Flash drives have become the de facto standard for portable data storage and are the one responsible for driving the floppy disk to extinction. If you work with a computer, chances are good you own one if not a lot of these little devices. Unfortunately not all of us are as careful with our flash drives as we are to our graphics cards or high-end smartphones. You’ve probably dropped, stepped, flung, smacked and crushed your flash drives to their demise only to loose valuable information in the process. Today we have the Kingston DataTraveler R400 USB flash drive. A contender in the rugged, portable storage market, it promises survival against wear and shock from everyday use. Let’s see if its endurance and performance is as flashy as its appearance. Let’s make this showy!
Kingston Technology Inc. has been around for a long time now and is well-established in the local Philippines market. With products ranging from desktop memory modules, USB flash drives and more recently solid-state drives, Kingston has a good line-up of products and chances are good you have one of them with you now. Today we have the DataTraveler R400, a black and red rubber-coated USB flash drive with capacities ranging from 4GB up to 32GB. We have the 8GB model in our bench which is rated for 25MB/10MB per second read/write speed. We’ll be testing this claim as well as putting our subject into an endurance test to see how tough it really is. Here’s a quick-spec on the R400:
- High Speed â€” 8GB, 16GB, 32GB: 25MB/s Read and 10MB/s Write 4GB: 15MB/s Read and 8MB/s Write
- Durable â€“ rubber casing provides increased protection to the drive
- Strong â€“ shock-resistant
- Capacities â€” 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
- Dimensions â€” 2.76″ x 0.89″ x 0.49″ (70mm x 22.68mm x 12.40mm)
- Operating Temperature â€” 32Â°F to 140Â°F (0Â°C to 60Â°C)
- Storage Temperature â€” -4Â°F to 185Â°F (-20Â°C to 85Â°C)
- Simple â€” just plug into a USB port
- Bold Look â€” black with red
- Guarantee â€” five-year warranty
Kingston packages the DataTraveler R400 in their signature blister packaging showcasing the product itself with the Kingston RedHead logo prominently printed in the background. We can see that these device is a USB2.0 device with a rating of 25MB/10MB per second read/write speed. Below the product itself is the Kingston 5-year warranty which is a very sweet deal.
Nothing much on the back of the package except for serial tag and compatibility and feature list. Time to open up this baby. Opening up the packaging, there isn’t much there aside from the product itself. Don’t expect anything else.
The R400 flash drive is around 3 inches long with the cap on, bigger than typical flash drives and more so today with flash drives getting smaller and smaller. The main reason for this is the rubber armor covering the R400. Its firm but very strong. The cap itself is made entirely of rubber and connects to the opposite end of the R400 for convenience. Yeah there’s a tendency you’ll lose the cap sooner or later and I see room for improvement in that area. A hole is provided at the other end for a chain or string if you so prefer. Design-wise, the red and black color scheme is very aggressive and has a certain look that appeals to everyone. Pardon the photographs, but they do not do justice to the R400’s actual color.
For this test we use an HP Proliant ML350 G5 with two 72GB SAS drives in RAID-0. A combination of HD Tune, HD Tach and Crystal SSD were used to test-out the R400’s capabilities.
In the the packaging, it clearly states that the R400 is rated at 25MB/s read speed. Judging from our final run of HD Tach, we see Kingston spot-on with their advertised performance and looking at the peak speed, we’re getting more than that. We can also see from the graph that we don’t get any huge drops in performance and the R400 hovers at a consistent read pace which is good.
Here is the R400 compared to Kingston’s other readily available product, the 101 G2. This is just for comparison and both product target different markets.
Using Crystal DiskMark, we average out 3 runs of tests and see what we get for write performance. Noticing the write portion of the test, we see Kingston’s been a bit modest with their rating for write speed. We get around 16MB/s write performance for the sequential test. Getting down to 512K and small file performance we see a massive drop in numbers which is understandable for a USB flash device. All in all we’re looking at pretty decent (and very honest) numbers from Kingston’s R400. Nothing spectacular about its performance but what we’re really interested in is its other trait: its durability. Next up, we pound this baby physically and see how it stands up to physical torture.
Disclaimer: Back2Gaming and Kingston Technology Inc. do not encourage the following activities. These are for demonstration and testing purposes only so don’t go blaming us if you break your drive by dropping weights on it. Have a nice day!
Seeing as this drive is intended for people with more extreme inclinations than the typical user, we’ve taken the liberty of putting the R400 through a couple of tests just to see what happens.
Here’s a pretty normal scenario: a flash drive beneath two 5lbs dumbbell plates. Looks like it can survive that.
Increasing our weight to 20lbs, we place the plate vertically on the R400. With all that weight concentrated on such a small area, you can see in the picture the rubber body giving in to the weight but by only so little.
Finally we take the R400 for a quick bath. We dunk the flash drive in the sink and let it sit there for 20 minutes just to see if its water-tight. Not drying it off we head over to the desktop and plug the baby in, and still after all that torture it still works and holds all the data I’ve saved on it. Pretty tough huh, I’d have it ran over by a car and shocked with 100,000v from a TV plyback but I’d save that for something big in the future.
As a regular flash drive, the R400 is just like any other drive with good performance. It puts up decent numbers in both read/write performance and with solid capacity ranges, it can hold a decent amount of data which is a good thing. As for overall looks, its aggressive red and black body with the distinct flash drive shape gives it a feel of the classic flash drive with a modern feel. The rubber body adds to that solid feeling which is the main feature of this flash drive. This drive is a tough and made to endure punishment and it still went on ticking after what we did to it.
Kingston made sure this drive still sees the light of day after enduring physical abuse. If you are an outdoors person, an athlete, or just someone who happens to bang his flash drive a lot and you need to secure date from physical harm then this is your drive. Priced at Php650, Php950 and Php2100 for the 8GB,16GB and 32GB models these are competitively priced portable storage solutions and we give it our highest recommendations.