When it comes to USB drives, heed this warning: They are very easy to lose. But the $210 Patriot Memory Supersonic's USB 3.0 performance is so shockingly fast that you'll likely end up treating this small 64GB device like a precious jewel.
The hard aluminum casing of the Patriot Memory Supersonic feels solid, but it's not as durable as the Imation Defender F200. Still, Patriot says it can survive shocks up to 15Gs. The 0.56-ounce drive is not designed to catch your eye but to serve a purpose: to make every backup and file transfer run much faster. Measuring 2.8 inches long, the Supersonic is noticeable when plugged into a laptop USB port, but it's not as obtrusive as the F200. The drive comes in two versions--the 64GB model we tested, and a 32GB version. We just wish that the design had a slide-out USB plug; you'll definitely want to make sure you don't lose the cap.
Using a USB 3.0 port on a Samsung RF510, we copied a 5GB folder of media files and docs to the drive in just 2 minutes and 4 seconds, a rate of 41.3 MBps. The second fastest drive, the USB 2.0 Imation Defender, took nearly three times as long--5:46, which translates to 14.8MBps. Even when we used the Patriot drive in a USB 2.0 port, we still saw a fast transfer speed of 4:44, or 18 MBps.
When we copied files back to the Samsung laptop using the USB 3.0 port, the Patriot took only 55 seconds, for a blazing write speed of 93.1MBps. That's about four times as fast as the next fastest drive, the USB 2.0 Lexar Echo MX, which took 3:30, a rate of 24.4 MBps.
We used the drive in a few extra devices, including a Sony PlayStation 3. In copying several photos, the drive worked flawlessly. Unfortunately, Patriot doesn't include any backup software, but we performed a backup using Windows 7's built-in tools without any trouble.
On a per-GB basis, the Patriot drive is very affordable. The 64GB model costs $210, which comes out to $3.30 per GB (a 32GB version costs $112). By comparison, the Echo MX (128GB, $500) costs $3.90 per GB, and the Imation Defender costs $269 for just 16GB, a whopping $16.80 per GB. Of course, the Echo MX has a digital capacity meter and the Imation has a fingerprint reader, so you're paying extra for those features.
For those who only need a durable drive that can transfer data at blazing speeds, the 64GB Patriot Memory Supersonic is a great device. While we wish Patriot included backup software, the performance and price can't be beat.