HP USB drives from PNY Tested

Written by Martin Regtien on . Posted in Accessories

HP USB drivesIt has been a while since we looked at USB flash drive, they have been such a commodity for a long time there is generally very little reason for fanfare.

PNY Technologies has launched four HP memory products into A/NZ that may be different from the run of the mill products.

See our Upcoming Reviews article from a few weeks back here.

DRN would like to thank PNY Technologies for providing the review units, the team is reviewing them with Martin covering the PNY x796w and v150w, myself covering the x760w and the V245.

The year was 2000, Pentium III Coppermine series was king. IBM made the first USB flash drive at a whopping 8 Mb and they retailed here in Australia just short of a Jolly Green Giant (AUD$100). Work footed the bill back then and we got a couple to play with.
Ahh, those heady days.

Cloud storage is where all the rage is now, but is there still a place for USB?

Absolutely. It can be a secure way of transferring data between computers in the same location, it can be "air-gapped" or "sneaker net" between computers. You can encrypt the drive and throw it in a fire proof safe where it can't be hacked because it is not online.

HPx760w

First Impressions
The x760w is small, I would say tiny but to be honest I have owned smaller ones. But it comes in at just over a centimetre across and under 5 centimetres long - 2 of those is the handy carabiner clip which makes it easy to attach to key chains or backpacks. My review unit is a 64Gb in Dark Gray, there is a "Light Golden" variant. There is no cap on this one, so nothing to lose here.

HPv245o

The v245o (orange) and v245L (I presume lavendar) are made from durable rubber material that is about 4 centimetres long. This one is aimed for the sports lovers market (or the very clumsy) and features water and shock resistance. As such it comes with a rubber cap to achieve the water resistance. I am sure we have all done it before, losing the cap to a USB drive, so HP PNY has included a T-shape cap holder so you can keep everything together.

In Use
The HP x760w is USB 3.1 compliant, giving a read performance up to 75 MB/s and 30 MB/s write. The drive comes pre-formatted with FAT32, and comes with .... absolutely nothing. No files, no demo, no executable, icons whatsoever. It is clean as a whistle and ready to go.

A simple run with Check Flash gives me a read speed of 82.48 MB/s and a write speed of 21.29 MB/s.

x760w checkflsh

As we know though, file sizes will play a big part in the performance, so I hit it with USB Flash Benchmark and put it through it's paces. This gave a much more granular result based on a variety of file sizes. As can be seen in the graph below, the read performance is consistently good for files larger than 64KB. Below that threshold there is a spectacular performance degradation - less than half the read speed at 32KB and as expected well down below 10MB/s as the files get smaller.

What is interesting is the dip in write performance at the 8MB file size mark which was consistent across a number of tests.

The various benchmark tests shows that 256KB writes is where it performs the best.

x760w usbflash

 

The HP v245 is USB 2.0 compliant, giving a read performance up to 25 MB/s read and 8 MB/s write. Check Flash gives a result of read at 19.68 MB/s and write at 9.77 MB/s.

v245 checkflsh

USB Benchmark has this one with a very consistent read performance from 16MB to 64 KB files, then it drops significantly at smaller file sizes. The write performance is above the rated speed and performing between 12 MB/s and 18 MB/s in the same file size scale. with the hit coming at 8Kb or smaller.

v245 usbflash

Other Features

The main draw card of the x760w, the carabiner clip has a nice tension to it. Whilst there is no locking mechanism to prevent accidental opening, the tension should be sufficient to keep it in place. The metal construction will give it some nice protection, and the carabiner clip makes it simple to latch onto my OrbitKey, and easy to take off when needed instead of taking all my keys with it.

Gripes
Sadly all of these USB drives are USB-A devices, I look forward to a USB-C variant coming out.

I wish they came with an encryption option, like the Ironkey. In fact I think by now, all USB flash drives should be encrypted.

HP Australia really needs to sort out their website. Neither the x760w nor the v245o/L shows up on their site. The v245o/L shows up in the support site but the product information says it is up to 32GB only. That's fine except as you can see in the photos, I have a 64GB in my hands.

Conclusions
The PNY HP offering gives good read performance overall but the write performance of the x760w is not spectacular. That said, it is probably newer, better and more reliable than the many flash drives lying around in your drawer - I just found a 2GB USB 1.1 one that I bought in Malaysia in 2003 that really can go back to the flash drive god.

The PNY HP x760w is available in 32GB (AUD$20), 64GB (AUD$34), 128GB (AUD$59) and 256GB from JB Hi-Fi .

The PNY HP v245o/L is available in 32GB (AUD$11) or 64GB (AUD$23) from JB Hi-Fi.

Specification x760w
Storage Capacity : 32GB/ 64GB/ 128GB/ 256GB
Interface : USB 3.1
USB Connector : USB Type-A
Read Performance : up to 75MB/s
Write Performance: up to 30 MB/s
Dimensions (L × W × H) : 48.8mm x 12mm x 4.5mm
Weight : 4.9 g
Operating Temperature : 0°C to 60°C
Storage Temperature : -25°C to 85°C
System Compatibility : Windows 7, 8 ,10 ; Mac OS: 10.3 and above
Operating Voltage : Vcc Power: DC 4.5~5.5 V
Warranty : 2-year Limited Warranty

Specification v245o/L
Storage Capacity : 2GB/ 4GB/ 8GB/ 16GB/ 32GB
Interface: USB 2.0
Read Performance : up to 25MB/s
Write Performance: up to 8 MB/s
Dimensions (L × W × H) : 42mm x 16mm x 10mm
Weight : 8.5 g
Operating Temperature : 0°C to 60°C
Storage Temperature : -25°C to 85°C
System Compatibility : Windows 7, 8 ,10 ; Mac OS: 10.3 and above
Operating Voltage : Vcc Power: DC 4.5~5.5 V
Warranty : 2-year Limited Warranty

But Wait - There's More: Two More...

 

796w

The other two models, the PNY x796w and v150w, are much the same in every respect, apart from some design differences and colour.

Kevin has already gone the distance in writing about specs and performance.
The models I got were likewise just 64GB units, they do the job as expected and got me as excited as drinking lukewarm coffee.
USB sticks are like DVDs or CD-ROMs: when was the last time you read a glowing review of a data disk?
They are in the main disposable items. They had some charm in the olden days as giveaways. Nowadays, I would not even put a USB drive in my laptop without having checked it for viruses or malware.

The only thing I had wanted to check out was the x796w in the 1TB capacity as I had a nice backup application in mind. But they are not listed (yet?) on Australian websites...

Just a quirk on the capacity of the two drives tested: 64GB is of course the nominal capacity. The actual capacity of the USB 3.1 drive is 58GB but the USB 2.0 one is 59.5. Go figure...

Kevin made a good point about the need for catering to the USB-C standard.

The other point I can make how about some sort of external security code to make these flash drives less of an opportunistic target?
My personal favourite design would be something like I reviewed 8 years ago here

So there's still room for an outstanding USB drive in this very overcrowded market. But most people would just buy the capacity they need without giving any thought to make and model or performance.
That's the harsh reality.

PNY make good gear as we have seen in some recent reviews but I don't follow the logic of rebranding them with the hp logo. That would work as just a giveaway as I considered doing for my own company a decade ago...

However, they will bring more hp branded gear into AU/NZ soon so do check back with us.

Final thought: you can't go wrong buying any of these USB sticks. They are cheap as chips.

The USB 3.1 x796w is 25 bucks on only 20 for the USB 2.0 v150w.

 

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