Dane-elec zMate Pen USB review

4 out of 5
£17

For

Convenience

Against

As ever 98 users need drivers but that’s all

When we were all a lot younger, it seemed a floppy disk would suffice for all our file and data transferring needs. Surely we would never need to transfer files greater than 1.44Mb. If we did we'd simply split it across a couple of disks and be done with it (how many of you remember Windows 95 on floppy - all 28 disks worth). But with the floppy disk drive slowly evaporating from our desktop and laptop machines manufacturers have had to devise other ways of transferring data.

Of course there are CD-Rs, ZIP disks and other such wonders. In the last year many manufacturers have started to develop USB keys. Small static-RAM drives that plug directly into your USB socket and act as a separate drive. Dane-elec is one such company offering 32, 64, 128 and 256mb versions. The concept is simple and the application simpler still.

Open packet, remove lid, plug into USB socket, and start transferring files. It was that simple. We tried and transferred a number of different files to a number of different computers and it was this easy every time. Windows 98 users will need to install drivers, available as a download on the web rather than in the box and this really is the only downside if you are without web. Transfer speeds were fast (925kb/second), with the USB drive simply acting as if it were the same as any other on your desktop.

For extra security there’s a write protect switch on the side of the drive (just like the good old days with floppies) and this stops you deleting your files by accident.

The size of a lighter, this device will easily fit into a pocket or bag without any hassle. For the cooler among us, you can also attach it to a keyring meaning you'll never be out of space ever again as long as there is a USB socket to jack into- and you won’t look as sad as having the storage built into a watch.

Verdict

For those who never know when they are going to need some spare disk space this device is small enough and simple enough to get you out of trouble. Windows 98 users beware - you will need a web connection however to get the drivers for this to work.