Kingston DT Mini Slim and DT 400 Review

by Reads (33,672)

by Jerry Jackson

Kingston recently released two new USB flash drives on the market: the DatatTraveler Mini Slim and the DataTraveler 400 with Symantec Pocket Disaster Recovery Kit. One flash drive is designed to be as small as possible for easy travel, the other is designed to recover your files and folders after a major computer failure. What makes these drives unique? Why consider either of them? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

 

DataTraveler Mini Slim drive specifications:

  • Capacities: 2GB and 4GB
  • Weight: 0.064 oz
  • Dimensions: 1.529" x 06.45" x 0.253" (38.85mm x 16.40mm x 6.44mm)
  • Operating Temperature: 32° F to 140° F (0° C to 60° C)
  • Storage Temperature: -4° F to 185° F (-20° C to 85° C)
  • Guaranteed: two-year warranty
  • Color options: black, blue, pink with grey bottom casing


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DataTraveler 400 drive specifications: 

  • Capacities: 2GB, 4GB, 8GB
  • Dimensions: 2.58 x 0.71 x 0.41"
  • Speed: data transfer rates of 20MB/sec. read and 10MB/sec. write
  • Enhanced for Windows ReadyBoost on Vista-based systems
  • Operating Temperature: 32° to 140° F
  • Storage Temperature: -4° to 185° F
  • Guaranteed: five-year warranty

Design and Features

The DataTraveler Mini Slim ($19 MSRP) is Kingston’s latest attempt to create a mini-sized USB Flash drive with colorful options at a low price for consumers. The DT Mini Slim gets its name from the super slim storage design. Rather than use a typical USB plug, the DT Mini Slim uses a low-profile USB plug (essentially just the lower half of the USB plug) that works with any standard USB port on your computer.


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Available in black, pink and blue with a grey bottom casing, DataTraveler Mini Slim is compact and easy to use. It also comes with Kingston’s two-year warranty and 24/7 tech support. Of course, the main reason that you’ll want to buy this drive is because it’s so small.

The latest update to the DataTraveler 400 ($35 MSRP) USB flash drive has a capless design that lets the USB connector swivel inside a metal frame for protection during transport. Not only does this design look good, but it solves the dilemma of losing USB end caps on other flash drives. Unlike "switchblade" type flash drives, there is no release switch to break or get stuck in the closed position. To extend the USB connector, you press on either side of the drive to slide the main part of the drive away from the protective frame. When you’re done, simply flip the drive back the way it was.


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The capless design of the DataTraveler 400 is something you can really appreciate if you’ve ever lost the USB end cap on another flash drive. The swivel design is so simple and so functional that I’m surprised more companies haven’t used a similar design. The external "frame" is aluminum surrounding a rubberized plastic body which gives the drive an overall rugged feel. The DataTraveler 400 is easy to hold, easy to swivel, and easy to use.

Unlike the original DT 400 that came with a copy of MigoSync software to allow you to syncronize multiple computers, the new DT 400 comes with the Symantec Pocket Disaster Recovery Kit, which we cover in more detail later in the review.

Performance

The big question you’re probably asking yourself is, "Why should I buy one of these USB flash drives instead of a generic USB flash drive I can find for less money?" Well, aside from the cool designs of these flash drives, Kingston generally does a better-than-average job when it comes to USB flash drive performance. Not all USB flash drives are created equal … even if they have the same capacity. Some drives have much slower data transfer speeds than others, which leads to decreased productivity (and increased frustration) as you have to wait for files to be copied from or written to the flash drive.

To test this, I compared both the Kingston USB flash drives against two other drives you might easily find. One of the drives is a 2GB flash drive that came as a free extra with a Lenovo computer. The other flash drive used in this test is a generic, no-name brand 1GB flash drive that sells for $5 next to the cash register at a local drugstore.

As indicated in the benchmark tests below, the Kingston drives performed quite well compared to the cheap or free flash drives you might find elsewhere. While neither Kingston flash drive "slaughtered" the competition it’s clear that the Kingston drives offer solid performance, particularly in terms of the read speed. Our standard benchmarks include ATTO and HDTune.

ATTO performance benchmark:


Kingston DT Mini Slim 4GB (view large image)
 
Kingston DT 400 4GB (view large image)

Lenovo 2GB Flash Drive(view large image)
 
Generic 1GB Flash Drive (view large image)

 

HDTune performance benchmark:


Kingston DT 400 4GB (view large image)
 
Kingston DT Mini Slim 4GB (view large image)

Lenovo 2GB Flash Drive (view large image)
 
Generic 1GB Flash Drive (view large image)

 

Symantec Pocket Disaster Recovery Kit

The Symantec Recovery Disk (SRD) lets you start a computer that can no longer run Windows. The Symantec Recovery Disk, included on the DataTraveler 400, also comes standard with Backup Exec System Recovery. When you boot your computer using the DataTraveler 400, a simplified version of Windows starts that runs a recovery environment. In the recovery environment, you can access the recovery features of Backup Exec System Recovery.


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To start your computer by using the Symantec Recovery Disk:

  1. Insert the Backup Exec System Recovery SRD flash drive into the USB port of the computer. If you store your recovery points on another USB device (e.g. external hard drive), attach the device after the SRD begins loading.
  2. Restart the computer and watch the monitor for on-screen instructions to start the recovery environment.
  3. Read the license agreement, and then click Accept.

If you decline, you cannot start the recovery environment, and your computer will restart. 

If you cannot start the computer from the flash drive, you might need to change the startup settings on your computer. 

To configure your computer to boot from a USB flash drive:

  1. Turn on your computer.
  2. As the computer starts, watch the bottom of the screen for a prompt that tells you how to access the BIOS setup. Generally, you need to press function key to start your computer’s BIOS setup program.
  3. In the BIOS setup window, select the option to change your Boot Sequence and then press Enter.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to make the flash drive the first bootable device in the list.
  5. Save the changes and exit the BIOS setup to restart the computer with the new settings.

To recover your computer:

  1. Start the computer by using the Symantec Recovery Disk.
  2. On the Home panel, click Recover My Computer. The flash drive that contains your SRD can also be used to store your recovery points. However, if your recovery points are stored on a separate flash drive, and you only have one drive, you can eject the Symantec Recovery Disk flash drive now. Insert the flash drive that contains your recovery points.
  3. On the Welcome page of the wizard, click Next. If the Symantec Recovery Disk cannot locate any recovery points, you are prompted to locate one.
  4. Select the drive that you want to recover. If you are recovering your computer, select the drive on which Windows is installed. On most computer systems, this drive is the C drive. In the recovery environment, the drive letters and labels might not match what appears in Windows. You might need to identify the correct drive based on its label, the name assigned to it, or by browsing the files and folders in the recovery point.
  5. If you need to delete a drive to make space available to restore your recovery point, click Delete Drive. When you click Delete Drive, the drive is only marked for deletion. The actual deletion of the drive takes place after you click Finish in the wizard. If you change your mind before you click Finish, go back to the Target Drive page of the wizard, and then click Undo Delete.
  6. Click Next, and then select the options that you want to perform during the recovery process
  7. The options that are available depend on the restore destination that you selected.
  8. Click Next to review the restore options that you selected.
  9. Check Reboot when finished if you want the computer to restart automatically after the recovery process finishes.
  10. Click Finish.
  11. Click Yes to restore the drive.

Yes, that seems like an very lengthy and complex recovery process when I’ve written it all out. However, you can trust me when I say it’s actually a surprisingly easy way to recover a crashed computer … and a nice added value to have on the DataTraveler 400 flash drive.



Conclusion

The DataTraveler Mini Slim and updated DataTraveler 400 are both excellent USB flash drives that offer a number of features for different users. The low-profile design of the Mini Slim makes this drive an ideal companion for laptop users who are constantly on the move and don’t have much room to spare inside their bag (or pockets). The Symantec Pocket Disaster Recovery Kit included with the new DT 400 allows accident-prone users to salvage their files and folders after a major computer error.

In short, the latest batch of Kingston USB flash drives continue to provide performance, stylish design, and helpful features at reasonable prices. While you can still find slightly cheaper drives in some stores, these drives are reasonably priced and many people will find the performance and features worth the modest price premium.

Pros

  • Both Kingston drives are reasonably fast
  • Durable, capless design of DT 400
  • Amazingly compact design of the DT Mini Slim
  • Symantec Pocket Diasaster Recovery Kit on the DT 400 is a nice extra

Cons

  • The DT 400 is a physically large flash drive … larger than it needs to be
  • The DT Mini Slim is so small it’s like a postage stamp … maybe too small for some
  • Not the cheapest drives you can find


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