SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 review

Combines excellent performance, light weight and is relatively inexpensive too

SanDisk is another electronic memory specialist, well known for its SSD line as well as assorted USB and SD card products. The company doesn’t currently make a fast external cable-attached drive, but among its extensive range of USB thumbdrives we found this, the Extreme USB 3.0.

As the name suggests, its a fast little USB stick, the highest-specified such device that SanDisk makes. It competes well on value and, as we found out, in speed.

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Most USB 2.0 sticks top out at around 35 MB/s, and the brand’s other USB 3.0 option, the SanDisk Ultra, is specified to 80 MB/s. But SanDisk advertises its Extreme USB 3.0 as good for 190 MB/s. As it turns out, that was a conservative rating.

Not unusually, the SanDisk Extreme has a retractable plug operated by a sliding thumb button on its shank. This has a slightly stiff action but a positive click when it reaches the end of its travel; and there’s no sliding back in again until you make an effort to declick it from that position.

The rest of the thumbdrive is somewhat disappointing in build quality – this is more like the traditional christmas-cracker school of plasticky construction. If you stepped on it, we’ve no doubt the thin black outer case would shatter.

But if it’s fast flash USB storage that you seek, and you see no reason to pay more than is necessary for sturdiness, the SanDisk Extreme may be for you. We found it could average 260 MB/s in sequential reads, and still broke the ‘200’ barrier with 216 MB/s for sequential writes. Small-file random writes were down the scale at an overall average of 27 MB/s from 4 to 1024 kB, although that still puts it just ahead of the Integral and Kingston drives in this test.

While it wasn’t quite the smallest drive available, being a few millimetres longer than the Lexar P10, it is by far the lightest you’re likely to find at a nearly-not-there 12 g.

OUR VERDICT

SanDisk’s new Extreme USB 3.0 stick is one of the best value devices we’ve tested, which combines impressively quick operation for a miniature thumbdrive, extremely light weight – if potentially fragile – and an excellent price per capacity metric of just 78p/GB.

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