Dual Flash Drive Comparison: Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 3C, Lexar JumpDrive D400, PNY Duo Link, Sandisk Ultra Dual-series
8 May 2023, Comments: Comments Off on Best USB-C Flash Drives with USB-A Compatibility

 May 2023         Ian Chiu

We tested six 128GB dual flash drives from Kingston, Lexar, PNY, and Sandisk. These USB 3.2 Gen. 1 drives serve as a bridge between USB-C and legacy USB-A PCs, giving you the best of both worlds. However, high-end thumb drives and portable SSDs are a better choice if you don’t mind carrying a separate USB adapter.

In our May 2023 update, we have replaced the now-discontinued Samsung Duo Plus with Lexar JumpDrive D400 and PNY Duo Link in the latest round-up.

 Our Pick


Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 3C is our choice. It is the most compact of all dual-head flash drives and excels in read performance. Having said that, out of the six drives we tested, none of them is really made for heavy-duty use as their write speeds are simply too slow. Lexar JumpDrive D400 and Sandisk Ultra Dual Luxe have a write speed of around 30MB/s despite the fact that they are already quite a bit “faster” than the rest of the pack. But for the sake of convenience, these dual-head drives still have a place in some storage applications.

 What are Dual Flash Drives?


Dual flash drives – having USB Type-A and USB-C connectors 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 (e.g. iPads, Samsung Galaxy tablets) 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 DataTraveler MicroDuo 3C
Kingston
DT microDuo 3C

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$26.78 for 256GB
Lexar JumpDrive D400
Lexar
JumpDrive D400

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$24.99 for 256GB
PNY Duo Link
PNY
Duo Link

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$26.99 for 256GB
Sandisk Ultra Dual Drive
Sandisk
Ultra Dual

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$22.99 for 256GB
Sandisk Ultra Dual Drive Go
Sandisk
Ultra Dual Go

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$23.59 for 256GB
Sandisk Ultra Dual Luxe
Sandisk
Ultra Dual Luxe

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$21.97 for 256GB
Storage:16 - 256GB64 - 256GB64 - 256GB16 - 256GB32 - 512GB32 - 1TB
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
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
Dimensions:30 x 16.6 x 8.4mm60.6 x 16.2 x 9.7mm42.7 x 7.62 x 1.27mm38 x 20.1 x 9.4mm44.5 x 12.2 x 8.6mm44.5 x 12.2 x 8.6mm
Weight:4.5g17.4g9g9.1g3.7g17g
Build Material:Plastic & metalMetalMetalPlastic & metalPlasticMetal
USB Plug Protection?Flipping cap for USB-C connectorRotating capRotating capRetractable connectorsRotating capRotating cap
Color(s):SilverGraySilverBlack & silverBlackSilver
Android File Manager?NoNoNoSandisk Memory ZoneSandisk Memory ZoneSandisk Memory Zone
Release Date:May 2022March 2023Feb 2023May 2016Jan 2020Feb 2020
Warranty:5 years5 years1 year5 years5 years5 years

Pricing is last updated by Amazon on 2024-04-14 at 09:00.  When you buy through Amazon affiliate links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Benchmark Analysis


We carried out our drive benchmarks on two different platforms – Windows 10 Pro running on MacBook Pro (2019) and iPadOS 16.4.1 running on Apple iPad Pro (2021).  For our PC benchmark, our testing with the USB-C 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.  Tests were carried out on Nodesoft’s DiskBench

Bar chart comparing USB speeds between Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo 3C, Lexar JumpDrive D400, PNY Duo Link, Sandisk Ultra Dual, Ultra Dual Go and Ultra Dual Luxe on Windows 10.

From the graph above, Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 3C had a lead over the competitors with a read performance of around 200MB/s. Write speeds for every drive in the category, however, were fairly disappointing as the “fastest” one – Sandisk Ultra Dual Luxe – could only manage 33MB/s.

Next, we looked into the kind of performance you can expect if you plan on using these dual flash drives for regular photo backups and large video imports on an Apple iPad Pro. The 2021-model iPad Pro is equipped with USB-C capable of delivering 10Gbps through USB 3.2 Gen 2 and 40Gbps through USB4.  That said, dual flash drives tested are limited to 5Gbps (USB Gen 2 Gen 1). For this set of benchmarks, we repeated the same copying process with the same files we used on the MacBook Pro earlier.

Bar chart comparing USB speeds between Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo 3C, Lexar JumpDrive D400, PNY Duo Link, Sandisk Ultra Dual, Ultra Dual Go and Ultra Dual Luxe on Apple iPad Pro.

From the graph above, the Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 3C (2022 model) led by a fair margin in read speeds. If backing up photos is a daily task, Lexar JumpDrive D400 is quite a bit faster than the other five drives.

Beginning with iPadOS 15, a progress bar is introduced in iPadOS’ Files app to indicate the amount of data being copied and the remaining time needed for the file transfer to complete. Apple also has made significant improvements to USB drive performance on iPadOS, bringing it up to par with that of Windows. Before the much-needed overhaul, there was definitely something wrong with how Apple handled write operations on UFDs. It’s good to hear the issue has now been resolved.

Drive Design & Software


Lexar JumpDrive D400, PNY Duo Link, and Sandisk Ultra Dual Luxe all share the same swiveling cap design and come with a durable all-metal body. They do a good job at dissipating the heat but we had to wait half a minute or so as it might get too hot to handle after several minutes of intense I/O operations. Kingston’s DataTraveler microDuo 3C features a rotating cap that protects only the USB-C plug, while the Sandisk Ultra Dual uses a retractable connector design to prevent the drive’s sharp edges from puncturing jean pockets.

On the software side, Sandisk provides its own Android backup and file management app.  We didn’t have any luck 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 the Google Play Store, you should have plenty of options when it comes to managing files on your USB drives on an Android smartphone or tablet.

 Best Deals Online


Pricing is last updated by Amazon on 2024-04-14 at 09:00.  When you buy through Amazon affiliate links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


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