Feeds

Fingerprint-reading Flash drives

Time to invest in some biometric data storage?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Sony Micro Vault USM256F

The third and final device on test is the Sony Micro Vault USM256F, which is both the slimmest device here and the longest device on test. Actually, it’s not, as what makes it a lot larger than it really is, is the weird docking cradle that Sony ships with it. I'm not entirely sure how Sony came up with the idea of shipping a docking cradle with a USB storage device, especially as the cradle makes it much larger than it has to be.

Sonyusm256f

The cradle has a small rubber stand just below where the fingerprint sensor is located on the USB key when it's inserted into the cradle. The bottom of the cradle has a mini USB port into which you can connect the supplied mini-USB to USB cable. The only reason you would use this rather than plugging the USB key into your PC would be if you don’t have any front-mounted USB ports. Although a USB extension cable would’ve done the job just as well.

The Micro Vault also has the smallest storage capacity of the drives on test, a mere 256MB. But more intriguing is the way that Sony hasn't taken advantage of the fingerprint scanner. First of all you have to install drivers for the fingerprint scanner to work; it’s a rather large and cumbersome application that managed to crash my PC more than once. It doesn’t protect any data on the device itself, but is rather used with another piece of software to encrypt files stored on it.

If you want to encrypt more than one file, you have to encrypt a folder, but sub-folders aren’t supported, so only the first folder will be encrypted. You can also use the USM256F for storing passwords to websites and locking your screensaver, so rather than having to remember a password you put your finger on the scanner. Finally, you can store your Internet Explorer bookmarks securely on it.

There’s no denying that I was disappointed with the Micro Vault, although it is an older device compared to the other two, and Sony has a new version in the pipeline with a swipe scanner with 512MB capacity, but the rest is unchanged.

Performance-wise the Micro Vault is faster than the SanDisk when it comes to copying loads of small files to the device, but otherwise it is the slowest device on test by a few seconds.

Verdict

The Sony Micro Vault USM256F is disappointing in comparison to the competition. It's downfall lies in the software, along with the fact that it doesn’t automatically protect files stored on it. At £49 it’s not the most expensive device on test, but I’d get the SanDisk any day ahead of the Micro Vault.

60%

More Info The Sony Micro Vault USM256F product page

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes
Buzzing board (and some future apps) leave a lot to be desired
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.