Fingerprint-reading Flash drives
Time to invest in some biometric data storage?
SanDisk Cruzer Profile
SanDisk is well-known for its Flash memory products and is a prominent brand on the high street. The Cruzer Profile is SanDisk's first biometric storage device and differs from the other two on test by using a swipe sensor rather than a pad.
The SanDisk also differs from the other two drives by having two partitions: on the 512MB version, an 18MB unsecured areas and a 470MB secured partition. The unprotected partition contains the software you need to set up the fingerprint recognition as well as a utility that allows you to use the Cruzer Profile to log in to Windows by swiping your fingerprint. You can enrol up to ten fingerprints. To edit the fingerprints or make any changes you have to swipe your finger, so you can’t bypass the security functionality.
A further two applications are provided on the secure partition of the Cruzer Profile. CruzerLock 2 allows you to encrypt files and use the fingerprint scanner instead of a password. CruzerSync synchronises files on your hard drive with those on your Cruzer Profile and again these can be encrypted, using a fingerprint to unlock them instead of a password.
The design of the Cruzer Profiler is rather odd, as it’s made up out of two parts. The top half slides out and is connected to the bottom half by a small length of wire which has a blue LED built in to the lower part of it to indicate when data is being accessed. Oddly enough, the top half only houses a USB connector and nothing else - a very strange design choice. The bottom half houses the swipe sensor and the Flash memory. The bottom of the Cruzer Profiler is rubber-coated to make it sit better on a desk, but due to the lightweight construction, this doesn’t really help. The short cable also limits where you can put it, although it’s ideal for use with most laptops.
The read and write speeds are generally excellent, although it’s not great for copying a large amount of small files as this test was very slow, taking almost eight minutes to complete. As with the other drives there’s very little in the way of accessories, and the only thing SanDisk bundles is a lanyard.
The SanDisk Cruzer Profile is rather oddly shaped for a USB memory key, but it works well - although it’s only for Windows users. The additional software will come in handy for many users. The real icing on the cake though is the super-low price: you can pick one up for under £30 which makes it an absolute bargain.
More info The SanDisk Cruzer Profile product page