Kingston DataTraveler 300 review

£595
Price when reviewed

The DataTraveler 300 is – for now – the world’s most capacious USB flash drive. At 256GB it’s not quite as generous as the name suggests (especially as only 238GB of that is usable), but it’s still bigger than many hard disks and should certainly cover your file-transportation needs for the immediate future.

For such a world-beating device, though, the construction feels a little cheap. The brushed metal trim wraps around a lightweight plastic case that feels too easy to crack. The retractable plug is a slightly loose fit, meaning the device rattles when shaken. And there’s no cover for the USB connector, so if you sling the drive in a bag it’s potentially vulnerable to crumbs and paperclips.

Still, performance isn’t bad. In our tests the DataTraveler was able to write 3,000 small files, totalling 300MB, in 2min 6sec, and read them back in 18.7 seconds. Our large 3GB test file was written in 6min 13sec, and read back in 1min 54sec.

“Filling the drive will take four-and-a-half hours of solid copying”

That equates to a sequential read speed of 26.9MB/sec, which isn’t far behind an external USB hard disk: across our last roundup of such devices, the average read rate was 31MB/sec.

But write performance is always an Achilles’ Heel for flash drives, and the DataTraveler’s sequential write speed of 8.2MB/sec was miles behind the USB hard disks’ 28.7MB/sec. To fill the drive at this rate you’d have to sit through a minimum of four-and-a-half hours of solid copying.

The DataTraveler 300 does slip into your pocket in a way no USB hard disk can, so if you need to carry around a large archive of software or data files we can see the appeal – so long as you’re careful not to lose it.

Unfortunately, this exceptional device comes at an exceptional price: £517 exc VAT, or a preposterous £2.17 per usable gigabyte. That’s so far out of kilter with its usefulness that we can really recommend the DataTraveler 300 only as a status symbol for the wealthiest of geeks.

Specifications

Capacity 256GB
Cost per gigabyte 217.0p
Hard disk usable capacity 238GB
Hard disk type SSD
Cache size N/A
Spindle speed N/A

Performance tests

Write speed small files 2.4MB/sec
Write speed large files 8.2MB/sec

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