For everyday use you want a USB Flash Drive that combines the best of large capacity, fast speed, security, and low price. The sweet spot where all the options come together is 128GB, USB 3.0, for around $30. These are great for storing music to play in your car USB port, sharing vacation photos, having a backup to a key presentation or just carrying around the files that you need. You can find Flash (sometimes called “Thumb”) drives from 4GB to just announced 1TB and 2TB, with speeds up to 150MB/s read and 60MB/s write. This review covers the top 4 128GB Flash Drives from SanDisk, Samsung, Lexar and Kingston.
If you are in the espionage business, or just concerned about your files falling into the wrong hands, read our review on the top secure, encrypted drives.
You can quickly transfer a 3GB HD movie clip in less than 1 minute with USB 3.0 speeds (up to 150MB/s read and 60MB/s write), compared to the 4 minutes it takes using a slightly older USB 2.0 drive. For general usage, USB 3.0 is about 12 times faster than USB2.0 .You’ll save a couple of bucks with the older technology, but we don’t think it’s worth the frustration of waiting for files to copy / load. Also the USB 3.0 on these Flash Drive is backwards compatible with USB 2.0, devices so will work with nearly all modern equipment.
What can you do with a USB 3.0 Flash Drive?
- 1000 photos (3.8MB photo) in about 2 minutes
- 1 1080p full-HD video at 30fps (3.2GB video) in under 1 minute
- 500 photos (3.8MB photo) and 5 1080p full-HD video at 24fps (1GB video) in a little more than 2 minutes
Here is the list, all are 128 GB and USB 3.0:
#1 – SanDisk Ultra Flair
Our top pick is the SanDisk Ultra Flair USB 3.0, 128GB Flash Drive – SanDisk includes “SecureAccess” software with 128-bit AES encryption to make it easy to password-protect critical files. Simply create a private folder on your drive, drag and drop files into the vault. Now they’ll be protected. It’s the easier secure software we’ve found so far.
The drive also comes with a “RescuePRO Deluxe” data recovery software which makes it easy to recover files that have been accidentally deleted (just remember to first download the free software). The drive itself features a stylish yet tough metal casing, and no moving parts.
Get it on Amazon, SanDisk Ultra Flair USB 3.0, 128GB (about $30)
#2 – Lexar JumpDrive S75
Another excellent choice is the Lexar JumpDrive S75 USB 3.0, 128GB Flash Drive – The JumpDrive S75 includes “EncryptStick Lite” software, an advanced security solution with 256-bit AES encryption to help protect your essential files against corruption, loss, and deletion. The S75 also has a retractable connector with convenient thumb slide – no more losing the end-cap!
Order on Amazon, Lexar JumpDrive S75 USB 3.0, 128GB (about $35)
#3 – Samsung BAR
Also worth considering is the Samsung BAR (METAL) USB 3.0, 128GB Flash Drive (MUF-128BA/AM) with its rugged and reliable technology for people that are tough on their electronics. This Flash Drive is Water proof, Shock proof, Magnet proof, Temperature proof, and X-ray proof. It will work in extreme conditions (0 to 60 degree Celsius) and can be stored / transported in even worse (minus 10 to 70 degree Celsius).
It’s made with a high-quality metal casing for durability, and with a molded-in key ring to prevent accidentally losing it. On top of that, Samsung provides a 5-year warranty in the event you do manage to actually damage this device.
Available on Amazon, Samsung BAR (METAL) USB 3.0, 128GB Flash Drive (about $38)
#4 – Kingston Data Traveler
Our final Flash Drive on this list is the Kingston Digital 128GB Data Traveler SE9 G2 USB 3.0 (DTSE9G2/128GB) with its compact design (cap less ultra-small form factor), durable construction (fashionable metal casing design with a sturdy key ring) and guarantees (five-year warranty, free technical support).
Buy it through Amazon, Kingston Digital 128GB Data Traveler SE9 G2 (about $45)
A final note: These are consumer electronics and the prices listed were accurate when this was written. Prices may have gone up or down since then. See here for more information on the pricing.