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Road Tested: LaCie iamaKey, the USB flash drive you'll actually use

USB flash drives are a dime a dozen. They've gone from being a "wow" item a few years ago to a throwaway handout item. Many are cheap plastic devices that either come with a neck lanyard attached or with a small loop for attaching to a key ring. More often than not, they end up falling to pieces or getting lost.

The new LaCie iamaKey (highlighted above) is a USB 2.0 flash drive you'll actually use. Rather than being made out of plastic, it's made of solid metal. Rather than having a useless lanyard attached, there's a hole in the metal so you can put it on a key ring. It's about the size and shape of a key, so it's not out of place on a key ring.

iamaKey came with a tiny plastic cap that covered the connector. Of course, after about 15 minutes the cap disappeared. I was concerned about that until finding out that iamaKey uses a gold SIP connector that resists scratches and water. You don't need the cap at all.

So, does it still work after almost two months of riding around in a pocket with a bunch of other keys and change? Absolutely! It's been dropped multiple times, it's gotten soaked in the pocket of a pair of jeans I was wearing during a sudden downpour, and it's put up with winter cold while I've been out walking. iamaKey is rugged and fast, with up to 30 MB/s read rates and 10 MB/s write speeds.

iamaKey comes in 4 GB (US$19.99) and 8 GB (US$29.99) flavors. LaCie also sells the less rugged and larger itsaKey, which retails for US$3 less than iamaKey.

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