RuggedKey USB drive by LaCie USA
$39.95 for 16 gigabytes or $69.95 for 32 gigabytes at Lacie.com
USB thumb drives are pretty tough to begin with, but not quite tough enough for the engineers at LaCie. So they’ve come up with a bright, bouncy little gadget that was born to take a pounding.
The RuggedKey is based on the USB 3.0 standard, so it swaps data much faster than drives of the previous generation. With its buffed stainless steel design, it looks solid enough. But LaCie has clothed the RuggedKey in a removable sheath made of soft, bright-orange plastic. The company claims that the drive can withstand a drop of well over 300 feet with no ill effects. I only dropped it about 50, but it came through just fine. RuggedKey is also water-resistant and able to withstand extremes of heat and cold.
In addition, LaCie includes the ability to scramble stored files with extremely tough 256-bit encryption software. And RuggedKey buyers get 16 gigabytes of free online data backup, provided by the company’s Wuala cloud storage service.
The extra online storage partly makes up for the price, which is considerably more than most USB drives of equal capacity. But then, how many of the others are built to take a beating?
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