Pros:My personal, highly positive SanDisk experience. My expectations it will continue. Excellent website support.
Cons:Seems a bit less mechanically 'robust' than older models, But probably not.
The Bottom Line: SanDisk makes high-quality storage devices. The Cruzer brand has served me well; my first weeks with this product leaves me confident I will remain a loyal SanDisk customer.
Recommend this product?
For years I have carried a SanDisk Cruzer 2GB USB 2.0 flash drive on my keychain. It has been the perfect computer accessory. I easily can grab files on my PC at work and bring them home for reading, revising, or reviewing. Heck, I can remember hauling 3.5 floppy disks back and forth from work, each one holding 1.44 MB of information.
Today any computer user with access to a USB port can easily carry around not MBs but GBs of data on a USB flash drive.
The SanDisk Cruzer 16GB USB 2.0 flash drive is the near top-line product in the Cruzer lineup. There is a 32GB size available also ...but I think 16GB will serve my purposes, and needs, for some time.
Perhaps the hardest part of using the product is getting it out of the dang hard plastic bubble packaging. Once pried from its plastic tomb the 16GB Cruzer disk is very similar to my older 2GB device. The shape of the stick itself is ...well lets let the SanDisk.com website describe it:
" Signature design elements include juxtaposed L shapes that create a dynamic, yet balanced, composition, a bright red USB connector and a simple cap-less design, which exposes the USB connector for use via a dynamic sliding mechanism. "
Uhmm ...yeah. The business end of the USB stick retracts into the hard plastic case as you move the " dynamic sliding mechanism " in and out by applying slight thumb pressure and gently pushing it. When the device is loaded onto a PC an orange light pulsates under the opaque cover to let you know it is active. When it is 'working', reading or writing data, the light pulses/flashes rapidly.
My older Cruzer stick seems to be a bit sturdier, the sliding mechanism a bit 'firmer' and locking 'tighter'. But I think they are simply a bit ...'different'.
When the flash drive was first inserted into my PC a 'Welcome to U3' screen popped up. SanDisk U3 Smart technology "allows applications to run from a SanDisk USB flash drive without having to be installed on a computer." The first-time user can select to immediately activate the U3 technology, use the device for storage only, or be reminded later about U3. This first insertion also drew a request for a restart due to a 'new device' being found. Subsequent insertions did not require this restart.
I initially chose to use it for "storage only". This opened a My Computer page displaying a Documents folder and a LaunchU3 button. The document folder opens to reveal four more folders: Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos. All empty, all ready to be used. I wanted a new folder so I right-clicked, created it, named it, and drug some files from my 2GB drive to my new folder. Done..!!
I wanted to see how the U3 system and programs available might differ from my older drive so I went back to the main drive window and clicked the LaunchU3 button.
The heart of the U3 system is the loading and running of U3 programs directly on the disk. There were five categories of programs to choose from on the disk itself: Games, Internet, Multimedia, Utilities, and Security. Choices among these included Sudoku, a mahjong game, a Mozilla Firefox program, a video player, OpenOffice, virus scanners, etc. You can also find links to SanDisk's website offering many more U3 programs to download.
One advantage of using the U3 program is the ability to password protect the device. Of course, this carries the possibility of munging your password and being forced to delete all the content to make the device usable again. Something to weigh carefully. Though I have never had a problem with mine.
From past experience I suspected I would probably not find many U3 programs I would want or need. SanDisk has also taken some heat over the years for the paucity of programs available and even popular programs (Mozilla Firefox for example) being less robust and more 'out of date' than a regular downloaded program might be. There are other 'stand alone' program utilities out on the Intertubes also and one of those might be the better of U3.
The Bottom Line
So what do I think about it..?? I like it. It is teeny in physical size yet huge in storage capacity. I have downloaded a bunch of stuff onto it ...big PDF files, family photos, and podcasts . . .the 'free space' is still 98 percent of the disk..!! How am I ever gonna fill it up..?!?
As I said at the top of this review, I have used a similar SanDisk product for years and have been very impressed with its performance and durability. I have no reason to think this SanDisk Cruzer 16GB USB 2.0 flash drive will perform less admirably. Despite it being made in China.