Swissbit – Swissmemory USB Victorinox RetroALOX review

USB drive in a Swiss Army Knife
Photo of Swissbit – Swissmemory USB Victorinox RetroALOX

USB key drives are everywhere these days, and there’s a number of ways in which manufacturers try to make theirs special. Swissbit has come up with what has to be one of the best ideas ever; combining a USB key drive and a Swiss Army Knife. This squeezes scissors, knife, nail file and screwdriver into a device small enough to fit onto a key-ring; it comes with a little connector for that purpose.

It sounds odd, but the combination works really well. The knife and scissors aren’t up to the kinds of uses you’d expect from one of the larger Swiss Army Knives, but we’ve had a sibling of the review device, with just 128MB of memory which also offers a torch and pen, for a considerable time and found the knife and scissors invaluable on occasions.

But back to this review. Should you need to travel really light, or be unable to carry the knife section with you – for example if you are flying – the memory key section unclips from the main unit. Doing this gives you a tiny and light device to slot into your laptop’s USB port. And the aluminium casing of the knife section means this drive can take plenty of knocks.

The USB key drive part of things comes in two capacities, 512MB and 1GB. The price quoted is for the 512MB version. Of course, if you plug the drive into a laptop or desktop PC it appears as storage, onto which you can copy files for transfer in the usual way. But there are two useful software extras pre-installed to the drive itself.

The SecureLOCK software lets you create a password protected partition for storing data you’d hate to fall into the wrong hands if you lost the drive. The Travel It Easy software will copy – and synchronise – things like your Internet Favourites and the contents of document folders so that they are with you all the time, and changes you make on the move can be easily reflected back at the office. Be warned, though, that Internet Favourites copying only seems to work with Internet Explorer.

You can set the Travel It Easy software up to remove all traces of Internet browsing from the computer you are using with it. Frequent users of Internet cafes should find this alone worth the purchase price.

There is even a lost and found area where you can leave your contact details so that the nice person who finds your drive if you lose it can post it back to you.

The drive itself ships with a USB extension cable and a lanyard that means you can, if you really must, wear the device round your neck.

Company: Swissbit

If you need a USB key there is a lot to recommend this option. The data synchronisation, password protection features and secure partitioning are all great, and the fact that it can remove traces of your activity on other computers also appeals. Beware of Internet Favourites synching if you are not an Internet Explorer user, though.