PROS / The SanDisk Extreme transfers files very quickly.
CONS / This drive is on the large side.
VERDICT / The SanDisk Extreme is all you could want in a USB flash drive: It is fast and secure, with a lifetime warranty.
The SanDisk Extreme is one of the best USB flash drives you can get. At 0.84 inches wide, this sleek, black drive is both stylish and highly functional. This memory stick performed reasonably well in our tests for this USB flash drive comparison. You won't need any additional drivers to get the SanDisk Extreme working, and it's compatible with both Windows and OS X operating systems. Although a software download is required for Macs, these features earn the SanDisk Extreme our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
In addition to its good speed and sleek design, this USB 3.0 flash drive comes with the SanDisk SecureAccess software pack so you can create a password-protected folder on your drive and secure your files with 128-bit AES encryption. In case you need technical support, you can call, email, chat live with SanDisk representatives or ask members of the community forum to help you out. And if the product fails, you have the lifetime warranty to back you up.
SanDisk advertises that the 32GB Extreme can get read speeds of up to 245MBps and write speeds of up to 100MBps. While our testing never realized anything close to 245MBps for read speed, the write speed came pretty close to 100MBps.
The SanDisk Extreme did well in our testing, especially in the 4K read and write categories. On average, the Extreme managed sequential read speeds of 179MBps. That's not especially fast compared to some of the other USB flash drives on our lineup, but it's still pretty good. What it means is that, when you want to view files on the Extreme, it won't be quite as responsive as faster drives. However, the Extreme also clocked in at a very impressive sequential write speed of 91MBps. That's the fastest we've seen, and it allows you to transfer files to the Extreme very quickly.
We'd also like to point out that the Extreme did very well in 4K random read and write. This means that the Extreme is a good option if you want to run an operating system or other applications off of a USB flash drive. The Extreme's 4K read speed of 9.7MBps is impressive, though not the best, and the 4K write speed of 7MBps is outstanding. There are many USB 3.0 flash drives that can't even achieve 1MBps 4K write speeds, and the Extreme puts them all to shame.
Design & Features
This USB flash drive comes with the SanDisk SecureAccess software, which allows you to keep your sensitive files safe and secure, even if you lose your drive or it gets stolen. The software lets you create a password-protected folder on your drive so you can easily share other files while keeping your private ones private. You simply drag and drop files anywhere on your computer into the folder to transfer them.
In addition to the private folder security option, your files are kept confidential with 128-bit AES encryption, which is weaker than the common 256-bit AES encryption found on other drives. While the Windows-compatible version comes ready to go right on the drive, you have to download the Mac version from the SanDisk website.
Help & Support
The SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 flash drive comes with a limited lifetime warranty. You will need to provide proof of purchase, including date and place of purchase. In the event that you need to return the drive, you need to register the product using the company's online registration.
Should you need help and support, the SanDisk website should be your first stop. There you can email a question, chat live with a product representative, browse community forums, register your device, read the user manual and warranty information, and get the phone number of customer service representatives. If you just need some troubleshooting, give the forums a try – you will be pleasantly surprised at how many questions have already been answered by the community of SanDisk customers. Before you join in, though, the company asks that you read and abide by the forum rules and guidelines.
The SanDisk Extreme is a good balance of form and function. The sleek design and retractable mechanism encases a very capable flash drive that can quickly handle both professional files and your more demanding personal files, such as HD videos. The only downsides are a slightly weaker encryption than competitors and its somewhat large size. This flash drive has you completely covered with security options, such as encryption and password protection for your private files, a lifetime warranty and multiple forms of technical support. All of these points make the SanDisk Extreme the best flash drive on the market.