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Hands-on review: PNY HP flash drives

22 Sep 2020

PNY sent over a selection of their new HP authorised flash drives for us to put through their paces.

The four review drives represent a cross-section of the range starting with the budget HP v150w, then the active-inspired HP v245w and up to the more corporate HP x796w and HP x760w.

As well as handling large volumes of data transmitted by faster and faster network and Internet speeds, we have shifted from the use of optical media (CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs) to the more convenient and discreet solid-state-based flash memory technology.

Whilst you can pick up a blister pack of unbranded 8GB flash drives down the post office, if you are dealing with important data, you probably want to use devices that have a better pedigree.  

PNY has been synonymous with high-quality PC components for years. The US company’s recent push into the A/NZ market has bought high-end PC DDR4 memory, graphics cards and flash memory to our shores.

Via a licencing deal with Hewlett Packard, PNY’s HP branded flash drives may just be the portable storage solution we’ve been waiting for. The flash drives come in capacities starting at 16GB all the way up to, a frankly astounding, 1TB. The drives sent for review were the 64GB versions.

I tested the drives using a PC running a Core i5 10600K and an Asus ROG STRIX Z490-E Gaming motherboard. 

HP v150w is a USB 2.0 cap-less flash drive with an unassuming black and blue plastic finish. The black part slides in to real the USB plug. There’s no cap, so don’t put it anywhere were filth and dust can get in it. The 64GB drive tested with a max read speed of 27.75 MB/s and a write speed of 15.49 MB/s. This makes it OK for storing a lot of data written and accessed in small chunks. Be mindful - at these speeds, in theory, it would take just under 40 minutes to read the full 64GB and over an hour to write 64GB. But, for under $10 a pop, that’s a lot of portable storage.

Next up, the HP v245w. These USB 2.0 flash drives sport a rubber finish with a rubber cap that fits snug into a T-shaped piece attached to the drive by a little chain. The cap is a bit annoying as it’s an odd shape that if fitted the wrong way around looks awkward. A bad bit of form over function design. These drives are supposed to be aimed at the outdoor active user. Whilst I’d expect them to be able to handle a bit of sweat and dirt with the cap on, I wouldn’t take your data for a dip in the water. Speed-wise, the drive had a reasonable read speed of 20.75 MB/s and a write of 15.10 MB/s.

PNY’s HP x760w flash drive is a USB 3.1 drive with a quality silver finish and a thin wire clip for… hanging on things. My advice, unless you are not really fussed about losing the flash drive, don’t hang in on your bag, keys or anywhere that it’s likely to get caught and ripped off. The drive just slots straight into your device.  There’s no cap so be mindful not to get dust and fluff in it.

The USB 3.1 spec affords the drive better speeds. I got a max read speed of 87.61 MB/s and a write speed of 38.92 MB/s.

The silver USB 3.1 HP x796w is the weightier, executive-level flash drive of the bunch. It’s got a slide-out interface, that’ll still fill with lint if you don’t look after it. Other than that, it’s a cracker. It also tested the fasted of all the HP drives. I got an impressive 151.44 MB/s read and a 72.92 MB/s write.   

Flash drives may just be the unsung heroes of portable storage. These tiny devices now have the capacity, convenience and speed to make that Blu-Ray drive in your PC (that you’ve probably forgotten about), well and truly redundant.