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SWISSMEMORY USB MiniTwist 512MB

SWISSMEMORY USB MiniTwist 512MB Article Author : Ian
Date : 06-29-2005
 

Introduction

There is nothing quite as satisfying as knowing that the CD-RW has finally been replaced as the most convenient way to store and transfer ~500MB worth of data and files. Okay, a CD-RW holds a little more than that, 650MB to be specific, but that isn't the point. Nowadays, we have solid state, nearly indestructible USB flash memory devices that fit neatly on your key chain between the home and car keys.

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."

Specifications

Contents, features and specifications can be found on Swissbit's website.

Memory Capacity
128MB/256MB/512MB/1GB

USB-Class
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (downward
compatible to USB 1.1 Full-Speed)

Performance
up to 8MB/s read*
up to 7MB/s write*

Power Supply
USB bus powered

Power Consumption
Standby: 900 µA - 2 mA
Hi-Speed: 150 - 200 mA
Full-Speed: 120 - 140 mA

Controller
Mass storage class controller

Error Correction
ECC on the fly
Automatic bad block management

Software
Portable Outlook Express
Internet Favorites & My Documents sync
Password protection
USB Drive Lost & Found

Data retention
10 years

Dimensions (L x W x H)
60 mm x 16 mm x 9 mm

Weight
< 6 grams

Supported OS
Windows® XP, Windows® 2000 SP4,
Windows® ME, Windows® 98SE **
Mac OS 8.6 **, Mac OS 9.0 (and higher),
Linux 2.4 (and higher)

LED Indicator
On: idle
Blinking: Full-/Hi-Speed data transfer

Operating Temperature
0° C to +70° C (32° F to 158° F)

Storage Temperature
-20° C to +80° C (-4° F to 176° F)

Service
2 year warranty on USB

Norms and Standards
Europe (CE)
USA (FCC)
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed

Packaging


Click images for a larger view

The SWISSMEMORY™ USB MiniTwist comes packaged just like its big brother, the TwistPro, in a plastic container that showcases the actual product. There is one slight difference this time though. Swissbit improved the packaging by making it glued together in small sqaures, so you know if the package has been tampered with.

Contents

Just like its big brother, there is no included lanyard, USB extension cable, CD with drivers or an instruction manual. Yet, there is the amazing TravelitEasy, and SecureLOCK software. (Please note that the following reviews of the included software are from the TWISTPRO review).


Click image for a larger view

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.


Click image for a larger view

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.

Comparing the MiniTwist

To give you a good idea on how small the MiniTwist is, I've put together my collection of flash drives and I've line them up next to each other. The collection consists of the Swissbit Twist Pro 2GB, Sony Microvault 1GB, Swissbit Victorinox 1GB, and the Swissbit MiniTwist.


Click image for a larger view

As you can see, the MiniTwist lives upto its name. It is indeed the smallest in the collection, especially by width. Yet, by length, there seems to be a tie.


Click images for a larger view

The MiniTwist is exactly the same size as the Victorinox. Yet the Victorinox is wider because it is a pocket knife. This is because they are both indeed using the same size flash modules.

Testing

TO test just how speedy the MiniTwist is, I opened up SiSoftware Sandra and ran a File System Benchmark.


I picked 3 Hi Speed USB drives and 1 SD card for comparison, and as you can see, it blew away the other "Hi-Speed" drives that were used for comparison. The Minitwist averaged 10Mb/s, which is must faster than the manufacture's stated performance of "up to 8MB/s read" and "up to 7MB/s write."

Conclusion

Overall, the Swissbit MiniTwist is a great flash drive. It's small design, yet while still having capabilities of storing up to 1GB of data, while being competively priced makes the MiniTwist worth purchasing. Testing the MiniTwist showed that it is definitly a contender in the speed side of things as well. The only real downfall of the MiniTwist is that there is no included layard or USB extension cable.



 



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