PNY has built its considerable reputation on flash memory and drives, as well as high-end memory upgrades and, more recently, NVIDIA Quadro graphics boards. So when a new USB 2.0 drive appears it pays to take notice, even if on the surface it looks like a standard product in gimmicky clothing.
The basic idea was to produce a convenient storage device that was cool, appealed to the young and could be taken outside. So whether you’re braving a Florida thunderstorm, snowboarding down Everest or bungee-jumping in the Amazon rainforest, you can rest assured that the water-resistant rubber coating will withstand anything you or the elements can throw at it. As the French Web site says, it’s “the key of fields, beaches and towns”!
This is the latest in the Outdoor Attaché series which already contains 256MB, 512MB and 1GB drives in chic blue, beige and red, and this 2GB incarnation is in jet black. In terms of storage capacity, that works out at 1,000 photos (if your camera runs at 8-megapixel with 1/8 image resolution), 33 hours of music (MP3 high fidelity) or 12 hours of video (MPEG4 at 384Kbps or 100 minutes of Quicktime with sound).
It’s also compatible with Windows 98, ME, 2000 and XP as well as Mac OS 9.0, but bear in mind that if you’re using Windows 98 you’ll first have to download the relevant driver from the company’s site, where the instructions are in French!
If you are planning to engage in some extreme sports while carrying around this flash drive then you’ll be pleased to know that it comes with two handy accessories: a neckband so you can keep hands-free and tuck it under your (T) shirt, and a cap holder. The cap holder in particular is a master stroke, as how many times have you put a flash drive’s cap down while you plug the drive into your laptop and then find you’ve mislaid it? This one connects to the end of the drive with a chain and then fits solidly into the rubber cap.
Price-wise the drive is very competitive and as a piece of stylish coolness it should find a ready fan base. On the other hand, if you already have a flash drive of the same storage capacity you’ll probably find it’s well-nigh indestructible anyway (short of going at it with a pile-driver) so don’t upgrade just because of the ‘crash-proof’ hype.