Tweakmonster USB Drive
Date Reviewed: August 09, 2002
Reviewed By: Jason Rabel
What Is It?:
Here's a new product from the Tweakmonster, soon to be out on
the market. This is a solid state USB Drive that is small enough to comfortably fit on your key chain.
The model I received was a 16MB version, however there are models that go all
the way up to 256MB! Also even though this product isn't available yet, this is
the actual final retail model that I will be reviewing.
Can serve as a key chain/pendant
Completely Plug and Play, except for Windows98SE for which driver is
Blue LED status indicator
Usable with desktops and notebooks
Great for personal and/or business use
Excellent for LAN parties, or anywhere larger file transfers need to be
||78mm (L) x 26mm (W) x 11mm
||Universal Serial Bus (USB) Interface
||Completely USB bus-powered. No other battery or power source
|Maximum data transfer rate (read/ write):
||1000KBytes/sec (Depending on PC system)
|Operating systems supported:
||Windows 98 (driver required), Windows 2000, Windows ME,
Windows XP, Mac OS 9.1 or higher, Linux 2.4 or higher. (Installation
driver provided for Windows 98)
|Storage capacity models available:
||16MB, 32MB, 64MB, 128MB, and 256MB
||0 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius
||-10 degrees Celsius to 70 degrees Celsius
As you can see from the pictures the unit is very compact, about
the same length as my keys, and the thickness is a little greater than a
pencil. This is probably one of the more slim / compact USB Drives I have seen,
there have been some that seemed to be kinda bulky and wouldn't really fit well
on your key chain.
The front side of the drive has a blue activity LED, and it
shines very bright so you could see the glow from behind your computer.
This is a great feature that not all brands have. Since it is a solid-state
device, there are no moving parts to hear if it is working or not, and having
the LED flash when there is activity (or when it can be unplugged) lets me know
what is going on.
On the back of the drive it clearly states the storage size,
which this model is a 16 Megabyte version. The cap that covers the USB socket is
held on very good just by friction, I don't see any way for it to accidentally
come loose, the cap has a firm grip on the socket.
The drive is USB 1.1 compatible and theoretically peaks at about
1MB/s. The USB 1.1 standard is rated for a maximum of 12Megabits, or
1.5Megabytes. Anyhow, we will be testing it to see if we can get close to the 1MB/s mark or
maybe even a little higher.
This drive also doesn't require any drivers (except for Windows
98). Essentially there are two kinds of USB Drives, "dumb" ones which
will require a driver disk with any OS, and "intelligent" ones which
have a chip in them that allows the OS to recognize the drive without the need
for any extra drivers. I would avoid the "dumb" models personally, it
doesn't make sense to me to buy such a compact and portable device, only to be
hindered by having to remember to bring a driver disk everywhere you go. Models
like the Tweakmonster which are intelligent allow for true plug-and-play in a
wide variety of OSes without the need for any driver setup.
I run two main systems, one is Windows XP, and the other is Red
Hat Linux. Windows XP was simple enough to use the USB Drive with, just plug it
in and it pops up a message letting you know of the new device, and then it
simply shows up as a new drive letter. Then you can copy data to and from the
drive just like you would any other disk. As you can see from the picture below,
the yellow arrow is letting you know the device is hooked up (it is also the
icon you click on to stop the device so you can remove it from your computer). The drive shows up as the next available
drive letter in your system (which for me was E:).
When you want to remove it, you simply
have to click on the icon in the tray and "stop" the device, this is
to allow it to finish reading / writing data to the drive and to prevent any new
data from being read / written to it (so you don't corrupt anything). Once it is
stopped you can pull it out of the USB port.
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