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LaCie FastKey review:

LaCie FastKey

One of these applications is LaCie Private-Public, which allows you to pick a password and format part of the FastKey's existing storage space into a separate partition that's protected with AES 256-bit encryption. You can choose how large this new partition is as long as it's smaller than the existing La-Public partition. This process takes a much longer time than the initial setup, about an hour for a partition of 100GB. After that, a new partition with the default name "La-Private" is created. You now can use both the "La-Public" and "La-Private" partitions at the same time, with the latter requiring the password you created earlier before you can access it.

The FastKey's setup and encryption applications work with both Macs and PCs. It also comes with LaCie Turbo USB 3.0 Utilities for Windows only, which is supposed to boost the drive's USB 3.0 performance. However, in our trials the software made no noticeable difference.

Apart from that, the FastKey includes a two-year, 4GB subscription to Wuala online backup.

The LaCie FastKey USB flash drive performed well in our testing, though it's not the fastest drive we've seen among external portable drives, both with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.

In tests with USB 3.0, the drive scored 87.1MBps in writing and 115.5MBps in reading. The former is about the average on our charts of USB 3.0 external hard drives while the latter is the fastest we've seen.

When used with USB 2.0, the FastKey registered 28.8MBps in writing, putting it in the top three of the external hard drives we've reviewed. In reading, it did a little worse comparatively at 36.6MBps, which is slightly lower than the average.

All in all, we were happy with the FastKey's performance, especially considering its compact size. Viewed as a thumbdrive, it would be by far the fastest we've ever seen.

CNET Labs external hard drive USB 3.0 performance scores (in MB per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

CNET Labs USB 2.0 external hard drive performance scores (in MB per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Service and support
As with other LaCie storage devices, such as the Network Space 2 or the Minimus USB 3.0, LaCie backs the FastKey with a two-year warranty, which is shorter than the three- or five-year warranties that other hard-drive vendors offer. And for external hard drives, the warranty time is the most important factor in service and support, as you likely won't need much of other types of help. LaCie's telephone support is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT. At LaCie's Web site, you can download software that accompanies the device. There you'll also find its GPL source code, and you can access documentation, a knowledge base, FAQs, and other ways to contact LaCie.

What you'll pay

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