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Corsair USB Flash Drives: Survivor and Padlock Change the Game

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Corsair Components
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Under Lock and Key

On the other side of the data security spectrum from the Corsair Survivor is the Corsair Flash Padlock USB drive. 

An interesting looking device, is it not?  The basic premise of the Corsair Padlock is to secure the data on the drive by requiring a PIN code to be entered before the device will enable.  You may have seen other flash drives that attempt to offer user security by encrypting the data on the drive and requiring a password to access it on your PC.  The problem with that solution is that it requires drivers and software to be installed on the computer before data can be accessed, removing much of the portability and convenience of USB flash drives.

The Corsair Padlock works by including a seperate security processor in the device that is seperate from the flash memory modules.  Until the PIN code is properly entered on the device, it be electrically invisible to the computer it is plugged into.  Once the code is entered correctly, it acts just like any other flash drive for the span that it is plugged into the PC.

In the package with the Padlock Corsair has included the same USB extender we saw with the Survivor as well as a typical lanyard for carrying the device around your neck.

Setup of the device is pretty simple: holding down the "key" button for a few second initially puts the Padlock in programming mode where you can enter your new PIN code and then verify it.  After that, you'll simply hit the key button once, enter your code and then hit the key button once more and the green "unlock" light on the right will flash for about 15 seconds while you plug it into your machine.  If you don't plug it in in time, or unplug the Padlock from a machine, it will automatically re-lock itself after 15 seconds or so.

By not requiring any software for this to work, the Corsair Padlock can still be used on public terminals as well as Linux and Mac OS machines without issue.  The only downside here is that if you forget your PIN, you're pretty much screwed -- but Corsair has provided a "register my pin" feature on their website to securly store your PIN number in case you should forget it.

Performance

USB flash drives will vary in speed, but in reality, there isn't a definite need for having the absolute fastest speeds when it comes to a simple USB flash drive.  Sure, faster is better, we can all agree to that, but with these drives you are looking at more than speed when it comes time to purchase them.

That being said, both of these drives fell into different categories when it came to performance.  The Corsair Survivor had relatively quick transfer rates of 22.1 MB/s read and 18.7 MB/s write while the Corsair Padlock scored rates of 15.6 MB/s read and 11.9 MB/s write using our standard HDTach 3.0.1.0 testing methods.  Neither of the drives are speed demons -- head toward the Voyager GT or Survivor GT for that -- but are more than capable of saving your stuff. 

Final Thoughts

Both of these Corsair Flash drives offer some unique features and advantages over competing flash drive solutions.  Both are extreme secure in their own ways: the Survivor is by far the most durable flash drive I have ever used and the Padlock is by far the easiest and best secured. 

Many users might find these two devices to be overkill for the purpose of flash drives, but anyone that has accidently washed a USB flash drive in their pocket or had one stolen off their desk will argue otherwise. 

To top it off, the price of flash drives is so low now, that even these very target models are in the bargain pricing area.  The Corsair Survivor 4GB model can be found for $60 online and the 8GB model will run you about $140.  The Corsair Padlock 2GB model is on sale at Newegg.com for about $30 as well.  Yes, you can get flash drives that are cheaper than this, but if you are looking for something that will stand out from the crowd of look alikes and fits a specific need you have, both the Corsair Survivor and the Corsair Padlock are great selections.

If you have any questions, comments or want to see what others are saying about this review, head into our forum to discuss!!!

Be sure to use our pricing engine to find the best prices on the latest Corsair flash drives:

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