We're a big fan of USB keys for their convenience, small form factor, and price per gigabyte. They're a quick, simple way to transport data through a connection that can be found on every modern computer, but what happens when companies take an already good idea and add extra features? This is exactly the case with the
Sandisk partnered with BeInSync to build their automatic online backup software into the $50 Cruzer Titanium Plus, so every time you plug the key into a computer with an Internet connection, all of your data is scanned and copied onto a remote server that can be accessed using a user-specified name and password. All data is secured using 256-bit SSL encryption and is available for download at any time. To save room, BeInSync compresses all information into .zip files. The first six months are free, but a renewal will set you back $29 per year.
We're always wary of added functions that require annual subscription fees to continue service, especially ones that are provided by a third party. The data that lives on a USB key usually only lasts until you get home to your desktop computer anyway, so is there really a legitimate need for online backups? It seems pretty redundant. The key is already expensive at $50, but the idea that Sandisk wants an extra $30 a year for this unnecessary service pushes the Cruzer's value over the ledge.
Have you ever heard the adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" Check out our