Kingston’s 8GB DataTraveler Style forgoes the dull and drab look of most flash drives by letting users personalize it to the hilt. It’s far from the fastest USB stick on the block, but it offers plenty of storage for a good price and will stand out in the crowd.
The DataTraveler Style comes with six fashionable skins: Bamboo, Lace, Redhead Mosaic, Retro, Sunflower, and Tangerine Dream. Those choices don’t do it for you? Kingston lets style-conscious geeks upload images (479 x 165 pixels) that they can print out and insert under the DataTraveler Style’s transparent skin cover.
A slide-out USB connector guarantees you won’t have to scramble for lost caps, and an included lanyard means you can keep the drive on your person at all times. But the beauty of the Kingston DataTraveler Style is only skin-deep. We weren’t keen on the plastic shell, as it feels as if it would crack under pressure, even if it is backed by a very nice five-year warranty.
Transfer speeds—both read and write—were among the lowest of flash drives we’ve recently reviewed. We wrote a 1GB folder of mixed media to the DataTraveler Style in 3 minutes and 4 seconds, which translated into a poky transfer rate of 5.6 MBps. While not nearly as bad as the 4.3 MBps from the Transcend JetFlash V10, it’s not great. A HD Tach 3 test revealed that the DataTraveler Style reads data at an equally abysmal 13.1 MBps, half the speed of the SanDisk Cruzer Titanium Plus. The OS-agnostic DataTraveler Style is compatible with the Linux 2.4, Mac OS X, Windows 2000 (Service Pack 3 and above), XP (Service Pack 1 and above), and Vista, so regardless of your operating system you can exchange data without any hassles, albeit slowly.
The DataTraveler Style is a decent choice for anyone looking to express their creative side with a thumb drive. But while we like that this drive is compatible across multiple platforms, its mediocre performance left us wanting more.