends on the USB flash drive, of course, but also on the USB controller on the mother board and how many USB flash drives you have connected and what else is going on your computer.
For fun, I did a number of different kinds of write speed tests on the various flash drives that I own. I did these write speed tests on different computers, with different motherboards, with different operating systems, using a few files as well as thousands of files. In general I found that for the same flash drive performed roughly the same on different computers and operating systems as long as copying files is all you did and the file set you used was identical.
I found that that this PNY 16GB Flash Drive was faster than older PNY models. However, it was not as fast as some other new flash drives.
Write Speed Appendix
This write speed appendix details the result of a specific not fully scientific experiment that I performed at home. It gives you some idea of how different flash drives perform in real life with respect to write speed. However, this is a good section to skip unless you are curious.
In this appendix I have listed the results from an experiment in which I copied two files of the size 320MB and 570MB from two different computers to different flash drives that I have at home. One of the computers is a new modern and fairly fast HP p6130y desktop with Windows 7 Home Premium, and the other computer is 4-5 years old Dell Latitude D820 laptop with Windows XP Professional SP2. I stated both write times at the beginning of line for each flash drive. The first number is the HP p6130y and the number after the slash is the Dell Latitude D820. Then follows the type of the flash drive, and the model number, and then the stated read and write speed, if available.
The second number is missing for the first SanDisk 16GB Cruzer because the flash drive could not be recognized by the Dell Latitude D820. The PNY 16GB flash drive is indicated in bold and italic below.
75 seconds/? - SanDisk 16GB Cruzer, SDCZ36-016G-A11 (read and write rating is 25MB/s and 18MB/s) - experiment corresponds to 12 MB/s write speed
85 seconds/94 seconds - HP V125w 16GB, NC814AA#ABA
90 seconds/91 seconds, Memorex 8GB Travel Drive, 32509097
93 seconds/99 seconds - PNY Attache 16GB, PFD16GATT03EF
96 seconds/103 seconds, Kingston 4G USB Data Traveler, DTI/4GBKR
154 seconds/167 seconds, PNY Attache 2GB, P-FD2GBATT2-FS, (read and write rating is 9MB/s and 7MB/s) - experiment corresponds to 5.8 MB/s write speed
173 seconds/179 seconds, Centon DataStick Pro 4GB, DSP4GB-008
175 seconds/179 seconds, PNY Attache 1GB, P-FD1GBH/AT-RF
202 seconds/192 seconds, SanDisk 8GB Cruzer, SDCZ36-008G-A11
256 seconds/253 seconds, Memorex 1GB travel drive, 331123
311 seconds/320 seconds, Altex 4GB (special store brand)
477 seconds/478 seconds, Kingston 1GB Data Traveler, DTI/1GB-2P, (read and write rating is 6MB/s and 3MB/s) - experiment corresponds to 1.87 MB/s write speed
PNY 16GB PFD16GATT03EF Conclusion
The PNY 16GB integrated cap flash drive is a large capacity, generic, pure file transport, flash drive which is good for students because of it is cheap, hard and robust, can be attached to a key-ring, and is not too slow. A couple of negatives are that it is a little too wide and thick and does not feature an LED. In my opinion this is a four star flash drive.