Give it a twist, a flick of the wrist, that's what the showman said! That is exactly what Swissbit has us doing with the SWISSMEMORY™ USB TWISTPRO. Swissbit knows that your tired of losing that cap on the end of your thumb drive, and they also know you just need more space to carry around your work files, along with those play time files. What else could you need in a USB device?
Before I get to the review, I would like to provide some background on Swissbit.
"Emerging from a joint venture with Siemens Switzerland Ltd. Swissbit in Switzerland has more than 12 years experience in development, design, manufacturing and testing of Memory Products. With a production of more than 3,5 Mio. Memory Modules each year, Swissbit has become the largest, independent manufacturer of memory modules in Europe since 1999. The production is located in Bronschhofen (SG), Switzerland in an ISO 9001 and EN 14001 certified environment."
Contents, features and specifications can be found on Swissbit's website.
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed device
USB 1.1 Full-Speed compliant
USB bus powered, no external power required
900 µA (typical), 2 mA (max)
150 mA (typical), 200 mA (max)
120 mA (typical), 140 mA (max)
Mass storage class controller
ECC on the fly
Automatic bad block management
Win XP, Win 2000, Windows ME
Linux 2.4 above
MAC OS 9.0 & higher
Win98SE driver available Mac 8.6 mass storage driver available from Apple
Extensive security features incl. password protection and data encryption for private zone with SecureLOCK
Boot up with a USB legacy supported BIOS (USB-ZIP, USB-FDD or USB-HDD)
Blinks to indicate write/read status
Read max. 8MB/sec
Write max. 7MB/sec
Read max. 1MB/sec
Write max. 0.85 MB/sec
64MB (Darksky Grey)
128MB (Indigo Blue)
256MB (Tangerine Orange)
512MB (Magma Red)
1GB (Forest Green)
2GB (TwistPro Indigo Blue)
4GB (TwistPro Magma Red)
0°C to +50°C (32°F to 122°F)
-20°C to +60°C (-4°F to 140°F)
The SWISSMEMORY™ USB TWISTPRO comes packaged in what I thought was the annoying "open once" packaging, yet the plastic was just held together by tape. The paper insert lists all the specifications on the back, and sports some Swiss people on the front.
Nothing is included with the drive (externally), which is quite disapointing. A lanyard would have nice, and a USB extension cable would have been greatly appreciated. The drive does come with two pieces of software though, TravelitEasy, and SecureLOCK.
SecureLOCK allows you to partition the flash drive with three options: Private Area: This password locks, & encrypts all data on the flash drive. Public Area: This turns off the encryption and password function. Private and Public: Allows you to define how large you want the Private partition to be in MBs. You can also run a repair disk, which will format the drive and checks for bad blocks.
TravelitEasy is more complete with a setting to allow you to set up email accounts as well as sync options: Internet Explorer Favorites, My documents, and others. There is even a feature to leave a calling card with details of owners address ect and any reward offered, hopefully though no one will have to ever use it, but in reality it’s a possibility. So no matter were you are you just have to plug in to a pc and the device will grab you mail as well as sync with other files in My Documents (ideal for carrying work around).
Here is an extract from the TravelitEasy website explaining the software.
Travel it Easy offers the USB Flash Drive user a variety of useful functions. An intuitive and friendly to use user interface allows access to the different options. Those concerned about security issues can choose to password protect their data so even if the Drive is lost or stolen the data remains undisclosed to intrusive eyes. And that is not all. Travel it Easy features the USB Drive Lost & Found™ function that allows the finder to read a HTML file containing the user’s contact information but doesn’t let him access the data stored on the USB Drive. With the My Documents synchronization function the user can choose to synchronize the entire My Documents folder or only selected subfolders with his USB Drive in a very easy way. The Outlook Express function enables the user to copy his Outlook Express user identity and all the data (like e-mails, contacts etc.) on to the USB Flash Drive and then work with them on a remote PC. Emails can be sent, contacts added and then all the data can be transferred back on the original PC easily with just a few mouse clicks. A practical function, especially for those who do a lot of traveling.
The SWISSMEMORY™ USB TWISTPRO has a simple but classy design. According to the specs, the actual stick has a indigo-blue color while the rest of the housing is black. The black housing twists, instead of being a cap. This is so you won't loose the end, which so many of us have done. The black housing squeeks a lot when twisted. This is something that is very annoying, yet can be fun to annoy your fellow employee. The backside of the device has a useful clip which can be used on a piece of clothing in order to transport it in an easy way. You could also hook a lanyard through the holes on the clip.
The plastic that is used for housing the device seems to be a bit to flimsy for my taste. The housing seems like it could break if it was even just stepped on. I would really like to see a hard plastic used, or rubber like the Corsair Voyager we review earlier.
One thing I always look for in a USB drive is the width of the drive. If I can't plug two USB devices in because one drive takes up too much room, I don't want the drive. The SWISSMEMORY™ USB TWISTPRO fits into the category of the drives I don't want. It is about 2cm to wide to fit another USB device.
Installation is very simple due to its plug and play interface. The computer recognized it instantly, and even said to move the device to a USB 2.0 for better performance.
We tested the SWISSMEMORY™ USB TWISTPRO with SiSoftware Sandra to ensure the drive performed as the manufacturer stated. Indeed it did, with results of Read Max of 8MB/sec and Write Max of 7MB/sec on High Speed.
Overall, the SWISSMEMORY™ USB TWISTPRO is a great USB device that has a large amount of space, and a never lose twist on/off cover. Yet, the width and the price of the product may not be what you are looking for. I say give it a spin if you have the cash, you can always get a USB extension cable, and you'll love all the extra storage space.