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It’s fair to say that the USB memory key does add a fair bit of size to an otherwise tiny Swiss Army Knife, but it’s still far more convenient to carry than two separate devices. The memory key is ejected by flipping back a plastic cover – it can then be twisted open like any other tool in the knife. You can either plug the whole knife into your computer or actually remove the memory key and slip the knife back into your pocket. The latter is a pretty cool feature and lets you still use both the knife and the memory key separately. It also means that if you need to carry your memory key on a plane you won’t get arrested when passing through security. That said, Swissbit does offer a version of the SwissMemory Victorinox without any blades that can be taken onto a plane, although this kind of defeats the purpose if you ask me.
In the box you’ll find a USB extension cable which is handy if your PC is on the floor, or if your USB ports are heavily populated. There’s no cradle, but then I’m not sure that it would look right having a knife sitting in a docking cradle on your desk.
When you connect the SwissMemory Victorinox to your computer you’ll notice a SecureLock icon appearing. This is a utility that allows you to create a secure partition on the memory key that’s password protected. This is pretty useful if you happen to store sensitive data on your memory key, allowing you to keep it safe, but still keep an area open for public access.
There’s no doubt that the SwissMemory Victorinox is a great idea that’s well implemented, but how does it actually perform as a USB memory key? Unfortunately the answer to that question is, not very well. Strangely Swissbit has chosen to make the memory key only USB 1.1 compliant. That’s not to say that you can’t plug it into a USB 2.0 port, but the transfer rate is limited to the USB 1.1 standard. As such, the SwissMemory wasn’t the speediest of USB keys, and it was considerably slower than all the USB 2.0 devices I’ve looked at recently. The SwissMemory took two minutes seven seconds to write 105MB of MP3 files compared to 21 seconds on the ADTEC DataStick, while reading the same data back took one minute 28 seconds on the SwissMemory and 12 seconds on the ADTEC DataStick.
So, the SwissMemory Victorinox isn’t the fastest USB memory key on the block, but it does offer so much more in terms of features and functionality. Personally I think it’s a great little device, and allows me to carry only one thing in my pocket instead of two. But, as always price has to be considered - at the time of writing I could not find a single UK retailer that had a price for the 128MB SwissMemory Victorinox. Swissbit quoted me a price of around £50 including VAT, which isn’t bad considering you’re getting a genuine Swiss Army Knife as well as the memory key.
I really like the SwissMemory Victorinox, despite the slow USB 1.1 transfer rate. That said, for the price you could buy a much faster USB 2.0 device with far more capacity. Ultimately though, you’re not just buying a memory key, or even just a pocket knife. Swissbit has created a great amalgamated product that will appeal to gadget fiends the world over, whether they need one or not.
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