SanDisk Cruzer (8 GB) USB Flash Drive (SDCZ36-008G-A11)

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The SanDisk Cruzer 8GB Flash Drive is a Decent Cool Looking Flash Drive

Oct 7, 2010 (Updated Oct 7, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Retractable USB connector, nice design, U3 Smart technology might be useful.

Cons:Not key-chain compatible, slow write speed, slow to launch, requires two drive letters.

The Bottom Line:

The SanDisk 8GB Drive have a number of advantages but also some disadvantages. U3 Smart technology may offer you something or it could just be a nuisance.

Early this September I bought this SanDisk Cruzer 8GB flash drive for my son for school. It is slick looking, not expensive, and it features a retractable USB connector, which in my opinion is a quite nice type of cap-less design and a definite advantage. With a retractable USB connector I mean that there is a white plastic button on the Flash Drive that you can easily push and pull back and forth using your thumb, and this is how you hide and expose the USB connector. There is no cap to lose. It is plastic but solid, plug and play, PC and Mac compatible, and it features U3 Smart technology, which might be useful but most likely not.

It has a large orange LED which is shining bright when connected and flashing when the flash drive is used for read or write. This makes it easy to see in the dark. It has a Lanyard hole but it embedded in flash drive and a little bit difficult to get to, and it is definitely not key-ring compatible, which makes it slightly less useful for school. The dimensions of the SanDisk Cruzer are 2.3 inch long, 0.8 inch wide and 0.4 inch thick, and it weighs 0.35 ounces. This is slightly larger than many of the thinner and slicker flash drives, which is a disadvantage in cramped spaces or where the USB ports are stacked next to each other.

SanDisk Cruzer 8GB Flash Drive Features and U3 Smart Software

The U3 Smart Technology makes it possible to install applications to your flash drive so that you can carry the applications with you in your pocket and use them on any computer. The problem is that you can't use this technology to install applications like Adobe Photoshop, Visual Studio, or Microsoft Office. You can only install a limited amount of useful applications including Open Office, Skype, McAffe AntiVirus, the FireFox Browser, Putty (Telnet SSH), Migo-Registry Repair, EditPad, Atlantis Word Processor, RoboForm. The preinstalled U3 Launchpad is similar to the Windows OS start menu and controls program installation. The U3 works by mounting a virtual CD-ROM drive, which is used for automatic launch. One problem with that is that it takes up an extra drive letter. Another is that it takes longer for the flash drive to be recognized, if recognized at all. Luckily this software takes up very little space until you start downloading applications. Overall U3 may or may not be worth it depending on your needs. I listed it as positive but it may not be.

Write Speed for the SanDisk Cruzer 8GB Flash Drive, SDCZ36-008G-A11

Different kinds of USB 2.0 Flash drives exhibit different read and write speeds. The typical write speed is in the range between 3.0MB/s to 28MB/s (read speed a little bit more). In reality you may get a little bit less than the official rating, even if you are not using any other USB ports, the USB controller is sufficient, nothing else is going on, and you are only copying a few large files (multiple small files lowers the write speed). In addition many USB 2.0 Flash drives do not have a published rating. Therefore I have made it habit to measure the write speed of my USB 2.0 Flash drives using a set of standard files.

I found that that this SanDisk Cruzer 8GB Flash Drive was slower than many other 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB flash drives that I own, and surprisingly significantly slower than the SanDisk Cruzer 16GB Flash Drive of almost the same model. I should add that my Windows XP Professional computer does not recognize the SanDisk Cruzer 16GB Flash Drive but it recognizes the SanDisk Cruzer 8GB Flash Drive.

SanDisk Cruzer Write Speed Appendix

In this Appendix I will give the details of a set of home experiments that I did on a number of flash drives. I am calling this section an "Appendix" because it is not essential to the review. However, it might still be helpful to someone.

Below I have listed the results from an experiment in which I copied two files (320MB and 570MB) from two different computers to different flash drives. The first computer is a new and fairly powerful HP p6130y desktop with Windows 7 Home Premium on it, and the second computer is an older Dell Latitude D820 laptop with Windows XP Professional SP2. I have stated the total write times for both computers at the beginning of each result description. There is one result description for each flash drive. If available I am also stating the read and write speed rating.

The SanDisk Cruzer 8GB Flash Drive is shown 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

SanDisk Cruzer 8GB Flash Drive Summary

In summary, the SanDisk 8GB Flash Drive is a decent flash drive but it seems to have issues with write speed and it is somewhat impractical. The U3 Smart Software may offer something for you but it also comes with issues. Overall it is not a bad flash drive, but I can only recommend it reluctantly, which means three stars for me.

Flash Drives are practical for travel; you can transport data to a computer at your destination or deliver data to someone via flash drives. Therefore I am submitting this review to my "Save Travel or Rest-In-Peace Travel Write Off". Show the travel category sympathy.

Recommend this product? Yes

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