It’s the Law of Home Technology: as the tech gets better, it gets both smaller and more affordable. It’s been less than a decade since the first USB drives showed up, and back then you could expect to pay in the low three figures for, what? Maybe 256 megabytes of storage. Flash forward to 2011: 1- and 2-gigabyte drives are so cheap to manufacturer they’re often given away as promotional swag. And the devices that no doubt originally got the “thumb drive” nomenclature because they were the size of your thumb are smaller and sleeker than ever.
But they’ll still have a ways to go, ergonomically-speaking, to top Verbatim’s latest offering. The Store ‘n’ Go Car Audio USB Drive (US$29.99) shoehorns a full 8 GB of storage into a form factor not much bigger than a dime. Heck, the USB port alone is the biggest part of the casing!
But there’s a reason behind the Store ‘n’ Go’s design. As more and more car audio systems incorporate USB connectors, people started to realize the old-school thumb drive design jutted out far enough to be a hindrance: blocking access to controls and generally sticking out like (wait for it!) a “sore thumb.” The ultra-low profile Store ‘n’ Go eliminates that problem. But it’s not just for four-wheeling — since it’s a standard USB drive, you can use it in any computer.
The only possible drawback is its small size; it’s easy to forget you left it plugged in, and runs the risk of getting lost in your purse or pants pocket. But these are minor niggles if you’re looking for a gizmo that’s to USB drives what the TARDIS is to spaceships: bigger on the inside.
Check out our hands-on review below: