I’d seldom care to review an everyday item such as a USB flash drive, but when my old Kingston drive was pulling errors every time I removed it from a Windows PC I suspected that it was about to stop working all together — I was right, the next day the whole thing was a corrupted mess (2 days after I had to buy a new Netgear DGN2000 ADSL wireless router!) so I was on the lookout for another USB pen drive.
When I saw the claims that the Patriot XT Boost (8GB) USB memory stick was “Ultra Fast, Rugged, Waterproof and Shock Resistant” I couldn’t help myself from clicking the little shopping cart in the corner of the screen to try it out for myself… and test those claims in a Gadget Show kind of style! Naturally, the first thing I did after un-boxing it was throw it off the top of my roof. Twice! In case you’re wondering, yes I did throw it pretty hard (which probably isn’t hard at all) and yes, it did survive the fall. Ruggedness? Check.
In all honesty, I didn’t doubt that it would survive the fall, the rubber housing makes it look extremely rugged, but what about those claims about it being waterproof? My previous USB pen drive saw its fair share of water; I used it every day and I’m a rather clumsy person, but just how waterproof was the Patriot? Against my better judgement, I decided to fill up a bowl of water and submerge the drive for a few minutes. It remained under water for around 2 minutes before I took it out and made sure it was sufficiently dry before placing it back into my PC. I was relieved, and rather surprised, to see that everything seemed to be functioning fine. Windows read the drive and I got going with putting a ton of files on. Waterproof? Check, but what about those claims about the speed?
To test the speed of the drive, I decided to transfer a number of files ranging in size and format. This included documents, music and a few music files. By default, you’ll find that the Patriot’s formatted in FAT, which means that you can’t transfer files larger than 4GB in size, so I reformatted to NTFS before doing anything. My benchmarks for the test came from another USB flash drive.
The first file I transferred was a 4.41GB movie file. When transferring the file from my hard drive over to the pen drive speeds peaked at 28mb/s for less than a second before steadily dropping to less than 15mb/s by the end of the transfer. Transferring the file back to my hard drive was a similar story — the transfer peaked at 30mb/s before dropping to under 15mb/s before the end of the transfer. When using the regular pen drive, speeds peaked at a rather painful 9mb/s, so there was definite improvement in the speed department.
The next file was considerably smaller — a ZIP file containing a combination of documents and PDF’s, weighing it at just under 90mb. When testing this file with the standard USB pen drive, the transfer peaked at fewer than 8mb/s as I watched the progress bar go steadily along… I would tell you the speed at which the Patriot transferred the file, but it was too quick for me to take a look. My final test was the transfer of a music album encoded in Apple Lossless format. The album transferred at a constant rate of 11mb/s, transferring the 480mb album in no time.
In conclusion, the 8Gb Patriot XT Boost 150x is by far the most rugged, waterproof and speedy USB flash drive I’ve ever used, and I highly recommend it to anyone in the market for a new storage device. I was a little surprised to see how physically large the USB pen drive was, but it fitted in my PC no problem.