The LaCie Porsche Design USB Key is a premium USB key, with a steel construction that makes sure you’ll have a handy data storage device with you at all times. It’s trying to be the minimalist flash key drive, and in most respects it succeeds at that. A couple of nits keep it from our highest scores, but if you want a Porsche Design logo in your pocket for not a lot of money, take a look at this drive.
Design and Features
LaCie looks to go for the iconic minimalist design ID with the Porsche Design USB Key. It’s a relatively tiny 0.15 by 2.1 by 0.5 inch (HWD), and weighs a scant 0.32 ounce. This means that the LaCie Porsche Design USB Key will not weigh your keychain or even a lanyard down if you decide to keep with you at all times. The drive is made of steel, which means that it will stay in one piece when hooked up to your keychain in your pocket.
The blue-colored USB contacts are exposed, which helps minimize the key’s weight. This means that the contacts are exposed to rubbing from your other keys, but plenty of other USB keys have exposed contacts like the Verbatim Store N’ Go Clip-it USB Drive ($26) and the LaCie PetiteKey (16GB) ($22.99). The Porsche Design USB Key’s steel construction is inherently more durable than the plastic (Verbatim) or aluminum (PetiteKey) bodies of other drives keys. The open USB port also means that the drive can be finicky to plug into some USB ports, we had trouble plugging the key into our desktop testbed, but plugging into a laptop’s USB port was easier since we could see both the key and the port.
The Porsche Design USB Key comes with nothing on the drive itself, but you can download LaCie Genie Timeline, Intego Backup Assistant, Wuala Secure Cloud Storage, LaCie Keys Software for XtremKey USB 3.0, LaCie Keys Software for PetiteKey and CooKey, and LaCie Keys Software for Porsche Design USB Key from LaCie’s website. These apps help with backup, cloud storage, and password protection. The drive is formatted FAT32 out of the box, but you can reformat the drive for NTFS or HFS+ if you need Windows-only or Mac-only support, respectively. LaCie gives you a standard 1-to-1 cloud storage (32GB in this case), so you know you can keep the contents of the key online and safe in case you lose the physical key. The Porsche Design USB key comes with one year Wuala storage and a two-year warranty on the key itself.
The Porsche Design USB Key is USB 3.0, so it’s reasonably fast. At 18MBps (write) and 82 MBps (read), the drive is slightly faster than the Mimobot Mr. Sulu USB 3.0 (32GB) ($49.99) (81MBps read, 17MBps write), though both trail the speedy Editors’ Choice for USB key the LaCie XtremKey USB 3.0 (32GB) ($84.99) (101MBps read, 67MBps write) and the former EC SanDisk Extreme 3.0 (64GB) ($99.99) (105MBps read, 110MBps write). Essentially, this means that the Porsche Design USB Key will be fast enough for reading data you need to access often, but if you need to save data to the key often, then our current or former EC are better choices. One thing to note is that the key did get quite warm during testing so be careful with it if you’re a power user.
Essentially, the LaCie Porsche Design USB Key (32GB) is a decent choice if you need a place to keep a selection of important documents with you at all times. It’s fast enough to read docs quickly, but has a little to be desired when writing data. At $1.56 per GB, it’s less expensive than the $2.65 pe GB of the current Editors’ Choice LaCie XtremKey, but the LaCie XtremKey is both speedier and more physically robust than the Porsche Design USB Key. As a convenience item and something that might match the key fob to your Porsche 911, the Porsche Design USB Key is pretty good, but as a USB key, there are other choices for performance fans.
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||32 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc