If you work in tough conditions and need something a bit more rigorous than the standard USB flash drive, the Lexar JumpDrive Tough could be the ticket. Built to withstand some pretty crazy ordeals, it could be a great option for photographers who frequently work in less-than-stellar environments.
The JumpDrive Tough (which comes in 32, 64, and 128 GB options) is perfectly pleasant looking as far as flash drives go. It's black with green accents and looks modern and sleek. If appearance is a concern to you, I think you'll be perfectly happy with the tasteful design. One particular design feature that I appreciated was the graciously sized key ring slot, which makes it extremely easy to thread onto a ring or carabiner or tie a string through. For some reason, flash drive manufacturers love to make this slot tiny and a pain to work with, so I appreciated Lexar's more thoughtful approach. The drive is a bit heavier than most, but for something this size, you won't care.
This is really why you buy this drive. Check out the specs:
- Ability to withstand impacts and pressure of up to 750 PSI
- Temperature resistance of -13°F to 300°F
- Waterproof to 98 feet
As you can see, it's a seriously tough little bugger. While I don't routinely put myself in 300-degree heat, I do spend a lot of time in a horse stable, and I've seen phones get stepped on or dunked quite a bit. So, I took it to barn and put it to the test. I dropped it in water buckets, threw it into a wall, left it in the freezer for a while, and even stomped on it, and sure enough, it kept ticking just fine. The cool part was that after it was covered in a rather thick coat of dirt, I just rinsed it in the sink without a second thought. I have no doubt it'll withstand even the roughest daily lives just fine.
I was at first hesitant about the cap design, as I normally don't like those on flash drives, as they inevitably loosen and are lost forever, but the cap on the JumpDrive Tough is extremely snug (helping it form a weatherproof seal), so much so that it takes a good tug to get it off. In extended use, it hasn't loosened, and I'm perfectly fine with the design now.
With capacities of 32, 64, and 128 GB, a USB 3.1 interface, PC And Mac compatibility, and 256-bit AES encryption (via EncryptStick Lite software), it's a very modern flash drive. It's rated for 150 MB/s read speed and 60 MB/s write. In practice, here's what I found:
Write of folder of 81 raw and JPEG files (2.49 GB), three-trial average: 36.52 MB/s (68.18 s)
Write of one 1.79-GB file, three-trial average: 58.32 MB/s (30.69 s)
Read of folder of 81 raw and JPEG files (2.49 GB), three-trial average: 102.31 MB/s (24.33 s)
Read of one 1.79-GB file, three-trial average: 108.14 MB/s (16.55 s)
Overall, performance was about what I expected and comparable to most flash drives, being perfectly acceptable, especially considering the rugged protection you get with the drive. The drive did get quite hot to the touch after usage, though this is not unheard of with flash drives.
What I Liked
- Three-year warranty
- Pleasing design
- Extremely durable design weathers most any environment
- Easy to attach to a key ring or carabiner
What I Didn't Like
- Drive gets very warm during usage
Altogether, the JumpDrive Tough USB 3.1 flash drive is an excellent option for those who need a bit more protection of their data, both inside and out. At $19.95 for the 32 GB version, $24.99 for the 64 GB version, and $44.95 for the 128 GB version, it's a reasonable price as well. Get yours here.