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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [11.19.04]
Manufactured by: Seagate, Kingston, Vantec

Lowest Price Finder
Seagate Pocket Drive 5GB: $155 @ NewEgg
Kingston Data Traveler Elite 512MB: $60 @ mWave
Vantec NexStar 2 USB2: $36 @ NewEgg
2.5" HotDrive: $37 @

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Improving By The Day

I mentioned that Flash Drives were a popular product to give away during trade shows - this was especially the case at COMDEX in 2002, where I came away with 4 or 5 of these devices. At that time, they were pretty big (MP3 players are smaller now), slow (they ran on USB1.1), and small (the biggest that was reasonably priced at the time was 128MB; 256 was considered an exclusive luxury product).

My, how times have changed. Check out the one I picked up recently at Computex last June:

Gigabyte's aptly named "USB2.0 Flash Disk" is actually a retail product, although I haven't seen it listed at a single store. This is literally the smallest flash disk I had seen at the time - when the USB port is retracted, it measures in at 46x21x9.5 mm. Yes, millimeters.

It was also my first experience with a USB2.0 flash drive - its specs state a 6MB/s write speed and 7 MB/s read. That's a far cry from the USB1.1 drives I've used in the past.

Just when I thought I had seen the best, Kingston sent in a press release on their new "Data Traveler Elite" series flash drives, boasting transfer rates of 24MB/s write and 14MB/s read! That's approaching the maximum transfer rates we've been seeing when we do our USB2.0 tests on motherboard reviews!

It is quite a bit larger than the Gigabyte, of course, measuring in at 77.4 x 22.1 x 10.1 mm. But if it can perform at anywhere near its full potential, it could easily be the best flash drive around. The Data Traveler Elite is available up to 2GB as well (we have the 512MB version).

Price-wise, the DT Elite goes for about $100 per GB. That seems like a lot, but if you're only looking to transfer smaller files around, the 512MB unit should serve you just fine. The lowest price we've located for that model is $60 at The 1GB version can also be found at mWave, for $106. They also have the 2GB model, for $209. I guess they have a sale going on or something! ;)

Although we couldn't find any prices on this particular model from Gigabyte, Kingston has a device with similar specs - the regular "Data Traveler". NewEgg sells a 512MB model for $47.85.

So the Data Traveler Elite isn't THAT much more than a standard flash drive, which makes it even more appealing. We'll be using Gigabyte's sample as a way to show how 'standard' USB2.0 Flash Drives perform.

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