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LaCie XtremKey all-terrain USB flash drive

Freeze it, cook it, dunk it, thump it

Fatboy slim?

The round base of the XtremKey’s USB drive component looks like it could cause a few problems on laptops, but it had just enough clearance, the only obvious issue here being connecting it to the USB port on an Apple low-profile keyboard, as it lifts the corner slightly. Plugging in to MacBook Pro, with its notoriously cramped USB port spacing, proved hassle-free too, which was a surprise. The XtremKey is deceptively slim, allowing enough space for cables to be plumbed in to adjacent ports.

LaCie XtremKey

Hard, but not so fast

Perhaps the most curious aspect of the XtremKey was that the device itself gets rather hot. The flat metal shaft housing the flash chippery dissipates a fair amount of heat in use, which may be a good thing for longevity and no doubt something typical plastic thumb drives insulate against.

There is a hardy wire ring to attach it externally and this can be unscrewed and removed. Given all the trouble gone into protecting the drive, I’d not be inclined to trust leaving it to dangle. Having it in the pocket seems more secure, although the XtremKey is a bit of a lump and rather than having the appearance of carrying treasured data, some may presume you’re just pleased to see them.

Verdict

Protection against the elements aside, it’s in the environment of the pocket, alongside keys and coins, where most USB flash drives come to grief. No matter what the conditions, if you carry data with you all the time and are weary of drive disintegration, LaCie’s XtremKey could be just what you’re looking for, but it'll cost ya. ®

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LaCie XtremKey

LaCie XtremKey all-terrain USB flash drive

USB flash drive with a full metal jacket.
Price: £45 (8GB), £70 (16GB), £110 (32GB), £195 (64GB) RRP