I’ve been in search of a more durable USB key for a while now. It seems the only USB key stocked in local stores is the SanDisk Cruzer USB key with the slide-out drive (pictured below). The drive works fine, it’s affordable, and the slide mechanism keeps the drive compact. Besides coming with the dreaded U3 software, my only other complaint about the drive is its flimsy little key ring. I’ve gone through a few of these Cruzers because the key ring gives way and it won’t stay on my key chain, where I keep a few other tools handy.
Frustrated with only a single option locally (or worse ideas, like the keyring on the drive’s cap), I shopped around on Amazon to find some options. I eventually settled on the LaCie Iamakey Flash drive (AMA?). I liked its slim, fixed approach that should also hold fast to a key chain with solid metal.
Another USB drive that I looked at, also from LaCie, is called the CooKey. It follows the same recipe with its slim, one-piece body and I’m sure it would have been fine but out of the two, I went with the Iamakey.
I ordered the 16GB Iamakey and received it shortly after. I’m used to SanDisk’s U3 and other junk on the drive, so I immediately inspected the contents of what came with it. You get 4GB of free storage “in the cloud” with LaCie’s Wuala service.
The drive has a good heft to it with a very solid feel. It’s comparable in size to the retracted SanDisk USB key and seems like it will last on my keychain much longer. The only weak point is the simple plastic sleeve that slides over the 4 metal connectors at the end. It holds on very loosely with two indents. I lost it maybe the 3rd day of owning it but found it a few days later in a pants pocket. It is designed to be scratch resistant and water resistant. I imagine I’ll only be better off once I lose the plastic cap for good.
The drive fits on the keychain and though slightly larger than an actual key, it’s not nearly as bulky as some other USB drives I own thanks to its slim design.
The LaCie iamaKey drive I got is 16GB in size and also comes in an 8GB variety. It’s USB 2.0 and I suppose at this point I should have looked to get one USB 3.0 compatible but I don’t have any computers with USB 3.0 yet so it wasn’t a requirement by any means and USB 3.0 compatible drives seem to have a higher price tag. Next time I’m in the market for a USB key, it will probably be USB 3.0 compatible, larger capacity, and the prices should continue coming down. For now, and after using the iamaKey for the past few weeks, I am content with what I have on my keyring.