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Tweakmonster USB Drive

Date Reviewed: August 09, 2002
Reviewed By:
Jason Rabel
Companies: Tweakmonster.com

 

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.

Features:

Can serve as a key chain/pendant
Weatherproof casing
Completely Plug and Play, except for Windows98SE for which driver is included
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 made easily

Dimensions: 78mm (L) x 26mm (W) x 11mm
Weight: 11 grams
Interface: Universal Serial Bus (USB) Interface
Power supply: Completely USB bus-powered. No other battery or power source required
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
Operating temperature: 0 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius
Storage temperature: -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.

 

Functionality:

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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