capsule review

SanDisk Cruzer Contour Secure USB Flash Drive

At a Glance
  • SanDisk 4GB Cruzer Contour U3 USB Flash Drive

    PCWorld Rating
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    on Amazon

    This U3 drive can take a licking and still maintain your data, but it lacks high-end encryption.

In our recent look at eight encrypted portable drives, we considered two USB flash drives, including SanDisk's Cruzer Contour.  

The Cruzer Contour ($100 for 16GB) isn't so much a security tool as it is a speedy flash-memory thumb drive with a nifty mechanism to retract the USB connector: The piece recesses inside a sliding cover that you can manipulate with just your thumb. Inside, it's a high-performance U3 drive with all the benefits: the ability to run programs from the drive itself, a feature that stores your documents on the drive automatically, and the U3 Launchpad, a clone of the Start menu for the drive's installed applications.

In the Launchpad menu is the check box to "lock" the AES-encrypted user-writable portion of the drive with a password. While the protection isn't enabled by default, it can put a password between anyone who finds your lost drive and your files. As long as the NSA isn't after your data, this setup will probably provide enough security for casual use.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating
    View
    on Amazon

    This U3 drive can take a licking and still maintain your data, but it lacks high-end encryption.

    Pros

    • Inexpensive U3 flash drive with "lock" function
    • Solid metal housing with a recessed USB plug

    Cons

    • Security is not the dominant feature
    • Finding the settings is somewhat difficult
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