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Gold USB stick
on 2 December 2012
I'll admit I bought this purely for the looks - the GE9 is plated in a thin matt layer of 24K gold. The drive is all metal construction and with the large circular hole at the back, its easy enough to clip onto a keychain and there's little danger of it falling off. The underside is embossed with "Kingston" which helps in deciding which side is up. The USB contacts are at the other end and there is no cap to lose, you just push to insert the drive into a USB socket. After a bit of use, the gold plating at the connecter end does show a few signs of scuffing :-(
Kingston make three types of these DataTraveler drives (GE9, SE9, 109) and as far as I can tell, the innards are the same and it's only the external appearances which are different. (For a competing product, check out the Transcend T3 Gold - however, I don't like the exposed contacts on that)
GE9 - metal - gold - 8GB, 16GB
SE9 - metal - silver/champagne - 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
109 - plastic - various colours - 4GB, 8GB, 16GB
Read and write speeds (taken from expreview) suggest read speed of 19MB/s and write speed of 5MB/s which is slightly better than the average cheap USB stick. In my own measurements, when transferrng a 1GB file to and from the stick, I achieved speeds of 15MB/s for read and 3MB/s for writes. Part of the reason for the discrepancy might be that I have both disk encryption and anti-virus running. The Physical size is 1.5 inch x 0.5 inch x 0.2 inch.
Being all metal, the GE9 and SE9 are the ones to go for, and at most places I've checked, the SE9 is sold for a lower price than the same sized GE9, with the SE9 16GB model being the best value. The price difference may suggest that the gold is real after all!