SanDisk Cruzer micro & MP3 Companion Review

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  • Review Price: £72.00

With USB memory keys coming down in price on an almost daily basis and capacities increasing equally as fast, one would hope that the old floppy drive will die gracefully soon. The SanDisk Cruzer micro is one of many USB memory keys and although it looks quite stylish, finished in see through plastic and metal, this alone is not a reason to buy it.


However, as the name implies, it is very small, in fact it is the smallest USB memory key we have seen to date measuring a mere 51 x 19 x 6mm (L x W x H). Yes, there are smaller devices out there, but they don’t look quite as cool as the Cruzer micro, nor do they, as far as I know, have a built in blue light that illuminates the rear of the Cruzer micro. It looks even cooler if you put the protective cap on the back, as this enhances the blue light further.


Call me a sucker for fancy blue lights if you like, but there are only so many features worth talking about when it comes to USB memory keys and SanDisk has really made the Cruzer micro as flash as possible. Apart from a protective cap, SanDisk also supplies a larger cap that covers more of the Cruzer micro, in case you’re worried about durability. You also get a key ring and a neck strap thrown in for good measure. There are no drivers supplied, but as these are only needed for Windows 98, SanDisk offers a driver download from its website as well as the CruzerLock security utility.


The CruzerLock utility doesn’t actually allow you to lock the Cruzer, but instead it allows you to password protect and encrypt files on the device. You can’t however encrypt folders, only files and the encryption is done through the CruzerLock file browser utility. The CruzerLock utility is not MAC compatible, even though the Cruzer micro will work on Macs, as long as you’re using OS 9.1 or later.


The Cruzer micro comes in capacities of 128, 256 and 512MB, which will set you back £18.58, £29.52 and £69.96 respectively. The review unit SanDisk sent was the 256MB version and the price is very reasonable considering its build quality and small physical dimensions.


But what is really cool with the Cruzer micro is that you can purchase the optional Cruzer micro MP3 companion, which is, as the name implies an MP3 player. It has a slot in its side where you plug in the Cruzer micro – this is used for storing the music instead of built in flash memory or a traditional memory card. Although it is only meant to work with the Cruzer micro, it does actually work with the Cruzer mini as well, but as the mini is much larger than the micro, it protrudes further and spoils the overall look of the device.


I did of course try other makes of USB memory key, although SanDisk advises that the slot in the Cruzer micro MP3 companion has been tailored to fit the Cruzer micro – but as I had another small USB memory key at hand I thought I’d give it a go. Unfortunately this didn’t work, as the Cruzer micro MP3 companion is programmed to recognise only Cruzer devices.