The recent emergence of USB-C connections on laptops (Macbook and Chromebook Pixel 2), as well as on the recently announced OnePlus 2, as well as Google’s announcement that they will be supporting USB-C on Nexus devices going forward, has led to some excitement. USB-C offers a standard connector type with high-data transfer speeds and in theory you should be able to plug in the cable first go every go.
The problem is, what about all those USB-A type Flash drives you’ve accumulated over the years (some with mini-USB connectors) are about to become obsolete.
Leading memory manufacturer Kingston has seen the writing on the wall, and they’re one of the first name-brand manufacturers to release a USB-A/USB-C dual drive – a drive that connects to your standard USB 2.0/3.0 port on your PC, as well as gives you a USB-C port to connect to your USB-C compatible phone, laptop or tablet.
The Kingston DataTraveller microDuo 3C was announced at Computex in Taipei in June, offering customers the option to connect a USB drive through OTG to their USB-C device. The drive is available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage sizes – not bad but it sure would be good to see a 128GB option made available down the track.
The Kingston DataTraveller microDuo 3C offers USB-3.0 speeds, meaning you can get read speeds at up to 100Mb/s, while writing can get to 15MB/s on USB 3.0 ports – that’s fast.
The Kingston DataTraveller microDuo 3C is a tiny little unit, the main body is essentially a metal USB-A connector with a USB-C connector on the end. The USB-C cover has a plastic cover which slides over the USB-C end and locks in place to cover it when not in use, then you simply slide it forward and lift it up to use the USB-C connector.
It’s a great little unit and feels well made. There’s a small rectangular ‘ring’ underneath which will allow you to attach it to a key fob or similar so you don’t lose it, because with its tiny size losing it is definitely a possibility.
Speed testing on the Kingston DataTraveller microDuo 3C is actually fairly hard, at least for the USB-C portion. On the USB-A the USB 3.0 speeds were fantastically fast, tests run in BlackMagic on a Macbook showed a blazingly fast drive that reads/writes as per reported spec, if not a little faster.
The issue with a USB-C drive right at the moment is I have only one device which uses it, the Chromebook Pixel 2. There are unfortunately no USB speed tests for ChromeOS. Sure, I could install Crouton and run a USB speed test, but I don’t generally use Crouton so I haven’t set it up. That said, the transfer/read speeds on the Kingston DataTraveller microDuo 3C feel fast. The drive works well and I could watch videos in ChromeOS from the drive with no issues and I could move files from the drive to the SSD on the Chromebook easily.
The Kingston DataTraveller microDuo 3C is more a future device at the moment. If you have a new Macbook or Chromebook Pixel 2 it’s great, if not, it’s not hugely necessary. All that said, in the next 3-6 months, it’s going to be an essential item for transferring data back and forth between devices.
Android Marshmallow appears to support USB-OTG with no additional futzing around, and if the port is there and there’s no need to use a USB-OTG cable then this will work out well for tablet users on long-haul flights wanting to watch movies, or work on documents from the drive.
At 16GB, or even 32GB it’s a bit limited, but the 64GB size is where it’s at. I like the idea of the Kingston DataTraveller microDuo 3C – it’s probably not a good buy today unless you have a device that supports USB-C but in the next few months, this will be where it’s at and Kinston are once again ahead of the curve.
Pricing and Availability
The Kingston DataTraveller microDuo 3C is available now, there’s a number of online and retail outlets you can grab one from and they’re relatively well priced. The 16GB drive is priced at $21, the 32GB at $32 and the 64GB will set you back just less than $1 per GB at $50. To grab a Kingston DataTraveller microDuo 3C you can check out any of these retailers: