Picking the right USB Memory stick is a fairly simple process. There's just a few things to know about them to help you choose which cheap flash drive is best for you.
USB Memory sticks, or flash drives as they are sometimes known as are a powerful small tool thats got so many uses and pretty much everyone could find a use for one. They utilise the USB port on your laptop, PC, Printer and other devices. A Memory stick uses these ports, giving you fast access to stored data.
Memory sticks have been around for many years now. They came about to replace the old floppy disks, which people under 30 may never have seen, and never had the "pleasure" of having to use them. They were slow to upload and didn't hold much data. Modern memory sticks can now hold up to 128GB of data. A far cry from the days of old floppy disks.
Cheap Flash Drive Features
There are so many to choose from that it can get a little frustrating. There's things like storage capacity, speed of file transfer and others to look out for.
The biggest thing to look for is the size of the memory stick. We don't mean the physical size, just the size, or amount, of data it will hold. If you need it to store important pictures and not much else, then you don't necessarily need to shop for a 128GB memory stick. Unless you've got a load of pictures and plan to get more and store them all on a memory stick. This may seem a little obvious, but a larger capacity flash drive means a bigger price tag. So it's worth making sure you'll need this size of flash drive. Let's have a look at the different sizes of flash drives and see what you can do with each size.
4GB and 8GB Memory Stick If all you plan on using your flash drive for is text files then this is more than enough for your needs. Text files are very small and a cheap 4GB USB memory stick can hold hundreds of them. This also goes for a few small JPEG photos too.
16GB Flash Drive A 16GB Memory stick is good for larger pictures of a higher quality, also power point presentations with lot's of graphics and documents with chaats and tables that are quite large too. Music is another thing that a cheap 16GB memory stick can hold well. A single song isn't too big, but when you start transferring albums, they can quickly add up.
32GB Flash Drive A 32GB memory stick is what you should be looking at if you're starting to look at transferring video and lots of audio files. Also complex graphic files.
64GB and 128GB Flash Drive Really good for large high quality video and 1080p films. A 128GB will fit a few very high quality HD videos, so if this is what you are looking for in a memory stick, then we'd recommend getting one of these.
So before you buy a cheap memory stick, it's worth looking at the size of the files you want to transfer, the sizes might be in KB, MB, or GB.
File Transfer Speed on the Memory Stick
Transfer speeds are commonly shown in MB/sec or Mbps, this means megabytes per second. Basically, this is how quick the USB memory stick can transfer data from the USB flash drive to the laptop or PC and visa versa. A mid range quality cheap USB memory stick should get you a transfer speed of around 100Mbps.
USB Memory Stick Generations
Flash drives have moved on quite a bit since they first came out. Newer ones keep coming out with more storage, faster transfer speeds and newer port options. These have been put into different generations.
1.0 USB Memory Sticks These were the first flash drives to come out and you'll find it pretty hard to find one these days, and if you do, good luck with getting any use out of it.
2.0 USB Memory Sticks These vastly improved on the 1st generation and are still available now. They are capable of transfer unto 20 times faster than the older ones.
3.0 USB Memory Sticks Up to 10 times faster than it's predecessor, and a vast amount of more storage available. They can also have apple connections and micro USB connections too.
One thing to note about the different generations of flash drive. A 3.0 flash drive will still work in a 2.0 USB port, but it will only copy and transfer at the rate of a 2.0 memory stick and not 3.0. So if your laptop only has a 2nd generation USB port and you don't plan on upgrading any time soon, then there's little point in getting a 3rd generation USB memory stick.
The factors listed above are the most important ones when it comes to deciding which memory stick you want to get. But there may be a few other things you wish to take into account too. Price and durability are 2 big ones that spring to mind.
Cost of USB Memory Sticks
Prices of USB memory sticks can differ greatly between different models and generations. Shopping around is always a good way to save money, but the cheap USB Memory sticks may have some sub par components and not be put together quite as well as should be. A good way to get around this is too look at the customer reviews and see what they are saying about it. This is a good way to see if any issues have been highlighted. This is the best way to get some real value for money on a cheap flash drive.
Durability of USB Memory Sticks
If you only plan on using a memory stick in your own home or office, moving fils from one PC to another, this is something that you really don't need to worry about at all. If you will need the flash drive to transfer files out and about, you may want to see about getting a more rugged USB memory stick. You can get ones now that come in rubberised casting for maximum protection and even waterproof ones too. This may be a little OTT for most people though.
Handy to Have a Cheap USB Memory Stick Around
So as you will have seen we think it's pretty good to always have a decent quality cheap USB flash drive in your home. They have loads of uses, from data storage, to giving your friends copies of your photos and music. Plus with the size of the modern ones now, you can back up loads of data and feel safe that no one will be able to get at it.
Thanks for reading this short guide and we hope this makes it a little easier for you when shopping for your next cheap USB memory stick.