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512MB Corsair Flash Voyager - Page 2 of 2
Posted: January 23, 2005
Author: Spire
Manufacturer: Corsair
Source: Corsair
Comment or Question: Post Here

Durability:

This has got to be where the Voyager really out does the competition. Corsair claims the Voyager is shock resistant and also water resistant. The rubber coating that covers all but the protruding USB connector is soft, flexible and almost sticky. The rubber is not glued against the USB connector as I can peel it back slightly and see circuitry, so I wouldn’t call the Voyager completely depth rated waterproof, but I could see it surviving a trip through the washer if left in a pants pocket. The cap is also flexible rubber and does seem to form a water resistant seal over the USB connector. The rubber coating does have one drawback, because it is kind of sticky, it grabs and holds on to any pocket fuzz, dust bunnies, or lint it may come in contact with.

After the speed tests were completed and all pictures were taken, it was time to throw a little durability testing at the Voyager. I really like the Voyager and do not intend to see just how far it will go because that would require actually breaking it, something I do not want to do. Now its time to see how water resistant the Voyager is. Real life may one day have your flash drive sinking into your favorite beverage, or perhaps being left in a pocket and being run through a washing machine. I wanted to know if the Voyager would survive both of these incidents. The below left image shows the Voyager at the bottom of a cold glass of water, and the below right image shows the Voyager getting a nice thorough cleaning with a load of laundry. In both cases the voyager came out working fine! On a side note, due to the excessive heat and the static experienced inside a gas clothes dryer, I decided not to progress through the entire clothes cleaning experience, however the tumbling action should be no problem for the Voyager.

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I wanted to make sure that it was indeed water resistant and also somewhat shockproof. My first idea was to dip it in a little bacon grease and let the dog gnaw on it a little. The dog never chewed it, but decided that a little slobber would be a better test, dog and Voyager survived just fine. I decided that the most abuse a flash drive might normally see would to be dropped. So I decided to really drop test it and climbed on my roof to drop it over the edge onto concrete... a fall of about 9 feet, after having the kids throw it back up (they missed the roof a few times) I tossed it a total of 5 more times. There were no marks at all and no indications of any difference compared to the condition before the drop test. Plugging the Voyager back in, I was pleasantly surprised to still have my data intact.

Compatibility:

A USB drive is meant to be moved around, used everywhere, and it would be unacceptable to have to pack around a driver disk just so you can access your data. The Voyager was recognized in all 12 of the Windows XP and 2000 machines I could plug it into. Windows first loads a generic USB hub, then loads a drive, and finally recognizes the Voyager as Corsair Voyager USB Drive. The included security and formatting software is optional if you intend to use the drive in its unsecured mode. If you intend to create a secure partition however, you will need to have the utility running on any machine you want to use to access the secured partition. Plus, drivers are included in the utility for Windows 98 functionality.

Software:

Included on the mini-CD is a complete manual in .PDF format as well as the utility program that allows you to create a second, secured partition using any amount of room on the drive. The second partition that gets created is secured with a password. After you decide how much of the drive you want to be secure using the slider bar, both drives are formatted and you are prompted to remove and reinsert the drive.

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When the drive gets plugged back in, you are prompted to enter your password for the secure partition. If you cancel out of this dialog, only the original unsecured partition will be displayed in 'My Computer'. If you enter the correct password, a second drive shows up and is now usable until the machine is either logged off or the Voyager is unplugged. Plugging the Voyager into a machine not running the utility will only show you the unsecured portion. No indication will exist that the drive has a secret area. It would be nice if you could enter in a password without having the utility installed, but it is my understanding that none of the current flash drives are capable of this. The pictures below show the difference in the utility when a secure partition is available on the Voyager and when it is formatted without.

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The utility program formats the Voyager in FAT. Any flash media that exceeds 2 GB will be formatted in FAT32 instead, as FAT does not support volumes over 2 GB.

Conclusion:

Price Grabber lists the Voyager line starting at $21.00 for the 128MB all the way to $177.00 for the beefy 2GB. The 512MB Voyager reviewed here goes for right around $55.00 and is available at ZipZoomFly, Tiger Direct, and Newegg.

Corsair has taken the worries out of being careful with a flash drive with the shock and water resistant rubber coating. Beyond the tough exterior, the speeds are very impressive. One concern involves the Voyager being a bit large and potentially blocking adjacent USB ports when it is plugged in. Otherwise, the only other concern I have is that the loop for a key ring or lanyard doesn't seem as durable and might break.

The trade off of size for durability is one I am betting lots of folks will be willing to make. I think you will be hard pressed to find a better built, better working USB flash drive on the market, but then again this is Corsair, and we have come to expect the best from them. I was so impressed with the Voyager I had no choice but to award it 5 out of 5 stars... "Highly Recommended".

Final Rating (5 out of 5 stars):


Pros:

• Rugged Durability – shock and water-resistant
• Compatibility – works anywhere
• Security Options
• Price

Cons:

• Size – just a little bit big
• Gathers lint well

Special thanks Corsair for providing the 512MB Flash Voyager to BigBruin.com for review!

Please drop by the BigBruin.Com forum and feel free to discuss this review.

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