At a Glance
- Inexpensive U3 flash drive with “lock” function
- Solid metal housing with a recessed USB plug
- Security is not the dominant feature
- Finding the settings is somewhat difficult
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.