Instead of handing out assignment calendars on the first day of the school year, principals should consider just giving out memory keys for kids to hold their homework, tasks and to-do lists. Verbatim’s Tuff-N-Tiny USB drive is about as small, unobtrusive and inexpensive as memory keys get, yet can hold a semester’s worth of assignments.
Barely the size of a fingernail and less than a tenth of an inch thick, the Tuff-N-Tiny drive weighs just 1.2 grams and comes with a lanyard for turning it into a keychain. For any student or teacher it will disappear into a pocket or purse, yet act as a bottomless pit for assignments, research and lesson plans.
Available in capacities from 2- to 32GB, the Tuff-N-Tiny drives are color coded depending on how much they hold. They work with all recent PCs, Macs and Linux computers and are pretty much indestructible. They can survive low and high temperatures, up to 55-gs of shock as well as getting wet; just dry it off and plug it in. All Tuff-N-Tiny drives come with a lifetime warranty against damage.
The orange 2GB drive I looked at can actually hold 1.86GB of data and comes formatted for FAT use. It is fast enough to be used to help older PCs run better by using Microsoft’s ReadyBoost technology.
On top of a Quick Start Guide, the drive comes with Verbatim’s V-Safe 100 software for setting up a password to protect the drive’s contents. To use it, you’ll need to reformat the drive and the security program only works with PCs.
While not stellar, its performance was more than adequate for use in schools. It worked fine with a USB hub and using HD Tune Pro 4.6, the Tuff-N-Tiny drive averaged 14.8 Mbps of throughput and had an access time of .599 milliseconds. That’s off the pace set by SanDisk’s Cruzer Pattern drive, which was 40 percent faster, but the Tuff’N’Tiny drive played videos without a fault.
Unfortunately, there’s no light to show that data is flowing into or out of the Tuff-N-Tiny drive. As it is being used, the SanDisk drive used 25.1 percent of available processor resources, compared to the Tuff-N-Tiny’s 19.0 percent. This means that it’s not a resource hog and using the drive won’t slow or bog the computer down as it reads and writes data.
Verbatim prices the drives from $22 (2GB) to $158 (32GB), but if you shop carefully, you can get them for between one-half and one-third of that price. For instance, the 2GB drive I looked at can be had for about $8.
Tuff-N-Tiny drives more than live up to their name. Its only problem is that it’s so small and light that it’s just a little too easy to lose.
Verbatim Tuff-N-Tiny USB Drive
2GB to 32GB/$8 to $72
+ Tiny and very light
+ Lifetime warranty
- Easy to lose
- No activity light