256MB Store 'n' Go USB Drive, by Verbatim
Posted: 12-Mar-2004

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Verbatim Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: HARDWARE

Overview
The Verbatim Store 'n' Go USB drive is a thumb-sized USB device that plugs directly into your USB port. The drive comes in sizes ranging from 32MB all the way up to 1GB. Each drive includes the following features:

  • 10 Year Data Retention
  • No Batteries Required
  • Fast USB 2.0 Performance
  • Includes Carry Lanyard & USB Extension Cable
  • Resistant to shock and temperature extremes
  • Verbatim Lifetime Warranty

This review is for the 256MB Store 'n' Go drive.

Requirements

  • Any Mac or PC
  • USB Port

Price
Backed by a lifetime warranty, the Verbatim 256 MB Store 'n' Go sells for $92.99 at
Amazon.com (with free shipping). That's about 36 cents per MB (compared to 87 cents per MB for the 32 MB size).

Setup
After reviewing the 32MB Store 'n' Go, I was pleased to see that the 256MB version, with 8 times the storage size, was identical to the 32MB version in physical size. Unfortunately, it was also identical in packaging, and as with the 32MB unit, the most difficult part of getting started with the Store 'n' Go drive is getting it out of the packaging. The package is solid heavy plastic completely sealed, with no easy way to open it. I used my trusty utility blade to free the components, feeling a little nervous as the blade slipped a couple of times.

Once out of the package, using the Store 'n' Go is a breeze. You just plug it in and access the drive just like any other Mac volume. It works in OS 9 or OS X, and does not require any software installation.

In Use
When reviewing the 32MB Store 'n' Go drive, it did not show up on my OS X desktop at first, and I later learned that the Store 'n' Go drives, being powered by the USB bus, may not get enough power from an overburdened powered USB hub (which is where I plugged it in). For the 32MB unit, I had to unplug one of my other USB devices to get the Store 'n' Go to behave consistenly.

Thinking that the 256MB version would require at least as much power (if not more to accommodate the larger capacity), I expected at least the same behavior. However, on my first attempt, the drive showed up without a hitch (with all my other USB devices in use). I dismounted it, unplugged it, and plugged it back in, and it showed up once again. Both on OS 9 and OS X, the inconsistencies I experienced with the 32MB device with my USB hub did not occur with the 256MB device.

From the factory, the Store 'n' Go is formatted for the PC, and the 256 MB drive shows 249 MB available for use. As with the 32MB drive, the PC format does not support some file names that the Mac OS supports (such as filenames with a "/" in it). In order to recognize all Mac file names, I reformatted the drive as Apple Extended, resulting with 245 MB of available space for use. If you need to share files between PCs and Macs, you'll want to stay with the PC format, and just avoid file names that aren't compatible with the PC.

The small size and weight of the Store 'n' Go is amazing. It's lighter than my toothbrush, and yet it functions flawlessly as a disk drive. More amazing is that the 256 MB is the same size and weight as the 32 MB unit (with the cap off, the drive is less then 1/2 ounce, and 1 1/4" x 3/4" x 1/2"). The drive fits easily in any pocket, but the included carry lanyard (think of a stylish soft shoelace around your neck) is the best way to take the drive on the go. When you have important data on the drive, it just feels better to have it attached to the lanyard - you always know where it is.

One cool use of the Store 'n' Go is when you have new music you want to take to a friend's house. It's easier and far more convenient to use the Store 'n' Go to transfer the files, and you don't have to worry about leaving the CD or iPod in the car or somewhere else. With the Store 'n' Go lanyard, it's always around your neck (except when you're using it on the computer). With the 32MB drive, I was able to copy 4 to 5 songs, which isn't much. However, with the 256MB drive, I was able to copy the entire CD collection of MP3 files, and could have copied two more CDs and then some (note: the MP3 version of a CD is usually between 60 MB and 80 MB). Of course, you can use the USB drive to copy other files as well, such as documents, images, movies, and software.

In terms of speed, copying from my G4 Quicksilver to the Store 'n' Go was much faster than writing to a CD-ROM. Moreover, copying from the Store 'n' Go onto a G4 iMac using the USB 2.0 port was even faster, nearly as fast as a hard drive. USB 2.0 is certainly a better protocol than USB 1.1, and it's good to know that the Store 'n' Go takes full advantage of that.

Summary
The Verbatim Store 'n' Go is an incredibly small USB drive that performs great on both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. Because it is a USB-powered device, it is recommended that you plug it directly into your built-in USB port (it comes with a handy USB extension cable to support tower Macs whose ports are not easily accessible). However, in all my tests with the 256 MB Store 'n' Go, I had no problems using the drive from a powered 7-port USB hub (with all ports in use). The Store 'n' Go comes with a convenient carry lanyard so that you can take the drive on the go securely and in comfort. It can be formatted for PC or Mac, and comes in a variety of drive sizes. The throughput on the drive is very fast, especially on a USB 2.0 port. It's also good to know that you do not sacrifice reliability with the larger drives sizes, as the 256 MB performed flawlessly in all my tests, and even more consistent than the 32 MB drive when plugged into my USB hub. Although the Store 'n' Go comes in smaller sizes, I highly recommend the larger 256 MB size as it allows you to hold over 3 CDs worth of data, and the price per byte is a much greater value than the smaller capacity units. The Store 'n' Go is the ultimate data transfer companion device for all Mac users.

Pros

  • Small thumb-sized USB drive with convenient carry lanyard
  • Supports USB 2.0 speed
  • 256 MB capacity holds over 3 CD's worth of data or music
  • Derives power from USB port

Cons

  • Unfriendly packaging


Overall Rating

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice