10 May 2013, Comments: 3

 May 2013         Anthony Garland

Over the years we have heard many bold and brash claims, but ‘World’s Best Flash Drive’ certainly is right up there with the most self-aggrandizing. As the URL suggests, the Carbide flash drive from CustomUSB claims to literally be the world’s best flash drive.

This certainly is a rather bold claim to make, but this 25 gram, 80 x 20 x 10.5mm flash drive does have some very impressive features to back it up. These include platform independent security PIN lock; AES 256-bit self encryption (with FIPS Security 140-2 Level 3 certification); multi-user with multiple passwords abilities; tamper and hacker resistance; free portable applications; and even built-in ESET anti-virus abilities with 5 years of free updates.

Furthermore, these 8GB – 32GB drives are Military certified (810F) for Water, Dust, Shock & Tamper Resistant. CustomUSB even includes a full suite of PortableApps plus free name engraving into aluminium housing and a free gift tin to store it in.

The only real big issue with the self proclaimed World’s Best Flash Drive – besides the PC only software included – is the Carbide’s performance. Where this is USB 2.0, a certain amount of lowered expectations have to be taken into account; however, 27MB/s read and 24MB/s write speed is rather poor even by USB 2.0 flash drive standards.

Obviously, this is the area that corners were cut in order to make the $90 to $150 price range. However if you value security more than performance, then maybe this is world’s best flash drive for you. For everyone else, TrueCrypt plus a fast flash drive may be a more optimal choice.

  • For security the IronKey (now Imation) S200 is the benchmark. As it uses SLC NAND flash, it is also very fast, but that explains why it’s expensive.

    • IronKey makes a good drive. But the 32GB S250 (the companion to the S200 that exceeds 16GB) is $599.99. The 32GB D250 IronKey is $349.99. Even the low-end IronKey D80 32GB drive (not FIPS certified, lesser quality components) is $240. By comparison, the 32GB PortableApps.com Carbide, with full FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certification, is $149.99.

      The other big difference is that, unlike the IronKey, the Carbide doesn’t require you to run a piece of software to unlock. That means you can use it on locked down corporate or government PCs which block running software from flash drives as well as operating systems and devices IronKey can’t unlock on like Windows RT, Android, TV USB ports, etc.

      Finally, as mentioned in the article, TrueCrypt is an option for some users. Unfortunately, TrueCrypt is generally only usable on your own PCs. It requires admin rights in Windows to run on each PC, so you usually can’t use it at work, school, a library, a net cafe, a hotel business center, etc. Carbide has no such limitations, making it usable in almost every situation.

      • Ian Chiu

        Your post was marked as “spam” but it’s fixed now.