Around a month ago i was asked to attend a technology related seminar for which i had to prepare and bring enough material to fill a large part of the 6 hours total it was ment to last (i say ment because i ended up leaving a lot sooner). The result was me filling a total of 52GB worth of data from charts, benchmarks, product pictures and Full HD clips on my favorite Kingston HyperX 128GB USB Flash Drive. Now the interesting part was that i wasn't really the only person in charge of bringing material for the seminar and so in the end there were five of us each carrying a USB flash drive with enough data to fill not 6 but 30 hours. Because of that in the end we all started talking about flash drives, how their prices have reached an all-time low and which are the best ones in the market currently not only in terms of performance but also in appearance and build quality. Naturally the award winning HyperX and PREDATOR flash drives by Kingston where at the center of our discussion but it seems that Kingston is on a roll since the very next day we received their latest DataTraveler Ultimate G3 64GB USB 3.0 Flash drive.
Kingston Technology Company, Inc. is the world’s independent memory leader. Founded in 1987 with a single product offering, Kingston® now offers more than 2,000 memory products that support nearly every device that uses memory, from computers, servers and printers to MP3 players, digital cameras and mobile phones. In 2009, the company's sales reached $4.1 billion. With global headquarters in Fountain Valley, California, Kingston employs more than 4,000 people worldwide. Regarded as one of the “Best Companies to Work for in America” by Fortune magazine, Kingston’s tenets of respect, loyalty, flexibility and integrity create an exemplary corporate culture. Kingston believes that investing in its people is essential, and each employee is a vital part of Kingston’s success. Kingston serves an international network of distributors, resellers, retailers and OEM customers on six continents. The company also provides contract manufacturing and supply chain management services for semiconductor manufacturers and system OEMs.
The brand new DataTraveler Ultimate G3 64GB USB 3.0 flash drive is the successor to the surprisingly good Ultimate G2 USB 3.0 flash drive model we had in our hands roughly a year ago. Of course a year later Kingston was bound to release an updated model with improved read/write speeds and the Ultimate G3 is exactly that since not only it should be quite faster than its predecessor but also sports an improved casing. Luckily for the casing Kingston decided to use the same retractable design as the PREDATOR (only smaller) and largely thanks to the metal casing (should be zinc alloy but Kingston doesn’t specify that) the Ultimate G3 is amongst the best looking USB flash drives in the market. So let's move forward and see just how well it compares with the rest of the competition.
SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES
PACKAGING AND CONTENTS
As always the Ultimate G3 arrived inside a clear plastic clamshell package with the Kingston logo, 5 years warranty logo and the advertised read/write speeds at the front.
The unit features are listed at the rear in 12 different languages right next to an OS compatibility table.
Just the Ultimate G3 flash drive and a lanyard are placed in the package.
THE ULTIMATE G3 64GB
The good looking Ultimate G3 measures 68.4mm in length, 22.76mm in width and 11.6mm in height with a weight of 34g.
Here you can have a better understanding of just how large the Ultimate G3 is compared to similar products.
The keyring Kingston has used with the Ultimate G3 and the PREDATOR line is quite nice.
The drive capacity is written at the top right next to the model and company name.
Much like the PREDATOR flash drive the Ultimate G3 features the same retractable design (only downside is that the front of the USB connector is exposed).
As a security measure against fake USB Flash Drives Kingston also places the drive capacity, serial number, product number and country of manufacture on the USB connector.
Since flash drives are basically plain storage media devices just like solid state drives and hard disk drives we are using almost the same testing methodology to successfully record the achieved performance numbers. The benchmark suites used are HD Tach RW (Read Speeds / Long Bench 32mb Zone Testing), HD Tune Pro (Read speeds), Sisoftware Sandra Pro (Read / Write speeds), AIDA 64 Engineer Edition (Average Linear Read / Random Read speeds), Crystal Disk Mark x64 (100MB Read / Write speeds) and finally ATTO (Max Read / Max Write speeds). Every test is repeated a total of 6 times after which the average performance numbers are recorded into our charts.
All tests are performed with are main test rig running Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Service Pack 1 complete with every system update up until February 10th 2013. As always for comparison purposes in the charts you will also find many other flash drives which have been tested using the same exact test bench as the one in this review (we really can't keep every flash drive we get forever and also even if we could testing them all again and again would simply not be possible).
TEST RESULTS - AIDA 64 / ATTO
TEST RESULTS - HD TACH RW / HD TUNE PRO
TEST RESULTS - SISOFTWARE SANDRA PRO / CRYSTAL DISK MARK X64
Unfortunately currently the Ultimate G3 has an incompatibility issue with the Sisoftware Sandra Pro benchmark suite. Sisoftware has been notified so once this is resolved we will include that specific performance chart to this review.
Although the DataTraveler Ultimate G2 was and still is a good flash drive with good read/write speeds it has but one single flaw and that is its hard plastic and rather bulky casing. Well thanks to a retractable design casing made primarily by metal, a new controller and new flash memory chips the Ultimate G3 is not only almost twice as fast compared to its predecessor but it also looks and feels a lot better. I have to say that i was slightly surprised to see that Kingston used the same (more or less) casing for both the Ultimate G3 and the massive PREDATOR (i would expect something unique for a 512GB/1TB drive) but for owners of the Ultimate G3 that's a very good thing. The only downside i can think of is the exposed USB connector at all times (its front anyways) so one day i hope that manufacturers can come up with a way to solve this (and why not even make such drives water/dust proof while they are at it).
With a current price tag set at USD77.99 inside the USA (Amazon) and at around 70Euros inside the EU the DataTraveler Ultimate G3 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive costs almost 20% less than the quite faster DataTraveler HyperX 64GB so i think that the price right. Honestly there's not much else to say, the Ultimate G3 scored very high read/write speeds in every benchmark we used, is almost entirely made by metal, sports a retractable design and is priced right. Of course the fact that it's not the faster USB 3.0 Flash Drive around may disappoint some enthusiasts and professionals alike, as for us well we are happy to give it our Golden Award.
- Build Quality
- Metal Casing
- Read/Write Speeds
- Retractable Design
- Price (For Some)