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Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate GT review: Fast and capacious but too expensive to be practical

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The Good The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate GT flash drive has unprecedentedly high capacity and fast copy speed. The drive is rugged and includes a five-year warranty.

The Bad The drive is expensive and too bulky to fit directly in most USB ports. It doesn't have a USB-C connector and doesn't support encryption to protect data in case of theft or loss.

The Bottom Line Kingston's DataTraveler Ultimate GT is a fast thumb drive with cavernous storage, but it doesn't justify its outrageous, over-the-top price.

6.4 Overall
  • Setup 7
  • Features 4
  • Performance 8

The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate GT is more of a statement than a practical storage device. For the first time, a thumb drive -- a little storage device you normally get for a few bucks and plug directly into your computer -- has more storage space than most computers and costs $1,000 or more.

Indeed, the GT is available in the US in 2TB and 1TB capacities, which currently go for about $1,600 and $1,000. It's not yet available in the UK or Australia, but those prices convert to around £1,300 and £825, or AU$2,125 and AU$1,330, respectively.

To put things in perspective, the highest capacity iPhone 7 Plus has just 256GB of storage -- about a quarter of 1TB -- but the phone costs just $969. There are also high-capacity ultraportable hard drives, like the Samsung T3 or the Glyph Atom, which are themselves considered expensive, yet they still cost much less than this Kingston memory stick.

In short, despite its high capacity and fast performance, if you pay full price for the GT, I'd think you're crazy. Other than that, you'll probably love it.

kingstongt-10.jpg

The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate GT is much larger than a typical thumb drive.

Dong Ngo/CNET

The bulkiest little drive

Calling the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate GT a thumb drive is a bit of a stretch. Though it looks and works like one, it's much larger than you'd imagine. Literally, it's about the width of my big toe but twice as long. Overall it's about three to five times the overall size of a typical USB thumb drive, or roughly the same total volume as those compact, portable hard drives I mentioned from Samsung and Glyph.

The GT is so bulky that if you plug it directly into a thin laptop sitting on a desk, the drive's girth will lift the laptop off of the desk surface. And on a desktop, it will definitely block adjacent USB ports. To make sure you can use it everywhere, Kingston includes an extension USB cable with it, which defeats its purpose of a convenient storage device that you can just plug right in.

Kingston also includes a little pouch with the GT that you will likely need. This is because it doesn't have a hook for you to attach to a key ring, like many other thumb driveshave, which would be a bad idea anyway since the drive is rather heavy.

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