SanDisk Cruzer (16 GB) USB 2.0 Flash Drive (SDCZ36-016G-A11)

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U3 Smart Technology, the best thing since sliced bread, except you get only one slice

Sep 22, 2009 (Updated Sep 22, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:U3 Smart Technology, retractable USB connector, Pug Safe, relatively inexpensive.

Cons:There are faster flash drives.

The Bottom Line: This is a basic 16GB USB flash drive that is not expensive. It has a few nice features but it is not that fast. It is worth the money.


I own one SanDisk Cruzer with the capacity of 16GB (this one). The SanDisk Cruzer is a basic flash drive. With that I mean that it does not have any special features that you pay extra for like, for example, password protection, encryption, or an indestructible steel casing like the IronKey Flash drive. I bought mine for forty dollars on-line; however, at Office Max they sell both 16GB and 32GB SanDisk Cruzer's for about $70.00 at regular full price. This makes the SanDisk Cruzer among the cheaper ones. You can buy 64GB flash drives of other types at Office Max but they are almost $200. 16GB is sufficient for what I typically use my flash drives for, however, I am eagerly awaiting the day when affordable flash drives reaches capacities of 512GB and Terabytes. Then I am going to change the way I use them.

I use my 16GB SanDisk Cruzer with computers that have Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Media Edition, and Windows Vista Home Premium. I should say that one of my Windows XP Professional machines has a problem with recognizing flash drives and external hard drives. It often fails (even if the driver is installed). I have never had this problem with this SanDisk Cruzer flash drive.

When I use it with my Windows Vista Home Premium machine I can extend the Physical RAM from 8GB to 12GB which makes the computer faster in the event I am running applications that are memory hogs. This feature is optional (as you probably know) so most of the time I don't use it very much.


Physical Properties of the 16GB SanDisk Cruzer Flash Drive

The SanDisk Cruzer has a retractable connector. There is a white plastic button on the Flash Drive that you can easily push and pull back using your thumb. I like this feature for a number of reasons. The flash drives with caps are annoying because I loose the cap. The folding flash drives are better but still annoying because I forget to fold them and it is also more work then the retractable ones. When you pull out the SanDisk Cruzer you sort of automatically pull the button back so that the USB pulls back in. This is important to me because what happens is that our little Pug Daisy finds the Flash Drives and bites on the USB connector and then you can't use it anymore. Having the connector almost automatically protected when you pull it out is an advantage.

The SanDisk Cruzer has an orange LED light which indicates when it is connected to the computer. I think this is helpful, but it is a little too bright and big. I like the small blue LED on my PNY Attaché better. However, in any case it is better than no LED light. 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. A thickness of 0.4 inch is pretty typical but there are thinner Flash Drives. For example the old SanDisk Cruzer Flash Drives (that I've bought) used to be thinner and longer. It is only my PNY Attaché Flash drive which is as light as the SanDisk Cruzer. Like most Flash Drives you can attach it to a key ring or hang it on a string.


U3 Smart Technology

The U3 Smart Technology allows you to install applications to your flash drive so that you can carry the applications that you like with you in your pocket and use them on any computer. Wow! This is such a powerful concept. This is the best thing since sliced bread. I would love to install Adobe Photoshop, Visual Studio, DreamWeaver, AutoMod, Microsoft Office one time onto a flash drive, pay for the applications once, and use them everywhere with my preferred settings. If you install anti-virus software you can protect computers you stick your flash drive in even if they don't have anti-virus software. It is like having a tiny little laptop merge with every computer you encounter. My Golly!

Well so it seems until you discover reality. You can't install Adobe Photoshop, Visual Studio, DreamWeaver, AutoMod, or Microsoft Office onto your flash drive. You can only install U3 compatible software and now it gets a lot less interesting, because the list of U3 compatible software is less interesting. These are examples of what you can install:

Open Office, Skype, McAffe AntiVirus, the FireFox Browser, Foxit Reader, Putty (Telnet SSH), Migo-Registry Repair, Migo-Recover Lost Photos, EditPad, Atlantis Word Processor, RoboForm. There are a lot more applications then that but they are not extremely popular applications. Well I liked a few of these but it is not like carrying around your office.

The U3 smart drives, including the SanDisk Cruzer, come preinstalled with the U3 Launchpad. The U3 Launchpad is similar to the Windows OS start menu and controls program installation. Applications that are U3 compatible can write files and registry information to the computer you are attached to and then they remove this information and store it on the flash drive when you eject it (don't just pull it out though). Until you start downloading applications it does not take up any significant room. 3MB out of 16GB is virtually nothing.

I should add that there is another concept, MojoPac, which I have not used. With MojoPac, which you download, you get a virtual machine that handles everything. With MojoPac you can carry applications like Adobe Photoshop, Office, and Visual Studio on your flash drive and thus in your pocket. However, I think MojoPac is harder to use and might not work with Windows Vista (from what I've read), but I could be wrong.

In any case since the U3 launch Pad does not take up any space to worry about, and is somewhat useful it is still a positive feature in my opinion.


Read/Write measurements

The SanDisk Cruzer write speed is listed as18MB/s and the read speed as 25MB/s (high speed port). The actual write and read speed that you see depend on a lot of factors and not just the specified speeds (number of files, the computer, hard disk read/write speed, port, what else is going on, etc.). So I did four experiments. I copied one folder from the hard disk to the SanDisk Cruzer and an 8GB Memorex Travel Drive that I had lying around in front of me. Then I copied another smaller folder onto the SanDisk Cruzer and three other Flash Drives I had lying around in front of me. I did these two experiments using a Dell D820 with Windows XP Professional on it. Then I repeated the experiment but this time I copied both to and from the flash drives and I used an HP AMD Phenom 9750 with Quad Core processors (2.40GHz) and Windows Vista Home Premium (64-bit). I am not entirely sure what you really measure, the read/write performance of the flash drive, the hard disk, a combination of them, etc. However, the experiments provide a comparison. I can add that all flash drives I used are USB 2.0 compatible and purchased within the last two years.

These are the two folders in question.

The 4GB folder
This folder is 4,264,605,192 bytes/4,264,833,024 (on-disk) bytes (roughly 4GB), and it has 109 files, and 5 folders.

The 0.5GB folder
This folder is 555,896,362 bytes/557,019,136 bytes (on-disk) (roughly 0.5GB), and it has 553 files, and 0 folders.


Latitude D820 (Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2) & the 4GB folder
<a> 
SanCruz 16GB Drive:
Write to: 420 seconds (10MB/sec)
Delete: 4 seconds (1GB/sec)

Memorex Travel 8GB drive (005B):
Write to: 451 seconds
Delete: 24 seconds


Latitude D820 (Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2) & the 0.5GB folder

SanCruz 16GB Drive:
Write To: 117 seconds
Delete: 3 seconds

Memorex Travel 8GB drive (005B):
Write To: 105 seconds
Delete: 20 seconds

PNY Attache 2.0GB UDISK (FAT32)
Write To: 121 seconds
Delete: 12 seconds

PNY Attache 2.0FD 1GB
Write To: 140 secs
Delete: 10 secs


HP (Windows Vista Home Premium) & the 4GB folder


SanCruz 16GB Drive:
Write to: 486 seconds (8.6MB/sec)
Write from: 226 seconds (18MB/sec)
Delete: 6 seconds

Memorex Travel 8GB drive (005B):
Write to: 425 seconds
Write from: 206 seconds
Delete: 25 seconds


HP (Windows Vista Home Premium)  & the 0.5GB folder


SanCruz 16GB Drive:
Write to: 118 seconds
Write from: 35 seconds
Delete: 5 seconds

Memorex Travel 8GB drive (005B):
Write to: 120 seconds
Write from: 38 seconds
Delete: 25 seconds
 
PNY Attache 2.0GB UDISK (FAT32)
Write to: 119 seconds
Write from: 7 seconds
Delete: 14 seconds

PNY Attache 2.0FD 1GB
Write to: 145 seconds
Write from: 12 seconds
Delete: 9 seconds

I can add that the PNY Attache 2.0FD was the only USB Flash drive I could not use for system boost.

What conclusions can be derived from that data? I think the following.

1. Measuring write speed is not easy by copying and pasting data to and from flash drives is difficult.

2. SanDisk Cruzer was not the fastest among the flash drives but not particularly slow either (pretty typical).


Final recommendation

The SanDisk Cruzer 16GB is a basic flash drive that is inexpensive, and for those who might find it useful it has U3 installed on it. The speed seems to be pretty typical (for basic flash drives) and the retractable USB connector is a nice feature. I am happy enough with it and I recommend, but not with full enthusiasm.


Recommend this product? Yes

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