By now most of us own a USB drive, if not several. They are a great way to move small or even large files about, and USB drives have taken the top spot for favorite portable storage. They come in all different capacities but for the most part they don't really offer much in the way of features. That is, until Swissbit put a 1GB USB drive inside a Victorinox Swiss Army knife.
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
0°C to +50°C (32°F to 122°F)
-20°C to +60°C (-4°F to 140°F)
ballpoint Pen extended version:
Nail file with Screwdriver
The SWISSMEMORY™ USB Victorinox comes packaged in a retail cardboard box, that displays the Victorinox in the top right corner. This is a great feature, as it is always great to actually see what you are buying.
Unlike the TWISTPRO from Swissbit, the Victorinox includes a lanyard, USB extension cable, a CD with drivers, and an instruction manual, along with the software, TravelitEasy, and SecureLOCK. (Please note that the following reviews of the included software are from the TWISTPRO review).
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 Victorinox measures 2.3" long x 0.7" wide x 0.6" thick, and it weighs just 1.1 ounces. Even though it is so small, it feels very solid and sturdy. The pocketknife is perfectly sized so that it can go on a keyring without adding too much weight or bulk. The tools included in the Victorinox are a 1.25" razor sharp blade, a nail file with a flathead screwdriver on its end, scissors, a small ballpoint pen, a white LED light, and the removable USB memory module.
Due to Airport security being as it is, you can no longer walk through while carrying just about any of the Victorinox's integrated tools, so the memory module is detachable. This allows the owner's data to stay with them, while their pocket knife is checked. Yet, if you are the type that travels frequently or will never remember to remove the memory and check the knife, Swissmemory has you covererd with there airport safe version available that includes just the memory module, the integrated pen and the LED light.
The white LED light is a very nice feature, especially with the button being hidden in the Victorinox logo. Yet, the LED is not very bright. It is best used for things very close to you, not a large, or even medium distance away.
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 Victorinox 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 Victorinox is a product that I just can't live without. I never could have thought how useful a pocket knife and thumb drive could be together. Now I want another. Besides the price tag on this product, the SWISSMEMORY™ USB Victorinox is the best USB drive on the market.