PROS / The LaCie RuggedKey 3.0 is the most durable flash drive we reviewed, as it is heat, cold, dust and water resistant.
CONS / The cap also functions as the drive's plastic casing, so if it gets lost, so does its durability.
VERDICT / This USB 3.0 drive is fast and secure enough for data-rich transfers, and it can withstand a lot of abuse.
If you take your data with you on all of life's adventures, the LaCie RuggedKey 3.0 will appeal to you. Resistant to heat, cold, dust, water and drops from up to 100 meters, this is as close to indestructible as a USB flash drive can be. In addition to its durability, the RuggedKey transfers data somewhat quickly.
LaCie is known for its line of rugged external drives, which have extra-protective casings to keep your information safe from drops. This pen drive is the most portable of the series and is ideal for withstanding the bumps and stumbles of an active lifestyle. It isn't the best USB flash drive you can get, but it is one of the most durable.
The RuggedKey has some definite strengths and weaknesses in its performance. While it averaged a good sequential read speed of 182MBps in our testing, it only managed 36.7MBps for its sequential write speed. That's the slowest write speed on our lineup. This means that, while transferring files to the USB flash drive feels fairly snappy, moving files off of the RuggedKey is much slower.
The RuggedKey's 4K random read and write performance isn't anything to be excited about. At 5.5MBps, the 4K read speed is decent, but its 4K write speed is terrible, averaging a mere 0.1MBps. This is a poor choice if you want to run applications or an operating system off of a flash drive.
LaCie bills the RuggedKey as being secure from the inside out. That's because it is one of the best USB sticks for keeping your data confidential. The included security software offers encryption, and it allows you to create a password-protected folder on the drive to store private information. Additionally, LaCie offers free, secure cloud backup or storage from Wuala. The amount of cloud space you get is equal to the storage capacity of the drive you purchased – if you buy a 16GB USB flash drive, you get 16GB of free storage. Wuala also has a mobile app from which you can access your files.
The thick rubber that protects the drive doubles as its cap, and when it's not connected to a USB port, you slide the drive back in so it is surrounded by the protective casing. This is a great feature for making the flash drive durable, but it's not ideal if you tend to lose caps. The drive itself is metal and comes attached to its own key ring.
If you live a highly active lifestyle and need to take your data with you on all your adventures, the LaCie RuggedKey 3.0 USB flash drive fits the bill. While it's not the fastest, flashiest or best flash drive on the market, its durability and great security features make it an attractive option.