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SanDisk Cruzer Titanium w/ Windows Readyboost review: SanDisk Cruzer Titanium w/ Windows Readyboost

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MSRP: $64.99

The Good Syncs with Outlook; comes preloaded with password protection and backup utilities; extremely durable.

The Bad None.

The Bottom Line SanDisk's Cruzer Titanium delivers a trinity of useful utilities and superior durability at a competitive price per megabyte.

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9.0 Overall

Besides lending it a dash of style, the SanDisk Cruzer Titanium's "titanium-coated metal casing" gives it an exceptionally high degree of durability. SanDisk says this USB flash drive is "virtually indestructible" and is "capable of surviving a force of up to 2,000 pounds." We couldn't track down a 2,000-pound weight to drop on it to test this claim, but we stomped on it, tried to crack it in half, and chucked it really hard at a wall. The drive and its contents survived wholly undisturbed, and we concede that the Cruzer Titanium is certainly among the sturdiest USB flash drives around. It's not exactly the smallest, however, measuring just less than 3 inches long, about 0.75 inches wide, and a touch more than 0.25 inches thick. Still, it's not so big that it would obstruct neighboring USB ports on the back of most PCs. If you're inclined to sacrifice durability for sheer smallness, check out the Lilliputian Iomega Micro Mini.

The Cruzer Titanium comes preloaded with three nice applications. CruzerSync syncs up with Outlook (but not Outlook Express) and loads compressed versions of your e-mail messages (with or without attachments), plus contacts and other Outlook-related debris onto the drive so that you can access it wherever you plug in. And before you load your data onto the drive, it'll project how much space it will eat up in doing so. Also included are CruzerLock, a competent password-protection and encryption utility, and CruzerCache, which lets you back up your PC's files on the Cruzer Titanium.

The Cruzer Titanium supports most recent versions of the Windows and Mac operating systems. The drive's USB interface slides out from inside the case, and when you plug it into your PC's USB slot, the drive glows blue, and the blue light flickers during file transfers. SanDisk claims that the Cruzer Titanium is capable of 15MB-per-second read and 13MB-per-second write speeds. While we did not test its transfer speeds (throughput isn't a highly significant issue with drive capacities less than 1GB), we found the drive to be very fast. Note that although the Cruzer Titanium will work with a USB 1.1 connection, you'll need a USB 2.0 port to take advantage of its full speed potential.

As of June 2004, SanDisk offers only a 512MB Cruzer Titanium, although the company does sell the Cruzer Mini and the Cruzer Micro in smaller capacities. We found the drive selling online for about $150, or about 29 cents per megabyte, which is very inexpensive.

Go to CNET's look at USB flash drives.

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