Even in the age of cloud storage, USB flash drives are incredibly convenient to carry data around. The main drawbacks of flash drives however are security, theft and sometimes, plain forgetfulness. Most people we know have misplaced a drive or three over the past few years and haven’t really thought much about it, but if you rely on a flash drive to carry important personal data, you might want to ensure that if you ever lose it, the person that picks it up cannot simply plug it in and see all your files.
SanDisk’s Extreme Pro USB 3.0 Flash Drive serves two purposes. Firstly, the flash drive features a generous 128GB of storage and SanDisk claims performance of 260MB/s reads and 240MB/s writes are possible.
And speed is something that the SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.0 has in spades. We achieved sequential read and write speeds of 263MB/s and 238MB/s respectively, which were very close to SanDisk’s claims. We also timed how long it took to copy a 15GB folder containing hundreds of pictures and a couple of high-definition videos and found it to be pretty brisk, taking just 238 seconds – just under four minutes. In comparison, a USB 3.0 1TB portable hard disk drive usually takes around five and a half minutes.
And on the security front, the disk comes preloaded with SanDisk’s SecureAccess software that provides 128-bit AES encryption and password protection. Mac users will be happy to know that SanDisk offers a Mac-compatible version of this software too. It is pretty easy to setup and once installed, creates an encrypted folder within the flash drive. Saving files is simply a matter of dragging and dropping files into this folder, which will automatically be encrypted. Retrieving them however requires the use of the software.
Performance and features aside, the Extreme Pro USB 3.0 comes with an aluminum casing and is slightly larger than a standard AA battery. It features a retractable USB connector, which helps shave off its length slightly, however, we found it to be a little chunky. This becomes problematic when using with smaller notebooks and devices that have their USB ports close to one another, making it a tight fi t if you have multiple USB devices to connect.
Unlike the rest of SanDisk’s flash drive series, the Extreme Pro USB 3.0 will only come in one size, which is the 128GB variant. While the drive does fully deliver on both performance and security fronts, it does command a considerable premium over regular USB 3.0 drives, to the tune of $269 to be exact.
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