Flash Memory has come along way since it's beginnings in the market. The natural evolution was of course a lowering of prices and increase in capacity. These days, a 2GB USB drive is dirt cheap and smaller in size than an old 16mb drive by half at least.
The next logical progression then was to design unique and interesting ways of packaging and/or the drive enclosures design to attract the consumer. Extra features like biometric scanners are not uncommon but what interests me the most is the differing designs out there to make using and transporting a flash drive easier. Flip top lids, key-chains, watches, or aesthetically pleasing designs have given us a plethora of shapes and colours to choose from. Go forth and accessorize people.
|55mm x 20mm x 8mm
|128MB, 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2GB
have entered this arena with their geek gangsta, military themed , which not only contain one of the smallest USB drives on the market, but also an LED torch and mini tool kit for those
road LAN side repairs. From the minute I saw these on the , I just had to get a closer look at the cool looking . Let's see if I was dissapointed or impressed.
Considering the usual Cyber Snipa packaging, the Dog Tags box is actually quite tame. This isn't a bad thing, and the box gives you all the pertinent information you could need along with a view of the main items; the Dog Tags.
Included in the box are a pair of Dog Tags (1 Tool kit and 1 USB Drive), a USB Extension Cable, ball chain, mini CD with drivers (Win98/ME) and Flash Manager Software. Also included is a manual, although if you've ever had a pocket Swiss knife and a USB drive of some kind before, you wont find these tags hard to get to grips with. The stars of the show are of course, the Dog Tags themselves but the extras included are certainly welcome and make the overall package a very complete one. Just to make it clear, the White CD in the pictures is just to give you an idea of scale.
The first tag we'll look at houses the pull out USB drive. Cyber Snipa have sent us the 512MB version for testing but all the capacities are the same in appearance. The tag surround is the same rubberised plastic they use for their mouse construction and like the dog tags they are inspired by, the central area face is formed of aluminium. The Cyber Snipa logo is imprinted on one side with a unique ID number imprinted on the other. Access to the drive itself is not difficult; simply pull the drive out of the tag housing.
The drive itself is only one and half times the size of the USB interface it connects with, making it easily one of the smallest drives on the market today. The drive contains a red status light visible through the translucent dark plastic of the drive; a steady light indicates power, while rapidly blinking indicates drive activity.
Supplied on the mini CD are a driver setup program for Win98/ME systems and also the Flash Manager Software. With this software you can format the device for differing purposes. A simple storage device, a passworded storage device and a boot drive for those with capable motherboards. Just as an FYI, Vista's ReadyBoost works fine with the drive as well.
The second tag is a little heavier than the first, but is still very light in itself and is styled in matching military style; rubberised plastic outer edge with imprinted aluminium face. This tag has the web address for Cyber Snipa imprinted on one side, while the other has a singular black button to activate the white LED torch built in. The torch runs on two AG3 size batteries (housed in the area below the button) so no worries about the torch running out of power and not being able to get it working again.
The tools start with a pair of pliers. Naturally, considering the size of the tags, the pliers are small so don't expect to be doing any major repairs with them, but simple operations such as jumper/chip pulling are certainly possible. On the other side we have a bottle opener and cross head screwdriver, while the third tool incorporates a file and flat head screwdriver. Should be enough for a quick LAN repair.
Obviously, the only real testing we can display is the transfer times of the USB drive so I gathered together some small files (MP3's and Music Videos) and rar'd them up into a singular file. The Small Files test consisted of transferring the files to the drive before compression (Size 128MB); the Large File test consisted of transferring the same files to the drive in singular RAR format file (Size 125MB). In both cases, the transfer times were taken 3 times and an average established from those times. Times were gathered with a stopwatch, so a small margin of error is expected.
Time in Seconds, lower is better
I was actually quite surprised by the transfer times, with the Cyber Snipa drive coming out quite a few seconds ahead of the others tested including the Mushkin drive, a drive that is no slouch in it's own right. Just to make it clear, this is a USB 2.0 Device and is of course backwards compatible with USB 1.1. But even including the error margin of using a stopwatch, those times are fast for a USB 2.0 Flash Drive.
Ok, I admit it; I won't be wearing these with the supplied chain around my neck. I'm just not gangsta nuff yo. But they will be going on to my keys and replacing my current M-Systems Disk-on-key device as my permanent carry devices. I think the design and idea of the is very cool and great fun. Regulars will know I like gimmicky gadgets, but only if the gimmick is not at the expense of function and these Cyber Snipa Dog Tags are a functional accessory.
The First tag houses one of the smallest and fastest USB flash drives we have come across. Capacities range from 128MB to 2GB, but hopefully Cyber Snipa might consider larger sizes in the future (if possible). The second contains a battery powered (batteries included and replaceable) LED Torch which accompanied with the Swiss Army Knife style tools should be good enough for minor PC tinkering when you don't need or want a larger tool set. Both tags are military styled with a rubberised surround and aluminium faces and imprinted with Cyber Snipa logos. They are light in weight, small in size and can be hung from the neck with the supplied chain. Cyber Snipa include management software for flash drives and a USB extension cable; in short pretty much everything you could need for your USB drive.
I love these tags; I think they are a great addition to the Cyber Snipa line-up. A functional set of devices with a bit of gaming fun thrown in. We don't have a suitable award for them, but if we had a Viperlair Cool Devices award, the Cyber Snipa Dog Tags would win it for sure. If these Dog Tags have caught your eye, go get some; you won't be sorry. Since we don't have a Cool Award, and since the only negative would a subjective one (you either like the idea/style or you don't), I'm going to award the our highest honour.
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