One major category of cool office supplies that I’ve been neglecting are office electronics, so when I recently filled my old USB flash drive to capacity, I thought it would be a good opportunity to review whatever new one I decided to pick up. I remembered seeing these LaCie iamaKey flash drives somewhere a few months ago and I liked the idea, so I decided I would give one a try. Lucky for me, a friend of mine that I have been helping with a project wanted to get me a small gift to say thanks, and he knew I was looking at this flash drive, so technically I didn’t pay for this, but it also was not given to me by the manufacturer for review.
Obviously the thing that sets this LaCie USB flash drive apart from others is the unique design, which as you can see is intended to look and feel like a regular car or door key. The entire body of the flash drive is made of a sturdy light weight metal that is almost exactly the same thickness, width, and length of a regular house key. At the tip of the key where you would insert it into the USB port of your computer, it is covered by a small protective plastic cap with two small nubs on the inside of it that latch onto two corresponding indentations on the stem of the key to hold the cap in place, and protect the connectors. The only real visible difference between this LaCie flash drive and an actual key is that the flash drive doesn’t have any teeth cut into it. The LaCie iamaKey USB Flash Drives are available from Amazon.com in 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB, and 32 GB capacities, and the version I am reviewing here is the 8 GB.
When it comes to performance, this USB 2.0 Flash drive transfers data fairly quickly, however I am still used to my old USB 1.0 Flash Drive so I might just be thrilled with that difference. In terms of the specific transfer time, I ended up being able to write 1GB of data in 7 minutes and 15 seconds. The LaCie website lists the actual data transfer speeds as up to 30 MB/s in read mode; and up to 10MB/s in write mode. Personally I don’t usually care too much about these benchmarks because for the most part, when I use a flash drive like this, Im not doing huge file transfers, I typically just back up or move a few small files or pictures at a time. Unless your are Michael Westen or Jack Bauer, I don’t think an extra few seconds to transfer a file will end up getting you killed. One thing that I notice that LaCie iamaKey drive does not have is a small LED activity light that most other flash drives have. I dont mind the lack of the light, I think it helps keep the key looking as innocuous as possible, and I don’t usually rely on the light anyway. The drives are compatible with both PCs and Macs, and is Windows ReadyBoost compatible as well.
In the above photo you can see the LaCie Flash Drive in comparison to some other house keys and a car key, and it looks pretty natural on the key ring with the others. One of the important things to note is that the flash drive is made of water and scratch resistant materials, so you shouldn’t have to worry about the normal day-to-day abuse that your keys will take having an impact on your flash drive. I’ve been carrying this around for a few days now, and it feels very natural on my key chain, and it seems to be holding up well in and out of my pocket. At first I was worried about the plastic cap, and although I have not taken it on and off a ton of times, it appears to be well made and is not showing any signs of failing to latch on properly yet.
When you are using the LaCie Flash Drive on your key chain, one thing you want to be careful about is making sure that you don’t load up too many keys on your key ring before you stick it in your computer. In my situation, I only have a few keys on the key chain, so I am able to lay this pretty flat, parallel to my laptop. If I had a giant ring full of keys it might present itself at an awkward angle and put undue pressure or force on the USB port or the flash drive itself. Also, if you are putting this into a desktop PC, a key chain loaded up with keys would probably put a lot of weight on your USB port and on the key itself as it hung there, which I cant imagine being a positive situation over time.
The last thing to note that I read in other reviews of this product is that although it does have a 2 year manufacturers warranty, you need to supply the serial number to process a warranty claim. Now normally that wouldn’t be a problem you might think, BUT in the case of the LaCie iamaKey USB Flash Drives, the serial number is actually not on the device itself, but on the back of the package that it comes in and also on a card slipped inside of the packaging. This isn’t a big deal for me because I don’t mind filing the card away for future reference, but hopefully I wont need it since LaCie is well known for producing high quality products.
I’m looking forward to doing some more office electronics reviews in the future, but I definitely will be focusing on keeping a good mix of the other types of standard home office supply reviews that I hope you have all been enjoying. Either way though, let me know your thoughts on mixing in some of these types of products going forward, but keep in mind this could mean giveaways of these types of items too. 😉