USB flash drives are a very popular USB peripheral with millions sold annually. Who can blame the masses who voted with their dollars for this as their floppy drive replacement? Their convenient size, ease of use, and ability to load and unload data, all without loading drivers make them extremely useful. Computer users can easily move their data from computer to computer in ways only dreamed about five years ago. There are an almost countless number of brands and models of USB flash drives on the market today. This makes these USB peripherals a favorite category of device to test here at LIVEdigitally. Today we have the opportunity to test the Ridata EZDrive USB 2.0 Flash Drive Pro. Ridata is a division of Ritek, best known for their optical media. We evaluated the 1 GB version of the drive, which is the largest available currently in Ridata’s product line.
The following are included in the retail package:
- EZDrive USB 2.0 Flash Drive Pro (1GB)
- USB extension cable
- Manual included on flash drive in Adobe Acrobat format
- Windows 98 driver included on flash drive
- DiskSafe software included on flash drive
The drive is constructed of a glossy black plastic with light silver metallic lettering. The stand out feature is that the cap is permanently attached to the body of the drive via a swivel mechanism. The top flips away and to the rear to expose the USB plug. This makes it impossible to lose the cap of the drive! (With other drives, I hold the cap in my palm when the drive is in use so I don’t lose the cap like an absent minded professor.) In addition, the EZDrive features a small green LED to indicate reading and writing activity. There is a small switch to lock the drive to prevent crucial data from being erased or written over.
The formatted capacity of the 1 GB drive is an expansive 984 MB. This much memory is more than enough for multiple Word files, pictures, MP3’s and even compressed videos. I used to carry around several USB keys to tote my data, now I can load it ALL on this one drive. This greatly streamlines the process of keeping files organized. For example, this article was written on four different computers: my notebook, my desktop, and two different desktops at different jobs. What did I use to keep the Word file and the pictures (in various phases of editing) grouped while I pieced this article together? You guessed it- Ridata’s EZDrive USB Flash Drive Pro! Without this device, it would be very difficult for a mobile author like myself to write this article across so many different computers. My notebook (like many others) doesn’t even have a floppy drive, and with the pictures the size would exceed a floppy disc’s puny 1.44 MB capacity anyway. The EZDrive holds the equivalent of 683 floppies, more than I’ve ever owned!
Ridata’s EZDrive is small at 61 mm x 21 mm x 12.3 mm, and weighs only 13.9 g. This is smaller than many of the other USB drives on the market today. The back of the EZDrive features a metallic pocket clip. Unfortunately, there is no loop to secure it to a keychain. The stored data can be preserved for up to 10 years.
The EZDrive includes DiskSafe software. This serves to keep the data secure on the drive if the drive falls into the wrong hands. The amount of the drive that is public and private is adjusted with a simple slider in the software. A password is chosen to keep the private partition nonpublic. If you forget the password, don’t do it for too long- after 6 incorrect guesses the whole drive is written over (this sounds like a plan straight out of a James Bond movie, but it should prevent any brute force attempts to break the password).
A critical aspect of any drive’s performance, is the speed at which it can read and write data at. As per the usual routine, we’ll be testing the EZDrive with SimpliSoftware’s HD Tach 126.96.36.199. This great program tests both read and write speeds of a drive in a standardized fashion.
The EZDrive fared quite well with HD Tach testing. The drive uses the very popular USB 2.0 interface, which allows for 48 MB/s speeds, which nothing ever achieves in real world testing. The EZDrive achieved a quick 11.9 MB/s read speed, and a slower 6.7 MB/s write speed. This read speed puts it ahead of Seagate’s Pocket Drive, but behind Lexar’s Lightning Drive. It is also considerably faster than the older USB 1.1 drives, and Verbatim’s USB 2.0 drive. The write performance was slightly slower than the Seagate’s, and considerably slower than the Lightning’s speeds.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- 2 year warranty
- cap is secured to drive
- small size
- fast speeds
- metal pocket clip
- included software
- included extension cable
- data can be locked with switch
- USB interface is covered when not in use
- Green LED
- 2 year warranty
- no key ring attachment
- lock switch is very small
Who should buy this drive?
Ridata’s EZDrive USB 2.0 Flash Drive Pro is useful to anyone who uses more than one computer with a USB drive, which is the majority of folks. Its simple software, and slick cap design make it well suited for a variety of users.
For the user with both a notebook, and a desktop, and who has projects that involve files to move between the computers, than this is a great drive. It’s small size, large capacity, pocket clip and security software comprise an attractive package to keep your data with you at all times.
A business professional that needs to give a PowerPoint presentation would also benefit from the drive. The presentations are often large involving pictures, sounds, animations and videos. With a 1 GB “digital palette” you can paint in broad strokes and not worry about not having enough room for your creation. Unlike a CDR, you can easily make changes up to the last minute on the fly. Or better yet, leave the notebook at home and travel unencumbered.
The digital gypsy is a prime candidate for this drive. Some folks use a USB flash drive to house their “virtual desktop.” By loading the FireFox browser on this drive, you can then have a browser with your preferences, bookmarks, security settings, passwords, and favorites that travels with you when using public access computers. A drive with a large capacity, and faster speed are the requirements to do this; the EZDrive has both areas covered. The security software will keep this information yours.
Ridata’s EZDrive is a sharp looking drive, and I especially liked the innovative swivel cap design. The read and write speeds were not the fastest we’ve ever tested, but were still acceptably fast. The included security software, while basic, was very easy to use, and quite secure. The Ridata EZDrive is an “LD Approved” product.