SanDisk Cruzer (4 GB) USB 2.0 Flash Drive (SDCZ36-004G-A11)

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SANDISK CRUZER 4GB USB 2.0 FLASH DRIVE

Jun 8, 2010 (Updated Jun 8, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:This is an easy way to back up your important files.

Cons:None.

The Bottom Line: This is an easy, safe, and economical way to back up your files, music, and pictures.


SANDISK CRUZER 4GB USB 2.0 FLASH DRIVE

          Today I shall be reviewing the SanDisk Cruzer 4GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive.  I am actually typing this review into my personal SanDisk Cruzer 4GB USB 2.0 Flask Drive, and I will be storing it there as a backup copy when I have finished writing the review.  Obviously, since you are now reading the review, that of course means that it has already been archived on my SanDisk Cruzer 4GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive for backup safekeeping.  As with any product there are good points and bad points, and I shall do my best to present both the things I like about the SanDisk Cruzer 4GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive and the things that I do not like.  But I would like to be up front about the fact that I am a layman when it comes to computers, and computer technology is not my profession or background.  My background is similar to most people out there who might be inclined to consider making a purchase of the SanDisk Cruzer or similar products, namely that I use computers everyday as part of my work and leisure activities, and I need to have a simple and efficient way to back up and store my data for safekeeping as well as for easy transportability.
            
          The SanDisk Corporation is the world's largest maker of flash memory devices.  SanDisk makes memory cards for digital cameras, mobile phones, digital camcorders, digital audio/video players, as well as the ever popular SanDisk Cruzer series of Flash Drives that I am reviewing here today.  Although a number of SanDisk products are manufactured outside of the country, such as the SanDisk Cruzer 4GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive I am reviewing today, which happens to be manufactured in China, the SanDisk Corporation is actually based in Silicon Valley in the good old United States of America.

           One of the obvious pros in favor of using a device like the SanDisk 4GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive is that it is so compact, and yet it has such a large data storage capacity.  As many of you who are reading this may already know, GB stands for Gigabytes, which means 1 billion bytes of information, and 4GB stands for 4 billions bytes of information.  With such a large storage capacity, one can easily store even large data files, video clips, music, pictures, and the like, and take them along anywhere. Of course even bigger files can be stored on some of the other models of the SanDisk Flash Drive family, and there is even a SanDisk Flash Drive that has an amazing capacity of 32 Gigabytes. 

            A very important point to clarify early on in this review has to do with how compatible is the SanDisk Cruzer with different computer operating systems.  Well I have personally used it with Windows XP and Vista, and I have had no problems.  One of my son's uses it on a Mac and he reports no complaints. The instructions and specifications that came with the SanDisk 4GB also indicate that it is compatible with the Linux System as well, but I have no personal experience with using Linux and I can not comment on it.  I have read that older versions of the SanDisk Cruzer 4GB Flash Drive and U3 software had some compatibility problems with certain operating systems, but I have several sizes of the newer version of the SanDisk Cruzer USB 2.0 Flash Drive, and they all work fine for me.  An important point to keep in mind if you happen to have an older computer, is that in order for the SanDish Cruzer 4GB 2.0 USB Flash Drive to operate at and perform high speed transfers of your data, your computer must have a compatible high speed USB 2.0 port.  The SanDisk Cruzer 4GB 2.0 USB Flash Drive will still operate on an older computer with slower USB ports, but it will of course perform data transfers at the slower speed that the older port can handle.

          The SanDisk Cruzer 4GB USB Flash Drive has a retractable USB connector, which both eliminates the need for a separate cap, as well as being able to protect the USB connector itself.  I think this is a very good thing, but there are other consumers who have expressed a different view.  I have experienced absolutely no problem with inserting the USB connector into any computer or related device on any of the several SanDisk Cruzer Flash Drives that I own, or the ones that my kids own.  However, I have read that there are other consumers are very dissatisfied with this design, and that when they attempt to push the USB connector into a computer port, that the connector retracts and it is a struggle to make the connection.  I have two 16GB SanDisk Cruzer's, as well as an 8GB model, two 4GB versions, and several older 2 GB models, and I have not encountered the slightest of problems with this feature on any of the models of the SanDisk products that I own.

            Although the storage capacity of the SanDisk Cruzer 4GB 2.0 USB Flash Drive is very impressive for such a remarkably small device, as least to my thinking, there are a few potential problems with the SanDisk 4GB USB Flash Drive here worth mentioning that might be annoying to some, and less so for others.  A complaint that I have heard a number of times from people who are into recording and storing video files is that the write and read speed is slow.  Well the write speed is listed in the specs as being 18MB/s and the read speed is listed as being 25MB/s when plugged into a high speed port.  Personally, the write speed I noted was between 6MB/s to about 12MB/s, depending on what I was copying.  To some that may seem slow, but actually I was not put off by it.  I primarily use the SanDisk Cruzer to back up and store things that I have typed, such as various reports and the like, as well as for backing up musical files from songs that I have written and recorded on my Digital Audio Workstation.  Personally I have found the read and write speeds to be completely acceptable for my purposes.  However, one of my sons, whom I bought a SanDisk Cruzer 16 GB 2.0 USSB Flash Drive as well as the 4GB version I am writing about here today, found that the SanDisk Cruzer was frustratingly slow in his opinion when it came to copying large files, especially video.  He did not have a complaint regarding playback speed for his music however.  I have no complaints, as it my opinion, the SanDisk Cruzer performed quite acceptably, and actually it was a bit better than I expected when it came to speed of performance.

           The dimensions of the SanDisk Cruzer 4GB USB Flash Drive are 0.8 inches wide, 2.3 inches long, and 0.4 inches deep, and the weight is just 0.35 ounces.  For the most part, these size dimensions are fine in most circumstances.  I found that on my laptop, the USB ports were close, and that the SanDisk Cruzer made it very hard to have two devices plugged in to adjacent ports that were stacked one on top of the other at the same time.  Well is this a problem with the design of the SanDisk or with the computer?  My answer is that it is a problem for both.  It would have been wiser in my opinion the make the SanDisk Cruzer 4GB Flash Drive just a bit thinner, and thus there would have been no issue.  Of course, I am left to wonder why the manufacturers of my computer did not realize this issue when they designed the location of the USB ports, as they obviously must have known that since SanDisk is the mot popular Flash Drive made, that many consumers would also be likely to experience the same problems that I did.

          The SanDisk Cruzer 4GB Flash Drive has many extra features, such as password protected control and U3 Smart Technology. Although some people may like these built-in features, I have found them to be more of a nuisance than a good thing.  SanDisk Developed the U3 technology to allow users to run their Flash Drive on another computer and be able to launch a variety of personal applications, including games such as Mahjong and Sudoku.  Personally, I don't like this feature.  For one thing, it takes up a lot of space, and I do not need all of these applications, especially the games, and more importantly, I don't want to have extra things on my Flash Drive that I did not put there.  Another problem, is that to remove the U3 Smart Technology and related materials from the SanDisk Cruzer is more difficult than the SanDisk web page makes it out to be.  Why couldn't SanDisk simply provide instructions on how to down load the U3 Smart Technology from their website for those who want to do so, instead of having it built into the SanDisk Cruzer?  I for one would have been happier if I had the option to download it, that is if I had actually wanted it, instead of having to erase it.  A word of caution.  If you plan to remove the U3 software, do it before you place any data on your SanDisk Cruzer.  You may lose data if you try to remove the U3 software.  If you already have put data on your SanDisk Cruzer, be sure to back it up in a secure spot, such as on your computer, before you try to remove the U3 software.  It is always better to be safe than sorry.

            An issue that I was worried about was whether the SanDisk Cruzer 4GB Flash Drive, which is made of plastic, would be a safe way to store or back up my valuable files.  I got my answer sooner than I expected.  One of my sons forgot to take his SanDisk Cruzer 16GB Flash Drive out of his pocket when he did the laundry, and he not only subjected it to going through the washer, he also dried his pants in the clothes drier with the SanDisk Cruzer in his pants pocket.  I discovered this fact, when I heard a loud exclamation (not a joyous one either) coming from the laundry room when my son discovered what he had done.  Shockingly, about 3 minutes later, I heard another loud exclamation coming from his room.  My son plugged in his SanDisk Cruzer and discovered that his precious data was still there.  I was more than surprised, I was shocked.  The plastic had not melted when it went through the clothes drier, and all of the data was intact.  Somehow, the data on the SanDisk Cruzer16GB Flash Drive survived the washer and drier. That put my mind at ease as regards whether the SanDisk Cruzer was a safe storage device for my own data and related materials.  Of course the SanDisk Cruzer that my son inadvertently ran through the gauntlet of the washer and drier was the 16GB version of the Cruzer, and not the 4GB version I am reviewing here, but the design of the two is essentially similar, and I have no doubt that if the 16GB version survived this water torture, that the 4GB SanDisk Cruzer would also have survived.  Of course this is only a supposition, and I am not about to run this experiment to test it out.  I have no doubt that my son will probably try it by accident again at some point in the future anyway.
                    
           The SanDisk Cruzer 4GB USB Flash Drive has a little light that is built in and this light gives off an orange glow when it is engaged.  This light blinks when the Flash Drive is being used, such as when you are saving a file to it.  However, I have been told by others, that the flashing light is highly annoying to them, and the fact that it is always on annoys them even more.  Personally, I am very pleased that the SanDisk Cruzer has this feature built in.  It lets me know that the Flash Drive has properly connected to the computer, as well as letting me know that it is recording the data from the source that I have it connected to when it starts flashing or blinking, and I am not turned off in the least by it. The SanDisk Cruzer 4GB USB Flash Drive is light, and is certainly small enough to carry around in your pocket.  It can also be conveniently attached to and carried about on a keychain, which is a good thing.  The bad thing is that the ring on the SanDisk is so flimsy that it can easily bend, and I can easily foresee that one can potentially lose it because of this.  My solution was to attach a more solid ring on it, which I ended up doing on my other SanDisk Cruzer USB Flash Drives as well.  However, why should I have had to do that?  Couldn't the engineers who designed this device have realized that we do not live in a perfect world, and that in the real world, things are a bit tougher.  This device should have a stronger and more solid ring on it, and of that I am certain.

            The bottom line for me is this, after using the SanDisk Cruzer 4GB USB Flash Drive, and having other family members using the same model without complaints for over a year, I must say that I am very pleased with it.  Every product has good and bad points, but in my opinion, the strengths of the SanDisk 4GB USB Flash Drive greatly outweigh any of the weakness, and of the several other brands of flash drive that I have used, the SanDisk product is my favorite.

            Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will excuse me, I must get back to practicing my guitar.


Recommend this product? Yes


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