Review: Lexar JumpDrive Tough 64GB; tested to destruction
4.3Overall Score

Price (RRP): $59.95
Manufacturer: Lexar

I hope readers will indulge me as I dig into another flash drive, again from Lexar. We’ve looked at a lowish cost high capacity drive in the Lexar JumpDrive S45, and a high cost, high speed drive in the Lexar JumpDrive P20. Now I’m looking at the Lexar JumpDrive Tough which, as the name suggests, is about keeping your data safe.

Features

The Lexar JumpDrive Tough looks like a fairly standard USB drive, but it’s designed to be rugged. Specifically, says Lexar, it can cope with pressures of up to 750 psi, which is fifty atmospheres, and it can cope with temperatures from -25°C to 150°C, and it can be immersed in water at up to 30 metres. For those extremes, says the packet, the cap has to be on. Fair enough.

The cap is kind of rubberised and I found it hard to get off initially, because I was squeezing it for a better grip, which was in turn increasing its friction against the metal of USB connector. It works best grabbed on the wider dimension rather than on the flat. The other end has a decent sized loop for adding to a key ring or whatever.

Lexar says that the drive can be read from at up to 150MB/s and written to at up to 60MB/s. It comes with “EncryptStick Lite” software so you can encrypt everything on the drive, if you like, with 256 bit AES encryption. That’s pretty strong stuff. Don’t forget your key. Perhaps the NSA could eventually break it, but few others.

It comes in three sizes: 32GB ($39.95), 64GB ($59.95) and 128GB ($94.95). The review sample was the 64GB one. The interface is USB 3.1, but of course that’s backwards compatible with older USB versions.

Performance

I used a bunch of video files for a speed test. There were 14 files and two folders, totalling 5.55GB. That package took 41.2 seconds to copy to my desktop’s SSD from the Lexar JumpDrive Tough for an average speed of 137.8MB/s. The coping was fairly smooth, starting at 149MB/s but with the rate starting to wobble a bit between that high and as low as 120MB/s. Looks to me like the read speed rating was pretty spot on.

Reading from the JumpDrive

Copying the same package back (after an eject and reinsertion) was a different proposition. It took 150.6 seconds for a respectable overall speed of 37.7Mbps, but as the Windows graph shows, it spent a lot of time running at nearly 90Mbps, slightly exceeding that a couple of times, and then would slow right down. What the graph doesn’t show is those dips were usually complete stops for a second or two. Some kind of wear levelling or other housekeeping going on inside? The dips didn’t seem to coincide with opening and closing files.

Writing 5.55GB to the JumpDrive – those valleys are actual brief pauses

I repeated the write test, this time using a single large (2.55GB) test file and it also paused a couple of times briefly through the process. But managed a higher average speed of 56.3MB/s since there were fewer pauses.

Fewer pauses with a single large file

This is a high speed for writing, so I’m not criticising it. If some kind of housekeeping has to take place to provide the promised security at the cost of a somewhat slower speed, fair enough. That’s why you’re buying the JumpDrive Tough. If you’re doing a Mission Impossible spy job and need to get those files onto USB before the security guards catch you, then spend some money on the Lexar P20, and copy the files onto the JumpDrive Tough later for greater robustness.

But how tough is it? I didn’t want to try smashing it with a hammer. Way too un-repeatable. So I figured I’d well,  boil it.