I write this now looking at a fallen comrade. He has long been in my life. Always there for those small jobs. Easy to use, he was a staple for life everyday. Sure he wasn't the most reliable, and could only handle small jobs but he has always been there. And now he is gone. Let's all have a moment of silence for my fallen floppy drive. I have to let him go, I just need more space and reliability. That is exactly what USB flash drives have been offering their users for the last couple of years. Now I never really jumped on board the USB flash drive market. It never really seemed necessary, added to that they were usually slow. With the introduction of USB 2.0, speeds did definitely change for the better. And now that memory is so cheaper, the larger more useable drives are finally in my reach.
When I saw the Shikatronics Manhattan Edition USB 2.0 drive I was quite amazed. Featuring capacity ranges from 64MB up to 1GB, USB 2.0 speeds, and an aluminum chassis with leather accents. These drives definitely were quite a package. I picked up the middle of the road model, with 256MB storage. So let's take a closer look.
· Temperature Operating 0c to 85c
· Non-Operating -40c to 125c
· Vibration Operating 0.2G
· Non-Operating 15G
· Shock resistant Operating 150G
· Non-Operating 1000G
· System Performance
· Interface burst transfer rate
· MTBF(@25c) 1,000,000 hours
· Power Requirement
· Voltage DC 3.3/5V ± 10%
Shikatronics USB 2.0 Flash Drive Manhattan Edition
The Shikatronics USB Flash Drive comes packaged in a clear colorful plastic package. The package displays the Manhattan Edition drive in all it's glory. It also shows some specifications and features of the device. Included in the package is the Flash Drive , a USB 2.0 extension cable, neck strap, instruction manual and a driver CD for Windows 98 systems. Note that any OS newer than 98 will automatically recognize the device and load the appropriate drivers.
Once out of the package (which is easier to open than it looks) here are some shots of the actual drive. Unlike most of its counterparts, the Manhattan drive is very stylish. The main chassis is made from aluminum, giving it a slight glimmer and sense of durability. The accents and cover strap are made from leather. The memory size of the drive is embossed into the leather on the front of the drive. The lid is also made of aluminum and held in place by a leather strap that wraps over the top of it. The drive itself is about 3.5” long and about an inch wide. Width wise it does fit along side another USB port. The cable on the other port is pushed slightly to the side, but nothing extreme.
Shikatronics includes some interesting software with the Manhattan drive. The main piece of software is UStorage. UStorage is the partitioning software that should be used with the drive. It allows for multiple partition setups including a public partition, password protected private partition and a mixture of both. UStorage also allows you to turn the drive into a USB bootable device. Supporting either the USB Zip drive or USB Hard drive specifications. Also included with the drive is Flash Mail, which is a simple email program for the person on the go. PCLock is also included. PCLock allows you to lock access to the mouse and keyboard if the USB drive is removed. This does not protect against reboots, but should turn the simple minded hacker away. Secret Zip is the final piece of software, which allows protection of zip files unless the drive is inserted into the computer.
Testing was performed on the following system:
ASUS A7N8X-Deluxe Rev 2.0
AMD Athlon 1700+ @ 12.5x170
1024MB Corsair PC4000
Seagate 200GB SATA
Windows XP Professional SP2
Testing was performed using HD Tach 3 and Sisoft Sandra 2004 Professional's Removable Media benchmarks. Shown below are the results.
As you can see the Manhattan drive did quite well. It slightly beat the shown competition from the Sisoft results and showed a solid 8.1MB/s in the HD Tach tests. In real world use I found the Shikatronics Manhattan drive to be fast enough. It definitely was quick enough to transfer small to medium files to it when in a rush.
Shikatronics have released an excellent USB flash drive. The exterior of the product is quite impressive if you're into the Calvin Klein look. The durable aluminum shell not only looks good, but protects the drive from those bumps and scraps in your pocket. The leather accents give it that high class look, making it look even better. Overall size of the unit was good, it was far from being tiny, but the size was not too big. Width wise, fitting multiple ones into side-by-side USB ports should not be a problem. The only thing missing from the exterior was a manual write-protect switch, but the included software made up for that.
Performance wise the Manhattan drive was good. A solid 8.1MB/s in our testing is an excellent score for a USB flash drive. In real world use I found the drive to be perfect for the person on the go. I often have to grab a program of file off my computer while I am running out the door on the way to work. The Manhattan drive allowed me to do this and more.
Pros: Awesome looks, good performance, durable shell, included software.
Cons: A bit big, no external write-protect switch.
Overall: The Shikatronics USB 2.0 Flash Drive Manhattan Edition is an excellent product. Stunning looks and great performance outweigh the slightly larger size. This will be an excellent addition to anyone's mobile suite.
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