Lexar JumpDrive Secure II Plus USB Flash Drive Review

by Reads (25,057)

by Gautam Jagannath

The Lexar JumpDrive Secure II series replaces the previous Secure line of USB thumb drives by offering a visual capacity meter in addition to the standard security software.  This is exactly what makes the Secure II Plus a unique addition to a smorgasbord of USB keys. The capacity meter requires no batteries or drivers and will display persistently regardless of usage status. It’s really quite unique to see this novelty feature. The JumpDrive Secure line has been known for fast, high end USB drives. The test unit used here was a 1GB model, which retails for around $30. However, the Secure II series is available in 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, 4GB and soon in 8GB capacities.


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Features

  • On-board, ten-bar capacity meter that displays approximate free space and space consumed. Meter functions while attached to a USB port and even when disconnected.
  • Dashboard Software that features encrypted vaults, 256-bit AES encryption, and file shredding.
  • Two-Year Warranty

Design

The Secure II is a very elegant USB drive. It feels very light and firm. It is constructed with high grade plastic that will withstand substantial shock and pressure from being in a purse, pocket or briefcase. The end cap snugly attaches to the main drive, and has a handy hole to thread a key chain or lanyard through (The lanyard is not included).

The Secure II is also a bit wider (by a mere millimeter or so) than the generic free-after-rebate competitor seen in the comparison photos. I believe this extra girth adds to the structural integrity of the unit, while giving it a firm feel.


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Compatibility

The Lexar Secure II is compatible with Windows Vista, XP and Mac OS X. Of course, the USB drive works under all Linux distributions as well, but that isn’t touted as a compatibility feature. This is perhaps because the Dashboard security software works solely with Windows and Macs. Lexar specifically highlights the Secure II’s Vista compatibility since it meets and exceeds Vista’s ReadyBoost speed requirements.

“Dashboard” Secure II Software

The Dashboard software provided allows users to create encrypted vaults, encrypt files, and shred them. The software principally made for Windows, but it runs on a Mac with some driver installation. The software allows users to create separate vaults that are secured via password protection. These ‘vaults’  are mounted as separate drives with their own drive letters. Passwords are unfortunately a minimum of eight characters in length, but this is a mixed blessing since longer passwords correlate with increased cipher strength. Files can be encrypted on the fly using a 256-bit AES algorithm. This is an industry standard encryption strength which is strong enough for all business and personal applications. To round off the feature set, Lexar provides a shred function which allows for a relatively irrecoverable delete.


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If a user were to erase the Dashboard software, for example via a format, the software is not publicly available for download. I contacted Lexar’s customer service online through their real-time chat room, and their tech support representative promptly gave me an FTP link to download the appropriate software.

Benchmarks

The Lexar Secure II outperforms the “budget” drive seen in the pictorial comparison in every category. The Windows benchmarks were performed with the industry standard I/O benchmarking tool, Sisoft Sandra using ~500MB test files. Linux benchmarks on ~50MB files were used to verify the Windows ones and give consistency across operating systems.

Windows

SiSoft Sisandra Lite

Benchmarks

Lexar JumpDrive Secure II “Generic” USB Drive Windows Vista ReadyBoost Demands
Capacity 1 GB 1 GB 256 MB +
Buffered/Sequential/Random Reads 15 MB/s 10 MB/s 2.5 MB/s +
Sequential Write 4 MB/s 3.6 MB/s 1.75 MB/s +
Random Write 2.5 MB/s 3.4 MB/s 0.5 MB/s +
Access (Seek) Time < 1ms 1 ms 1 ms

n=4

Vista’s ReadyBoost demands are easily met by the Secure II, while more importantly, the Lexar drive is considerably faster than the cheaper USB drive, and presumably other cheaper USB sticks as well.

Linux

hdparm Benchmarks Lexar JumpDrive Secure II “Generic” USB Drive
 Buffered Disk Reads 15 MB/s 11 MB/s

n = 5, s.d < 0.05, mean & median = 10.8

Linux benchmarks show a slight advantage over Windows for a multitude of reasons, but the important factor is that the values are very similar (or the same) as the Windows ones with little deviation from the mean.

The Lexar JumpDrive Secure II USB Flash Drive is a great choice for all users, especially the business professional who demands secure data transfers. The capacity meter is a great addition, and while it is fancy and unique, it is a still just a novelty. However, strong build quality, design, performance and warranty make this a top contender among the variety of USB drives on the market.

 

Pros Cons
Persistent capacity meter displays storage space when unplugged from USB port Relatively sluggish Secure Vault performance
Elegant, fast and sturdy Vault software under Mac OS X not plug and play
2 Year Warranty  


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