Unless you have a new smartphone, a new tablet or a new laptop, this next gadget is not for you. If you do, though, then it might just make your life a lot easier. It’s also a glimpse into the future, in a world where all our USB ports are reversible and even the dodgiest random flash drives that you find down the back of your couch transfer your data quickly.
The gadget in question is Sandisk’s new Ultra USB Type-C flash drive — a drive that only has the reversible, slim, high-speed USB Type-C connector that has slowly been infiltrating its way into the computing world on laptops like the new Apple MacBook, the HP Spectre X2 2-in-1, new smartphones like the HTC 10 and LG G5 and even new gaming motherboards.
The drive is rated at up to 150MBps read speeds, and is compatible with the USB 3.1 Gen 1 standard — as well as backwards compatible with any USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports using the Type-C connector, like the one in the MacBook. And it does achieve those speeds — I clocked it at 142MBps on a fast Windows laptop with an even faster USB 3.1 Gen 2 transfer port. Writing files is somewhat slower at around 87MBps — still many times faster than USB 2.0 and the old generic flash drives you probably have lying around.
The drive also includes Sandisk’s SecureAccess private vault software, which locks away a portion of the drive behind a password. Unfortunately, that software only works on PC and Mac so there’s no support for Android smartphones or any other platform. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s worth keeping in mind: if you want those files to stay secure, you’ll need to transfer them out of the SecureAccess vault via a PC whenever you want to access them on Android.
On Android, the Sandisk Memory Zone app handles transfers but also functions as a backup system, transferring your various photos and videos and other tangible media across to the Ultra USB Type-C
You’ll be able to buy the Ultra USB Type-C in four different capacities ranging from 16GB to 128GB, which should be more than enough for most users — especially considering its miniscule 7x20x41mm size.
If you need a drive that also plugs into a regular, full-size USB 3.0 port then Sandisk also has the equally new Ultra Dual Drive USB-C, and the less speedy Dual Drive USB-C too. They’re definitely a more versatile drive right now, but in the next couple of years they won’t even be necessary. Australian pricing is $16.95, $24.95, $39.95 and $69.95 for 16GB, 32GB (tested), 64GB and 128GB respectively, it’s a useful drive with the right compromise of speed, space and price. [Sandisk]