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Review: Kanguru eSATA flash drive provides blazing speed

This flash drive offers faster speed at a reasonable price

December 23, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Last month, Kanguru Solutions announced the first USB flash drive that also offers External Serial ATA (eSATA) connectivity. This month, OCZ Technology Inc. also announced an eSATA-enabled flash drive with up to 32GB capacity, as did Advanced Media Inc.'s Ridata-brand.

So it seems this is a trend. The question is, why? Kanguru's answer is that you can have blazing fast data transfer on your home system, then pocket the device and plug it in anywhere using the USB port. Kanguru's eFlash drive, with its eSATA 3Gbit/sec. throughput, potentially offers five to six times the speed of USB 2.0, which is 480Mbit/sec. The key word here is, potentially.

By using eSATA's 3Gbit/sec. throughput, Kanguru said the drive potentially boosts throughput by five times from 480Mbit/sec.
Kanguru's 32GB e-Flash drive

Dave Bresnick, senior product manager of the Kanguru e-Flash drive, said the drive would realistically offer read speeds of 75MB/sec. compared to USB 2.0's 30MB/sec. and write speeds of 25MB/sec., up from USB's 20MB/sec. He wasn't kidding.

I tested the Kanguru drive using Simpli Software's HD Tach 3.0 and by transferring 4GB of data from my hard drive. Because my ThinkPad laptop doesn't have a native eSATA port, as all but the latest computers today do not, I was forced to use a 34mm ExpressCard adapter.

Kanguru's e-Flash drive comes in a 16GB version for $84.95, with the 32GB model selling for $119.95; I tested the 32GB version. It's really not very expensive considering the capacity. The company expects to release a 64GB model in the next three months.

Kanguru's eSATA flash drive is a nice shape and size, about the same dimensions as a pack of gum, but only half as thick. It also has a sleek black finish. One cool feature is that when transferring data to or from the drive, the eSATA connector emits a red band of light and the USB side glows blue.

The one thing that immediately turned me off about the drive was the end caps covering the eSATA and USB connectors. I found them flimsy, and the eSATA cap has a lanyard protruding through it, which I guess keeps you from losing one of the caps, but also makes it somewhat awkward when trying to plug it into the laptop. Kanguru, however, assured me that they are correcting that "design flaw" and will be removing the lanyard from the cap and body and reinforcing the cap as well.

My first test of the drive involved transferring a big, ugly 4GB folder consisting of 1,653 files with 85 JPEG photos and a dozen short videos. The data transfer using the eSATA port took 10 minutes, 4 seconds; using the USB port, it took exactly 15 minutes.

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