SanDisk Cruzer Blade 8GB USB Flash Drive Review

The SanDisk Cruzer Blade 8GB USB Flash Drive was purchased from Dick Smith Electronics on special last weekend for $17.88. An 8GB model for <$20 is a pretty good deal for your standard everyday flash drive – there are higher performance models available for only a fraction more, but they are only available from specialist computer retailers and/or online stores, requiring an additional $5 or so p&h.

The Cruzer Blade package is fairly minimalistic compared to past SanDisk products (Micro, Contour etc). The reverse side has basic warranty information in multiple languages. This model is apparently limited edition, but there seems to be no difference other than the body colour (other models are black). The flash drive measures in at 40 x 18 x 7.5mm (L x W x H). Keeping the flash drive attached to a lanyard is probably a good idea – unlike previous Cruzer models, the Blade is not supplied with one to keep costs down. The body is made of 2 molded plastic shells. Worryingly, the USB connector is molded into the plastic body and may be prone to damage. While it negates the need for an end cap, the connector is prone to flexing when inserting the flash drive into tighter USB ports. The plastic is reasonably flexible so it should survive everyday use with reasonable care. One other thing problem is the lack of a status LED. While modern OS’s allow hot-plugging USB devices, ┬ámore than enough people corrupt all their data by removing a flash drive while it is in the middle of a write operation.

I ran the Cruzer Blade through a suite of benchmarks to assess its performance. Long story short, the Cruzer Blade is a fairly average performer. In fact, the previous generation of SanDisk flash drives (Cruzer Micro) which the Cruzer Blade replaces is actually moderately faster. Also, be aware that performance may vary slightly between different capacity models (eg 8GB vs 16GB). With that said, on to the results (click to enlarge):

The first utility used to benchmark the Cruzer Blade is CrystalDiskMark 2.2. A total of three tests are run in read and write mode; 3 repetitions are averaged to give the final result. Sequential represents the maximum achievable speed if you were to copy large files to the drive. Random 512k and 4k are more realistic representations of speeds achievable during daily use. The Cruzer Blade manages a reasonable ~20MB in Sequential and 512K read but slows down significantly with smaller file sizes. As expected, the write speeds are significantly slower.

Next, ATTO Disk Benchmark was used to assess read and write speeds at different file sizes. Attainable read speeds vary from 1MB to 34MB/s, and 357KB/s to 4MB/s for write. The read speeds overall are decent, but write speeds for 16K and lower are lackluster. Performance for 64K to 8MB files is abysmal, clocking in at 2.6MB/s.

The following two tests with Flash Memory Toolkit 2.00 also present a similar story – good read, but poor write speeds:

Finally, HDTune Pro’s random access test is used to assess the Cruzer Blade’s random access speeds:

Once again, these results are fairly average. Portable applications will have no problems running from the Cruzer Blade and basic file transfers will complete reasonably quickly.

So how does the Cruzer Blade 8GB stack up? Overall performance is typical of most commonly available standard flash drives. Good read speeds, but write performance is a let down. Computer enthusiasts won’t be satisfied, but for the remaining 95% of the population, the Cruzer Blade will work just fine for everyday use and still kicks the pants off generic, no-name Chinese flash drives.

Pros:

  • Cheap (2GB models start at $3.99)
  • Small
  • No cap to lose and replace
  • Good read speeds

Mediocre

  • 2 year warranty
  • No lanyard provided

Cons:

  • Fragile plastic connector
  • No status indicator LEDs
  • Lackluster write speeds

One thought on “SanDisk Cruzer Blade 8GB USB Flash Drive Review”

  1. I am a SanDisk fan. I have always used there porudcts and have been happy with the speed and reliability that they offered. Recently I upgraded from the SanDisk Cruzer 16GB to the 32GB. Right away I noticed it was taking longer to move files. Also from time to time it would just stop during transfer. I left it on all night thinking it would finish and it never did. I Decommissioned that one and bought another a few months later locally this time. I figured I must have gotten a hold of a bad one. The new 32GB Cruzer did the same thing. I just worked around the issues and continued using it. I figured the 32gb model must be flawed in some way. Still being a fan of SanDisk Cruzers I just recently upgraded to the 64GB model. So far it hasn’t stopped during transfer but it still seemed to be taking to long. I decided to try a little test. I Purchased a Transcend 64GB thumb drive. I made a folder on my desktop and put 70 files of varying sizes equaling 4.03GB. I copied the folder to my SanDisk and timed it then I did the same with the Transcend. Here are the results:SanDisk Cruzer 64GB USB Flash Drive SDCZ36-064G-B35 transferring 70 files equaling 4.03GB it took 18.34 minutesTranscend 64 GB JetFlash 500 Retractable USB Flash Drive TS64GJF500E transferring the same took 13.43 minutesI can’t speak for the long term reliability of the Transcend thumb because this is the first I’ve owned. What I do know is that it has a good solid feel, it’s cheaper then the SanDisk of the same size, and it’s considerably faster. I’m going to continue testing this drive and it works out and I grow to trust it I will post again and let everyone know. For now I’m going to lean toward Transcend.

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