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

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Reliable and Convenient Portable Storage Drive

Sep 25, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Large storage capacity, easy to use, reputable brand

Cons:U3 features are not Macintosh compatible

The Bottom Line: The Sandisk Cruzer Micro 16GB USB drive is an affordable portable storage solution.


I purchased my Sandisk Cruzer Micro 16GB a few months ago so that I could bring files home from work. I had an 8GB Cruzer, but had misplaced it, and I thought I would replace it with the 16GB Cruzer in the event I would need more than 8GB of storage capacity. I found my 8GB Cruzer a week later, so now I use both of them. I use my 8GB drive to back up photos and other personal files, and I use my 16 GB drive for transporting files to and from work.

I’m a graphic designer and usually have fairly large Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop files to take home with me. I have stringent deadlines to meet at certain times of the year, so sometimes working at home on weekends is inevitable. In the past, I would burn my files to a CD or DVD, work on them at home, and then burn new a disc(s) and bring it back to work. This was time consuming and inconvenient (especially when a CD errors when it’s almost done burning). The Sandisk Cruzer was the perfect solution and I’ve been very happy with it.

Small portable storage drives, also known as jump drives, flash drives or sticks, are available from many different manufacturers at varying prices--getting cheaper everyday. I chose the Sandisk Cruzer Micro primarily because Sandisk is a well-known and reputable manufacturer that I had prior experience with, plus the price was relatively low for 16 GB. I believe I paid about $35, but I have seen them listed as high as $85.00, so shop around! I also had positive experiences with my 8 GB Cruzer, my Sansa Fuze and my kids’ Sansa Shakers which are all Sandisk products.

The only other brand of flash drive I have used was a Monster 4 GB drive that I used about 5 years ago. I had it for only 2 months before it stopped working altogether, so I definitely wanted to stay away from that brand, not that I've seen anything from Monster recently. Sandisk seemed like the logical choice for my needs.

About the Sandisk Cruzer
The Sandisk Cruzer 16GB is small (2-1/4" x 5/16" x 5/16"), yet large enough that isn’t easily lost (in the case of my 8 GB, I simply left it behind--didn’t actually lose it). Tiny, slot-based SD and micro SD cards are available with similar storage capacities, but not only are they easily lost because of their extremely small size, a card reader is required to access the files. Besides, memory cards are generally meant to be used with digital cameras, MP3 players, etc., not for general file storage. I have a small zippered wallet/purse that I use everyday where I keep mine. There is a small ring on the Cruzer so that it can be attached to a key ring or a lanyard. A two-year limited warranty also comes with the Sandisk Cruzer.

The Cruzer is made of black plastic and has a white switch that when moved, exposes the USB plug. It can then be pushed into the USB port on a computer. There is an orange light that blinks slowly when plugged in, and quickly when actively transferring data. The USB Plug stores in the device when not being used, but the end is always exposed.

It is U3 Smart ready, which means that U3 compatible programs can run from the Cruzer and do not have to be installed on a computer. It also comes preloaded with U3 compatible software. The Cruzer is PC and Mac compatible for storage (Windows 2000 or Mac OS 10.1.2 with USB support), and Windows XP and Vista compatible for U3™ and Storage. Since I use a Mac at both work and at home, I cannot use the U3 Smart features. This was somewhat disappointing, but since I wanted this for storage and don't really have time to be screwing around with software I really don't need, I can't be too upset.

My Experience
I am glad I purchased my Sandisk Cruzer 16GB drive. I needed a small drive and this works like a charm for bringing large files to and from work. It is nice to have much of my work in one place and not a bunch of CDs and DVDs. I simply insert the drive into the USB port on my computer and the Cruzer pops up on my screen. I then drag files to or from my computer. It may take a few minutes to copy if I am copying a large amount of data, but that's it. I then click eject, wait for it it stops blinking rapidly, and remove the drive. It couldn't be easier to use.

I find that transferring data from my home computer (Mac Mini G4 1.25 GHz) to my Cruzer is a little faster than burning a CD, and is considerable faster than burning a DVD because DVDs, at least on my computer, are burned at a much slower speed. I have found that it also makes a difference what USB port I use. Plugging the Cruzer into a port directly on the computer yields much faster transfer speeds because other USB ports may not be as high-powered. The USB ports on my hub and keyboard work, but are much slower.

The performance of my 16GB Cruzer is better when it is plugged into my computer at work (Mac G5 dual 2 GHz, but not Intel). For me, the speed of transfer seems to be more dependent on the computer I’m transferring to and from more than the Cruzer, but then again, I’m not working on the most current of computers. I realize it depends on how many files, the types files, etc., but here is an idea of how the Cruzer performs. I timed the transfer of some files (2 folders containing 24 Illustrator and PhotoShop files) that totaled 1.31 GB. It took 4 minutes, 50 seconds to transfer the files to the Cruzer, and 2 minutes, 33 seconds to transfer to the computer. I was also working while the files transfered, so this may affect the time. To me this isn't fast, but it is certainly acceptable.

I removed the U3 files from my Cruzer since they are useless to me. Removing them didn’t seem to have any effect on the performance of this drive. I just figured that I might as well get rid of them to allow for more storage space.

Quite frankly, capacity and reliability are much more important to me than speed. So far, I have not used more that 9 GB at any given time. I delete my files frequently since my computer at work is primarily where I keep my must current files.

My Cruzer is about 5 months old and I haven’t had any problems with it. If the reliability of my nearly 2 year old 8GB Cruzer is any indication, I expect my 16 GB drive to work flawlessly for some time to come.

Recommendation
Since I often have to bring large files to and from work, my portable storage choices are basically limited to DVDs or my Cruzer. Hands-down, I’ll take the Cruzer! I recommend the Sandisk Cruzer Micro 16 GB drive because it is easy to use, small, and convenient. For less than $35, this is a reliable 16 GB portable drive.


Recommend this product? Yes

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