Technophile: Memory in a flash

Portable USB drives help you store data that need to move with you in the real world.

LaCie IamaKey

The flash The IamaKey's form factor fits right on a key chain. Its flat, unibody design also means it won't bruise your thigh in your pocket, and it's built-in hole means you should only lose it when you lose all your other keys. However, it does come with a tiny plastic cover for the working end that will probably be lost in hours, if not minutes, after purchase.

The stash This USB drive, in both 4GB and 8GB versions, transfers data at 30MB per second.

The splash Its sturdy and handy design makes the IamaKey great for transferring non-secure files on a routine basis. It's reasonably priced and sturdy - just don't try to use it to open your apartment's front door.

Dh102 (8GB)

Kingston Data Traveler Locker

The flash The Traveler Locker's swivelling cover protects its USB plug when not in use, which means you don't have to worry about keeping track of a tiny little cap that, on other USB drives, usually pops right out of the laminated packaging and races towards the crevices in your couch.

The stash It comes in 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB versions (as a benchmark to assess your needs, a typical DVD movie is about 4.7GB, and a high-definition movie is about 25GB), and offers data transfer rates of up to 20MB per second.

The splash This USB drive is suited for heavy users with big files and also offers password-protected security software, which can be very important if you want portability for your most sensitive data.

Dh216 (16GB)

Corsair Flash Survivor

The flash This extremely durable, water-resistant USB drive is encased in an anodised, aircraft-grade aluminium and is book-ended by two shock-resistant rubber collars. It also comes with a limited 10-year warranty.

The stash The Flash Survivor comes in 8GB and 16GB versions. However, it has a relatively slow data transfer rate of about 11MB per second.

The splash If Rambo ever needed a durable digital back-up of his expense reports, this is the USB he would take with him while dodging heat-seeking missiles. Its protective case is a bit harder to lose, since it envelops the entire drive for those times you accidentally run over it with your M1A1 Abrams Tank. If you need more memory or speed, the Survivor GT offers 32GB and 64GB versions that have date transfer rates of 28MB per second.

Dh264 (32GB)