Earlier this month, we rounded up twenty USB flash drives and pitted them against each other in our first comparison of portable flash media.  The results were surprising. We found that while many drives offered competitive read performance, the vast majority of them performed absolutely abysmally when it came to write performance. 

All flash drives are not created equal, however, and we noted that many drives made use of premium controllers that resulted in not only high read speeds, but very high write speeds as well. 

At the end of the day, Kingston and Lexar both walked away with an Editor's Choice award for absolutely stellar performance among the competition.  Kingston's DataTraveler Elite and Lexar's JumpDrive Lightning both offered some of the fastest read speeds and consistently high write speeds as well, while the competition generally stumbled in one or both categories. 

Unfortunately, despite the fact that the winners were clear, they were also the most expensive drives out of the roundup.  At 512MB, the Kingston DataTraveler Elite was only around $10 more expensive than the next class of USB drives, but at 1GB, that gap jumped to at least $20.  The award winners were also some of the bulkiest drives out there, so although they offered the best performance, they did have some noticeable drawbacks. 

The very day that our first USB flash drive roundup was complete, Lexar released a new version of one of their USB flash drives, the JumpDrive Secure.  Its successor, called the JumpDrive Secure II, promised better performance, a smaller form factor and, as its name implies, improved security software. 

One of our biggest complaints in the first roundup was that while some drives offered added security through drive encryption, not a single one of the drives supported anything other than Windows XP when using their security software.  Lexar has now addressed that complaint as the JumpDrive Secure II's encryption software now supports both Windows XP and OS X. 

So today, we add to our growing database of USB flash drive devices with Lexar's JumpDrive Secure II.

Before proceeding with this review, we highly recommend at least reading the first few pages of our initial USB Flash Drive Roundup in order to get acquainted with what makes these drives tick and how we test them. 

 Lexar JumpDrive Secure II
Sizes Available 256MB - 2GB
Lanyard Included No
USB Extension Cable Included No
Data Encryption Yes (Windows & OS X only)
Password Protection Yes (Windows & OS X only)
Secure + Public Partitions Simultaneously Accessible Yes
Warranty 2 years

The Drive in Hand
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  • kael900 - Monday, July 10, 2006 - link

    What, no key ring?! Reply
  • unclebud - Thursday, October 27, 2005 - link

    they are some ugly drives but they are stupid fast while reading...
    i have two sandisk micros (512 from radio shack/compusa deal) and lexar elite (target clearance)
    it blows the sandisks' doors off and is just as fast if not more, than the elite...
    Reply
  • jhnphm - Monday, October 24, 2005 - link

    Why not just use loopback files or encfs under Linux, or Windows XP encrypted folders? Reply
  • bldckstark - Monday, October 24, 2005 - link

    10 When I got it home and put some items in the freshly formatted and allocated secure
    20 area I thought the thing was the best. Then I found out I couldn't actually count on
    30 getting any of the stuff out of the secure area. I looked around on the web and
    40 I found a huge number of complaints about that Gen. 1 secure drive. It appears that
    50 the chip that deals with the security matters isn't very stable. Some say all they
    60 did was drop it on the kitchen table when they got home and never got into it again.
    70 All of them hated it. I reformatted mine and did not allocate any space to the
    80 secure area, and it has been fine since then. Other than the fact that it is too fat
    90 to fit into most laptop USB ports, the security system lost all my data, and the cap
    100 broke in my pocket, it was a great drive. Had it for almost 6 months. Then I got a
    110 real one. I will not be buying another Lexar USB drive, Gen. 2 or not. Once bitten
    120 twice shy.
    Goto 10
    Reply
  • dnd728 - Saturday, October 22, 2005 - link

    They're said to have their own operating system and security. Can't they do all that? Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, October 21, 2005 - link

    Give it the performance of the other Lexar drive and a (removable) metal keyring and I'm game. Reply
  • Pirks - Friday, October 21, 2005 - link

    Their secure software dialogs look soo ugly on XP, and much much better on OSX. This is what happens when you hire junior Mac programmer to do a rush job in XP. Apple's own software is even worse, just try QuickTime for Windows. I consider this a serious mistake - they should have hired a decent XP developer and do a proper XP GUI, and something ugly for Mac (if the developer turns out to be the same moron as this Mac guy who did XP GUI), given the sizes of the user base here and there that would be much wiser thing to do. Why sell Hyundai and piss off Toyota owners, why don't you do the reverse? ;-) That'll hurt your pocket not as much, won't it? Reply
  • Pirks - Friday, October 21, 2005 - link

    I keep dreaming about a device similar to Creative Zen or even iPod but which has a USB hole in it and (optionally) no internal flash. So you just plug your USB stick in it, and play your MP3 collection. And then imagine connecting it to your PC via same USB and turning it into an external audio card! Well, that last part is probably just a stupid dream, nobody would ever need such a functionality, but just this part about pocket player with a small USB hole... you stick any kind of USB storage you want, even pocket hard drive, or whatever. Jeez, if only pocket player manufacturers were not driven by conservative and cautious designers. I understand that they'll go bankrupt once they try to step off a beaten path (remember what happened with Monsoon when they tried to manufacture flat PC speakers), but still - I keep on dreaming about such a yummy toy. Does anyone else here think that MP3 player with separate universal storage modules (flash, HDD, or anything with USB inteface) is a good idea? Imagine turning Zen Micro or iRiver with flash into Zen Xtra or iRiver with 30-60GB HDD by just switching a storage module! Gee, even different Li-Ion batteries with different capacities fit nicely here, so you fit whatever battery that suits your storage. Flash storage consumes less energy, so you need smaller battery. And you can use your storage modules as pocket disks, and haul your data around. And they one day the company upgrades your MP3 player module, and suddenly you can plug your flash/HDD/battery modules into a new hub! With video, or FM radio or BT or WiMAX or... ah, I can keep typing forever. Please someone with enough capital to invest, take my ideas for free and implement at least a half of them! ;-) Now THAT would be TRUE innovation, not like this stupid iPod show for underdeveloped teens. Reply
  • timmiser - Friday, October 21, 2005 - link

    The biggest selling point for me is if it will attach and stay attached to a key ring. I want to carry it with me everywhere I go and need it to stay on my key ring like a key fob. I have yet to find a USB flash drive that is robust enough to last on a key ring. Reply
  • Chapbass - Friday, October 21, 2005 - link

    My sandisk cruzer micro 256mb that i bought a few years ago has been on my key ring for a very long time and shows no signs of wear and tear at all...its held up quite admirably despite dropping it several times and other fun things.

    Worth a look if durability is your bag.
    Reply

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