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On Our Desk - 11

USB Power!

USB memory drives are the bread and butter of articles like this because, while the little blighters never really warrant an article in themselves, they are always useful to have around and can be quite fun to test.

Plus, there’s always the sneaky suspicion that maybe the really expensive USB sticks out there – the blinged up and super-sized types especially – aren’t actually any better than the ones that always get given away for free at business meetings and schools.

In fact, that’s actually something we’ll be testing out in just a little bit – putting a few fancy little USB stick up against a generic pendrive that really did get photographed and tested completely by accident.

First though, we thought we’d offer a quick update on some of the last memory sticks featured in the On Our Desk round up – the Corsair Voyager and Voyager GT. Last time we looked at this line of Corsair USB drives we gave out a recommended award to the Voyager GT.

On Our Desk - 11 On Our Desk - Corsair Flash Voyager

That though was only the 2GB version of the GT at the time, which impressed us because it proved to be just as rugged and speedy as the much pricier Flash Survivor GT. Now though Corsair has doubled the capacity of both the Voyager and Voyager GT lines – bulking the former up to 32GB whilst the GT has been upgraded to 16GB.

Performance-wise, the figures are pretty much the same and we still think the Voyager and Voyager GTs are impressive little beasties if you want a compromise between read/write speeds and general toughness – though it’s important to note that both brands are water resistant, not waterproof. A spray in the rain is one thing – but no guarantees can be made if you want to take it on a kayaking holiday.

That said, if you’re looking for specifics then allow us to indulge you – we transferred a single 105MB HD video clip to the USB stick and then back with both drives. For the GT 32GB writing to the drive took nine seconds and writing from took one second. For the Voyager 32GB it took ten seconds and one second respectively.

Those results are impressive then, but do raise questions about what extra value the GT line offers. A difference of one second is negligible in any situation really.

On Our Desk - 11 On Our Desk - Corsair Flash Voyager

Both the Voyager models have the same rubber coating as previous models and so both were able to survive being dropped from the top floor of our new offices, bounding wildly on landing. Both USB sticks also withstood a spin in the washing machine too – though, as we mentioned with earlier models, the weakspot is still the keychain loop which could be easily broken.

Both versions come with some basic encryption services in the form of TrueCrypt too, which is handy if you’re thinking of carrying sensitive information or pictures on them. We found both came formatted in FAT32 - this is good for cross compatibility, but bad if you want to copy a file across that's larger than 4GB.

In other words then, the new and enlarged Voyager and Voyager GT models are pretty much exactly the same as the old ones, but a bit bigger and more expensive. We still like them, they are still good, but they still have the same flaws.

Product Name: Flash Voyager 32GB
Manufacturer: Corsair
UK Price (as reviewed): £70.99 (inc. Delivery)
US Price (as reviewed): $141 (inc. Delivery)
Verdict: A solid flash drive with more space than some even Blu ray disks, although you'll certainly pay for the privilege.

Product Name: Flash Voyager GT 16GB
Manufacturer: Corsair
UK Price (as reviewed): TBA
US Price (as reviewed): $131 (inc. Delivery)
Verdict: Pretty much the same as the standard model, but sacrificing space for speed - again not a bad choice nonetheless.