We tested five 64GB dual flash drives from Kingston, PNY, Samsung, Sandisk and Sony. These USB 3.1 Gen. 1 drives serve as a bridge between USB-C and legacy USB-A PCs, offering you the best of the both worlds.

10 July 2019, Comments: 0

 July 2019         Ian Chiu

 Do I need a Dual Flash Drive?


Dual flash drives – having USB Type-A and USB-C connector on opposite ends – are becoming more relevant as more computers and smartphones ship with the reversible USB port exclusively.  They make sure you have readily access to your data on your future-proof USB-C devices as well as giving you backward compatibility on PCs and Macs with good old USB Type-A.  For this reason, it will never hurt to have at least one of these dual-headed flash drives in case you need a quick and easy file transfer solution.

Feature Comparison


 
Kingston
DT microDuo 3C
PNY
Duo Link OTG Drive
Sandisk
Ultra Dual Drive
Samsung
Duo Plus
Sony
USM-CA1
Storage:16 - 128GB32 - 128GB16 - 256GB32 - 256GB16 - 64GB
Interface(s):USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
Dimensions:30 x 16.6 x 8.4mm50.8 x 25.4 x 8.9mm38 x 20.1 x 9.4mm57.9 X 18.3 X 7.3mm26.4 x 12.2 x 5.3mm
Weight:4.5g8.2g9.1g7.7g5g
Build Material:Plastic & metalPlasticPlastic & metalPlasticMetal
USB Plug Protection?Rotating cap for USB-CRetractable connectorsRetractable connectorsRemovable capsNo
Color(s):SilverBlackBlack & silverBlack & greySilver
Android File Manager?NoNoSandisk Memory ZoneNoNo
Release Date:July 2015April 2018May 2016August 2018Jan 2016
Warranty:5 years1 year5 years5 years2 years

Featured Drives on Amazon


Benchmark Analysis


We carried out our drive benchmarks on two different platforms – Apple MacBook Pro (2014) and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus.  The Galaxy – the first (or second if you count Note 7) flagship phone from Samsung to come with USB-C – was chosen because of its USB 3.1 interface whereas the MacBook Pro was selected for legacy USB-A connectivity.

Samsung proudly advertises the read speed of its Duo Plus can hit 300MB/s whereas Kingston claims read speed of 100MB/s for its MicroDuo 3C.  The corresponding numbers are 150MB/s and 130MB/s for Sandisk Ultra Dual Drive and Sony USM-CA1 respectively.  Lastly, PNY’s Duo Link OTG is quoted to deliver speeds up to 130MB/s under ideal conditions.

For our PC benchmark, our testing with the USB Type-A interface involved transferring a 9GB MP4 file back and forth between our MacBook Pro and the drives.  We then repeated the process with a 5GB folder containing 1000 JPEGs.  From the graph above, the Samsung Duo Plus was clearly ahead of the competitors but the advantages greatly diminished during write operations.  There’s also something peculiar to the Kingston MicroDuo 3C as the drive consistently fell short of expectations.

Next we looked into the kind of performance you can expect if you plan on using these dual-headed drives for regular photo backups and large video imports on a Galaxy S8.  The Samsung flagship smartphone is equipped with USB-C capable of delivering 5Gbps; though, keep in mind not every Android handset released since 2017 is USB 3.1.  For this set of benchmarks, we repeated the same procedures on USB-C as we did before with the legacy USB-A on our MacBook Pro.

From the graph above, Samsung Duo Plus, Sandisk Ultra Dual and Sony USM-CA1 were neck and neck in performance. While the PNY and Kingston led by a fair margin in read operations, they both disappointed in write. It’s, however, important to note that all these drives were on the low end of expectations in terms of write speeds by today’s standards.

Benchmark Data


 Kingston
DT microDuo 3C
PNY
Duo Link OTG Drive
Samsung
Duo Plus
Sandisk
Ultra Dual Drive
Sony
USM-CA1
5GB Movie Read Speed:
(USB Drive to PC)
42.11MB/s121.66MB/s206.66MB/s142.21MB/s123.18MB/s
5GB Movie Write Speed:
(PC to USB Drive)
14.34MB/s20.44MB/s24.63MB/s27.48MB/s16.45MB/s
5GB Photos Read Speed:
(USB Drive to PC)
38.70MB/s97.62MB/s149.29MB/s100.98MB/s89.72MB/s
5GB Photos Write Speed:
(PC to USB Drive)
13.41MB/s18.49MB/s22.51MB/s17.56MB/s12.26MB/s
5GB Movie Read Speed:
(USB Drive to Samsung S8)
75.32MB/s85.2MB/s64.01MB/s65.81MB/s67.56MB/s
5GB Movie Write Speed:
(Samsung S8 to USB Drive)
21.3MB/s16.62MB/s23.86MB/s21.56MB/s20.52MB/s
5GB Photos Read Speed:
(USB Drive to Samsung S8)
68.83MB/s75.51MB/s54.28MB/s57.52MB/s53.8MB/s
5GB Photos Write Speed:
(Samsung S8 to USB Drive)
14.27MB/s15.01MB/s24.42MB/s21.31MB/s20.35MB/s

Drive Design & Software


For heavy use, the Kingston, PNY, Sandisk and Samsung with their all-plastic body are better as we didn’t have to wait for the drives to cool down before pulling them out from a USB port whereas in the case of Sony, we had to wait half a minute or so because these bare drives might get too hot to handle after several minutes of intense I/O operations.

Design-wise, size and build quality definitely come into consideration.  Kingston, Samsung and Sandisk are more compact and durable in that respect.  It’s worth noting the Samsung’s Duo Plus is technically USB-C only as it is bundled with a USB-A adapter that can be pulled out from the opposite end.  There’s also a removable cap for the USB-C plug. So you end up with more parts to keep track of during daily use.

Kingston’s DataTraveler microDuo 3C, on the other hand, opts for a swivel cap which only protects the USB-C plug while Sandisk’s Ultra Dual picks a retractable connector design.  Sony’s USM-CA1 comes with perfect-fit silicone case which keeps the drive’s razor sharp edges from puncturing your jean pockets.

As for PNY, while the Duo Link OTG is more bulky, it feels somewhat flimsy compared to other models tested here.  The drive also doesn’t exactly have the best sliding mechanism as the slider sometimes makes it difficult to reveal and retract either USB-A or USB-C connector.

Keep in mind only the Kingston and the Sony are compatible with Android smartphones in a protective case.

On the software side, the Sandisk provides their own Android backup and file management app.  We didn’t have any lucky getting our Sandisk Ultra Dual recognized by the company’s Memory Zone app on our Samsung S8+.  Since there’s already an abundance of third-party file browser apps on Google Play Store, you should have plenty of options when it comes to managing files on your USB drives on Android smartphone or tablet.

 The Best Dual USB Drives


Out of the five dual-headed drives we tested, the Samsung’s Duo Plus and the Sandisk’s Ultra Dual are our choices.   The Samsung excels in performance whereas the Sandisk is better suited for everyday use with its solid build quality and USB slider.  You’ll notice the write speeds are on the low side.  Having said that, consider these drives to be best for light duty use.

Featured Drives on Amazon


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