DOET #8: SanDisk Flash Drive

Today I look at my 16 GB SanDisk flash drive:

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[first impression]

I’ve been a long time user of SanDisk, so this was my third flash drive of this design and fifth overall SanDisk flash drive. I liked how its compact and modern look: while lightweight, it was also solid and felt trustworthy. Its smooth curves also felt great in my hand. As odd as it is to say, it was enjoyable to hold. Because I had previously only used capped flash drives that didn’t extend/retract, it took some getting used to do operate its retractable design.

[usability]

Even though I had to get used to the extending mechanism, I have come to really appreciate it. Once it is extended, it will stay extended by locking into place. To release the lock, pressure again has to be applied downwards before sliding. If it has not been fully extended, it will retract back into its smaller transporting position. All of this amounts to a flash drive that is easily transportable, easily inserted, and overall very usable.

The light that comes on while the drive is being accessed is useful and a great form of feedback. It assures me the drive is working and is connected. Additionally, the red paint isn’t just on the top, but it is also inside the USB head so you can easily see which side the USB should face. Though it may not seem like a substantial thing I find it brilliant in helping me correctly insert the drive, especially when I can’t see the USB port and must do it by touch.

The dimensions of the drive are good for vertical ports such as on an iMac, but problematic on horizontal ports like the Macbook Pro. Using it on my Macbook Pro means that I can’t plug anything else into the neighboring USB port, which has periodically caused annoyance.

[overall analysis]

I’ve enjoyed using every SanDisk product I own: compact flash cards, SD cards, flash drives, card readers, and more. Their flash drives were my first introduction to the brand, and I’ve been a loyal customer ever since. There’s a reason SanDisk is the photography industry’s standard for high performance, and their commitment to quality shows in all of their products that I’ve used.

I’ve put this flash drive (and many other SanDisks) through a lot: as a mobile installation of Starcraft, loading gigabytes of music (this was before Dropbox), and carrying/backing up important files. I haven’t had one experience where it didn’t perform excellently. SanDisk was the first company I know of to manufacture the retractable design, and in my opinion the ones who did it the best. Though their innovation may not seem like a breakthrough, their elegant implementation of a new kind of flash drive housing definitely earns my respect. Aside from the periodically annoying width, I consider the SanDisk flash drive to be perfectly designed.


[about DOET]

Last year I read Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things. Inspired by Steve Jobs’ biography, I recently began thinking and reflecting on the beauty around me. There is a lot of design coverage and discussion about well-known and extraordinary things, such as a Retina Macbook Pro or a Lamborghini Aventador, but there is little towards better understanding the normal objects around us.

For the next 14 7 days, I will randomly choose an everyday household object and conduct a thorough analysis of its design in what I’m calling my Design Of Everyday Things, or DOET, project. My goal with this is to learn more about design through the careful scrutiny of products I would have otherwise overlooked. This is my refusal to take design for granted. Each analysis has three parts: first impression, usability, and overall analysis. I don’t consider this to be a review, but rather an exploration: there will be no numerical rating, purchasing recommendation, or a pro/con section.

Past DOETs:

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