Tag Archives: Usb

Google Engineer Warns Against Phones With Both USB-C and QuickCharge 3.0

Google Engineer Warns Against Phones With Both USB-C and QuickCharge 3.0

We’ve mentioned before that some early USB-C cables aren’t built to specification and could damage your hardware. Turns out, the same may be true of some phones that include a USB-C port and support Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 technology.

As Google engineer Benson Leung explains, Qualcomm’s new QuickCharge 3.0 technology is fundamentally at odds with the USB-C spec. You can read the technical details at the source link below, but the gist is that Qualcomm bends the rules in order to make its quick charging technology possible. Currently, the LG G5 and the new HTC 10 both employ these contradictory technologies at the same time. Quick chargers already come with their own set of downsides to begin with. While they may be worth the risk normally, it might be worth considering the dangers of conflicting specs in your device.

Can Qualcomm QC and USB Type-C coexist on the same connector? | Google+ via Android Police

Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Das Keyboard’s Division Zero Is Gaming Gear that Makes Work Fun Too

Das Keyboard’s Division Zero Is Gaming Gear that Makes Work Fun Too

PC gaming gear can be fun, and even help you be more productive, but it’s rare to find ones designed to be customizable and high-performance for gaming but equally useful when it’s time to get things done. Das Keyboard’s new gaming line, Division Zero, manages both, with some caveats.

The Lineup

Division Zero is Das Keyboard’s first foray into gaming peripherals, a market already saturated by big names and popular brands. That doesn’t mean they didn’t bring solid gear to the table, but it does mean you have to weigh it against some well-known competition. Here’s the lineup:

  • The X40 Pro gaming keyboard ($149) is a low-rise, metal mechanical keyboard fitted with custom “Alpha-Zulu” switches. It features changeable aluminum top plates to customize the look of the keyboard, and red LED backlighting behind the keys turns itself off when idle. There’s a spare USB 2.0 port, and audio passthrough so you can plug in a microphone and headphones—which means you also have analog audio cables to plug into your PC, but you don’t have to use them.
  • The M50 Pro gaming mouse ($79) features an ambidextrous design, a 6400 DPI laser sensor, on the fly DPI control settings, and nine programmable macro buttons. It also features on-board memory to remember those macros and your per-application (or per-game) profiles, and a tilt-scroll wheel with multiple degrees of motion side-to-side.
  • The 47W Surface is Das’s flexible mousepad, designed for use with the M50, comes in three flavors, the Flex ($19), Control ($19), and Speed ($29). Das sent us the Control version, and it works beautifully with other mice as well as the M50. It’s a textured mousepad, thinner than a sheet of paper but even more flexible, and features a grippy underside that makes sure it won’t move, no matter how hard you move your mouse.

All in all, their prices are on par with other PC gaming peripherals: Pricey. If you’re rocking the keyboard and mouse that came with your PC, these aren’t for you. However, if you love features like programmable macro buttons, LED backlighting, customizable profiles, and sharp, enthusiast-focused design, then it’s nothing you’re not used to. If you’re a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, well. You’re definitely used to playing this much for a keyboard.

Where They Excel

After using all three, it’s safe to say they shine both for gaming and for getting work done, which is exactly how I prefer my peripherals. I want them to pull double duty on my desk, and for the amount of money you’d spend, you probably would too. They’re not perfect though, and have some glaring drawbacks that should make you think before pulling out your wallet. Let’s break them down into three big categories: build quality, customization, and usability, with special attention to those fancy custom switches.

Build Quality

Das Keyboard’s Division Zero Is Gaming Gear that Makes Work Fun Too
A mess of cables, but all braided, fabric-wrapped, and with their own velcro for easy management.

Both the X40 and the M50 are sturdy and feel like you could put them through a long gaming session or an arduous workday. That’s exactly what I did, since my work and gaming are in the same physical place. I wound up using the X40 and the M50 for work all day writing, and I would swap them over to my gaming PC for a few hours of blissful, cathartic destruction, puzzle solving, and exploration. The X40′s aluminum build and heavy body served it a little better than the M50′s mostly plastic (but still heavy) build. The braided cloth cables on both are great for keeping dust away and avoiding tangles, and the cords are nice and long with velcro wraps to keep the slack managed.

http://lifehacker.com/the-logitech-m…

The M50 is a quality ambidextrous gaming mouse, which is nice to see. I found the scroll wheel really stiff and tough use (especially compared to the Logitech MX Master I use for work and the Logitech Proteus Core I use for gaming) but it loosened up over time (or maybe I just got used to it.) The 47W is grippy and won’t move or slide around even a smooth desk surface (like mine), and is large and nicely sized.

Customization and Key Macros

If you’re going to spend this much on gear, you may as well get the most possible use out of their customization features. The programmable macro keys work with third-party tools like AutoHotkey, which we’ve shown you how to use with your gaming gear, by the way, just as well as Das Keyboard’s own software.

http://lifehacker.com/why-i-started-…

In Windows, all you need to do is press Fn + F12 to enable macro recording. Making the special buttons on the X40 and the M50 do whatever you want them to do, whether it’s an Excel macro or a spell rotation, is easy. If you prefer to use AutoHotKey or another utility, it’s just as simple—just tap the button you’d like to assign the action to, program it, and away you go. You can easily turn the five programmable keys on the left side of the X40 into web browsing actions or music controls (technically there are function keys for that, although I miss the Das Keyboard 4′s hardware audio controls and volume knob) and then switch them out for weapon loadouts in your favorite shooter or attack rotations in an MMO.

The other big customization feature on the X40 is one that’ll cost you money: aluminum top panels for your keyboard. Das sent us two to switch out with the default aluminum silver: the “Defamer” in mustard, and the “Stryker” in red. Both have subtly different designs, and there’s also a Defamer in silver and a Stryker in olive green if you prefer those colors. Each additional panel will set you back $39, which is a lot, but if a fresh top panel will give you that fresh-keyboard-feeling without actually buying a new keyboard, we say go for it and swap them out when the mood strikes.

Usability

Das Keyboard’s Division Zero Is Gaming Gear that Makes Work Fun Too
Each keyboard proudly displays the switch you chose. Linear is off-white, tactile is green.

Speaking of the keys on the X40, we discuss those new Alpha-Zulu mechanical switches that Das is so proud of. The switches come in “linear” and “tactile,” both offering the same 1.7mm travel distance and 45g actuation force, but the difference is how the two feel. The linear switches aren’t tactile or clicky, and the tactile ones still aren’t clicky, but they do require a little extra force to engage the key halfway through the travel distance. What that all means for you is that the “tactile” ones are for gamers used to half-pressing their keys and then engaging them fully at just the right time, while the linear ones are for people who hold those keys down and rely on long-presses. I tested the linear switches.

The switches are great, but they’re not perfect. They’re quiet but satisfying, and give you the depth and key traversal you want from a mechanical, but without the audible “clack-clack” that often comes with. However, if you’re a Cherry MX lover and you love that audible click, you’ll miss it. If you use the linear model and miss feeling the actuation point, you’ll miss that too.

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-choose-…

When I switched between the X40 and my trusty Corsair K70 with Cherry MX Red keys, I definitely missed the sound, but after even a few days I was more than used to the quieter profile. (Which was especially nice, since the linear switches are similar to the MX Red.) They won’t drive you or anyone else nearby nuts while you work, and they’re still fun to play on.

Where They Fall Short

Das Keyboard’s Division Zero Is Gaming Gear that Makes Work Fun Too
Even in low light, the keyboard is somewhat weak, but the mouse pulses brightly.

Division Zero line has its strengths, but it also has weaknesses. We wouldn’t be writing about it if we thought it sucked, but there are some things you should pay attention to if you’re thinking about buying.

  • The LED backlighting is weak, and not just brightness-wise. The mouse’s LED is bright and strong, but the keyboard’s LED backlighting is dimmer and nothing to write home about. It’s decent, but it’s all red, and in an age of RGB keyboards, it’s a bit of a bummer that you can’t customize the colors (especially at this price.) Plus, it’s not per-key backlighting, so keep that in mind. That all said, it looks nice behind the aluminum backplates, but consider that you can get more customization, colors, and brighter LEDs for less.
  • The price. Das’ Division Zero line is new, and as with all PC peripherals, they’re more expensive today than they’ll ever be. The X40 is $149, the M50 is $79, and the custom faceplates are $39 each. That’s a lot of money, especially considering most of the keyboards the X40 is competing with, like the Razer Deathstalker, the Rosewill RK-9000, and some other entry level mechanicals are all closer to $99. Similar mice to the M50, like the Logitech Proteus Core and the Razer Deathadder, are both slightly cheaper, closer to $70. It’s a tough sell, but expect to see prices come down as Amazon and other retailers get their hands on these and start competing for business.
  • The keyboard’s single USB 2.0 port and extra cables. This is a bit of a nitpick for me, but since I generally don’t use audio passthrough on a keyboard, the analog audio cables on the X40 were just wasted space, velcroed together on top of my desk. It’s a nice feature to have, but I just don’t know many people buying a keyboard wishing they could plug their headset into it. I would have much rather had a second USB port right next to it, get hardware audio and volume controls, or have that port be USB 3.0 instead of 2.0.

These drawbacks may be dealbreakers for some of you—especially the price. If you don’t mind splurging, or you’ll use yours for gaming and for work, then they may be a good buy, especially when compared to its more popular—and in some cases more affordable—competition.

The Bottom Line: Pricey, but Sturdy, Sharp, and Fun to Use

Das Keyboard’s Division Zero Is Gaming Gear that Makes Work Fun Too
The “Defamer” keyboard cover, which includes the wrench required to swap top plates.

So that leaves us with the big question: Should you buy these? Well, we can definitely recommend the 47W mousepad and the X40 keyboard. The M50 is a little trickier to tell you to buy.

The mousepad is huge and grippy, and will probably stay on my desk long after the M50 makes its exit in favor of the less-ambidextrous but smoother-to-use Proteus Core, which is still my favorite mouse for gaming right now, and I’ll probably continue to use my MX Master for work. In short, the M50 is great, and great for lefties or people who just prefer an ambidextrous mouse, but it’s stiff, a little heavy, and while it glides across your desk easily enough and has all the right DPI settings, I still felt myself missing the button layout of the Proteus Core, and if I had to run out and choose one from a store shelf, the Proteus Core is cheaper.

Getting back to the 47W control surface though: You’ll have to choose the surface you think is best for you. I liked the Control surface a lot, and the price there is about right for a “gaming” mousepad, if that’s what you want. If you don’t though, well, it’s an easy one to skip.

The X40 is a bigger deal though. I liked it, enough to push over my Corsair K70 sometimes. I like the idea of the changeable top plates, but I’m also a sucker for customization like that. Little ways to make something you own feel brand new are a great way to spend a little where you could have spent a lot. However, the X40 is definitely missing things I miss from other keyboards. And like the others here, it’s pricey. Even so, it’s fun to use, great to type on and play on, and it’s the first keyboard in a while that I enjoyed writing on as much as I enjoyed gaming on. If you can try it before you buy, definitely do, and make your own decision, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

The Kenu Car Kit Keeps Your Phone (and a Friend’s) Mounted And Powered Anywhere You Go

The Kenu Car Kit Keeps Your Phone (and a Friend's) Mounted And Powered Anywhere You Go

The Kenu Airframe is one of our favorite smartphone car mounts, but the team behind it just unveiled a new car kit that includes an Airframe+, capable of securing large phones like the Nexus 6P, and their new DualTrip fast phone charger, which can charge your phone and a passenger’s while you drive.

http://lifehacker.com/five-best-car-…

Kenu sent me the Airframe Car Kit before it launched to try out, and it includes two parts: the Airframe+, and the brand new DualTrip USB car charger. Together they’ll set you back $40 (direct or at Amazon.)

The Airframe+ itself is the car charger you may already know: It mounts to your air vent using a set of rubberized “legs” on the back of the mount, and the spring-loaded slider holds any size device, and keeps your phone firm and snug. It works in portrait or landscape mode, your choice. As long as you’re okay losing an air vent (and I’m more okay now, in the winter, than in the summer), the Airframe can keep your phone mounted and secure. After hours of driving, sometimes on bumpy roads, the Airframe kept my phone in place without moving, which was nice, and I could use my phone’s side buttons if I needed to. The fact that it’s so small also means it’s easy to slip in a pocket, or inconspicuous if you leave it in the car.

The DualTrip on the other hand is a quick charger with two USB ports (you’ll have to bring your own USB cables, we should note) capable of 2.4A from each port, which means it’ll charge tablets and other big batteries quickly, even if you’re using both ports—you don’t take a hit to current by using both simultaneously.Its long shape sticks out from your car’s power outlet a bit, and you should make sure there’s room for your cables when you plug it in. In one car I drove, the outlet is in a semi-narrow spot, so my USB cables were a little awkward and snug and could only fit one way, but it was a minor quibble.

Bottom line, the Airframe Car Kit doesn’t do anything drastically different from existing USB car chargers and phone mounts, but it puts both pieces of the puzzle into one package, which is great if you only have one or the other, or if yours could use an upgrade. Also, if the sound of those dual 2.4A ports is good to you, or you wonder why current car charger is so slow, this is worth a look. Even if you have a charger you like but no reliable mount, the Airframe+ makes it worth a look. The kit comes with the Airframe+, which supports phones up to 6”. If you have a smaller phone (5” or less,) you’ll want the original Airframe, and the DualTrip separately. Hit the link below to check it all out.

Airframe+ Car Kit ($40) | Kenu

How to Burn OS X El Capitan to a USB Flash Drive

How to Burn OS X El Capitan to a USB Flash Drive

It’s easy enough to upgrade to OS X El Capitan from the App Store, but downloading the software multiple times isn’t a great idea if you have more than one Mac, or a Hackintosh. Here’s how to burn El Capitan to a USB drive instead.

As with all OS X upgrades, once you run the installer on your system, it disappears from the Applications folder. You can get it back by holding down the Option key while clicking on the App Store’s Purchases tab to re-download the file, but to save you time, it’s best to put it on a USB before you update your Mac.

The Easy Option: Diskmaker X

As has been the case for the last few releases of OS X, the easiest method to make a USB install drive is with the free program, Diskmaker X. We’re still waiting on the official update to support El Capitan, but you can finagle the old version to work pretty easily.

  1. Download the El Capitan installer and Diskmaker X.
  2. Insert an 8GB (or larger) flash drive. If you have any other data on that flash drive, back it up now, because the installer will delete everything on it.
  3. Start DiskMaker X, choose Yosemite from the list of options.
  4. Click on “Select an Install File…”
  5. Navigate to your Applications folder and select the Install OS X El Capitan.app file.
  6. Wait for Diskmaker to do its thing, this can take a while, so be patient.

When it’s done, you can insert your USB drive into any Mac and then launch the installer by holding down the Option key when you boot up your computer.

The DIY Option: Terminal

If you don’t want to use Diskmaker, you can burn it for yourself with no extra software and a simple Terminal command.

  1. Download the El Capitan installer.
  2. Insert an 8GB (or larger) flash drive and give it a name. For this tutorial, we’ll use the name Untitled. Make sure the drive is formatted for OS X Extended (Journaled). If it isn’t, open up Disk Utility and format is so it is. Before you do so, back up any important data on that drive.
  3. Open up Terminal (Applications > Utilities).
  4. Type (or copy and paste) this command into Terminal, replacing Untitled with the name of your drive, then press Enter: sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app --nointeraction
  5. Type in your password when prompted and press Enter.
  6. Let the command line to its work and don’t interrupt it until you see the final line that says Done. This can take up to a half hour, so be patient.

When it’s done, you can insert your USB drive into any Mac and the launch the installer by holding down the Option key when you boot up your computer.

Most Popular USB 3.0 Flash Drive: SanDisk Ultra Fit

Most Popular USB 3.0 Flash Drive: SanDisk Ultra Fit

When it comes to choosing a great USB flash drive, you need a few things: speed, portability, flexibility, storage, and affordability. We asked you for the drives that fit the bill, then looked at the five best USB 3.0 flash drives and put them to a vote. Now we’re back to highlight your favorite.

Most Popular USB 3.0 Flash Drive: SanDisk Ultra Fit

Apparently size does matter, because the SanDisk Ultra Fit took the top spot, but only by two freaking votes when the poll closed. At the end of the day, it’s huge capacity and tiny footprint—as in, “leave it in your laptop while you carry it around” small, earned 28.3% of the votes cast. The fact that many of you reported heat issues with them, and difficulty removing them when you needed to, didn’t sway many of you.

For those of you who were swayed though, you chose the more modest, but also more rugged and attractive Kingston Digital Data Traveler, which fell to second place by, like we said, two votes, earning 28.2% of the votes cast. All-aluminum with a ring on the back that’s perfect for a keychain or a carry-all bag, the Kingston earned your praise for being fast and reliable. Third place and 25% of the votes cast went to the SanDisk Extreme. Many of you pointed out that it’s a bit big, especially if you’re looking for something to carry around with you every day, but it’s read and write speeds are unmatched, and it’s one of the fastest drives you’ve ever used. Fourth place and over 10% of the vote went to the Corsair Flash Voyager Go, complete with both USB and microUSB ports and OTG compatibility so it’s rugged enough to travel but great for use with laptops and Android devices that support OTG. Finally, bringing up the rear with just shy of 8% of the vote was the PNY Turbo, a super affordable and portable USB 3.0 flash drive that’ll get the job done without breaking your wallet.

For more on each of these and the honorable mentions not listed here, make sure to head back to the full Hive Five feature to read more.

The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn’t get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it’s a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at tips+hivefive@lifehacker.com!

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

With the convenience of cloud storage, USB flash drives might seem like old news, but the best are portable, fast, near-indestructible, and offer tons of space—enough that they’re worth having. This week we’re looking at five of the best, based on your nominations.

Earlier in the week we asked you to tell us which USB 3.0 flash drives were the best. Maybe they were super tiny and portable, but packed huge storage for those files that are just too big for cloud storage. Maybe you just carry them around for access to important files on the go that you don’t trust the cloud with. Maybe they were just super cheap and had cool features like regular and mini USB ports.

http://lifehacker.com/whats-the-best…

We got tons of nominees, but as always we only have room for the top five (so make sure to head back to the call for contenders to see more options!) Here they are, in no particular order:

Kingston Digital 64GB Data Traveler USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

Kingston’s Digital Data Traveler line of USB 3.0 flash drives are affordable, high-capacity, and totally portable. The photo above kind of tells the tale, too. The all-aluminum casing makes it just durable enough to go on a keychain and stand up to the drops and bumps your keyring might take, but it’s small enough to fit smoothly into a USB port anywhere without blocking adjacent ports. It’s fast and backwards compatible, thanks to the requirement that all of our contenders be USB 3.0, and it even comes with a five year warranty. The model above is Kingston’s 64GB version, which will set you back $30 at Amazon. If you prefer, you can grab 32GB or 16GB versions from Amazon for a little less, or head over to Kingston direct to buy their 128GB version—all in the same form factor, of course.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SOL9Z1M/

Those of you who nominated the Kingston Data Traveler praised its form factor and portability, and specifically loved the shape and form factor. Many of you said you kept yours on a keyring, others said you just liked how small it was for the amount of storage it offered. You universally loved the aluminum casing, saying that you’ve broken or damaged so many cheap plastic drives over the years that it was refreshing having a drive that last for years without breaking. You can read more personal stories and praises in its nomination thread here.


SanDisk Extreme 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

SanDisk makes some great SD cards, but they also make some of the fastest USB 3.0 flash drives on the market. The SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 64GB flash drive (shown above) boasts transfer speeds of 245 MB/s read and 190 MB/s write; pretty speedy even compared to some of SanDisk’s other drives (and more on that later.) The drive is on the large side, and definitely a stick you’ll want to keep in a bag until you need it plugged in, but the retractable USB port makes sure that it’s never damaged and kept safe for when you need to use the drive. If you’re interested, the 64GB version costs $35 at Amazon, with 32GB and 16GB versions available for a little less.

http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Extrem…

Those of you who nominated the SanDisk Extreme praised its super high transfer speeds, and its retractable USB plug, both for keeping the port safe and clear of debris while you’re transporting the drive, but also for being a fun little fidget when you have nothing else to do with your hands. Plus, getting those transfer speeds for that price is a welcome thing, especially when you have a lot of data to move around. A few of you noted that you use yours as a USB installation drive, which is a great use case for when that added speed can actually make a difference. Some of you noted that it’s a bit bigger than a lot of drives these days though, so it’s easy to break if you’re not careful, and it might not be for you if you’re rough on your drives. You can read more in its nomination thread here, or this thread here.


PNY Turbo 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

PNY is well known for affordable storage and memory, and their USB 3.0 flash drives are no exception. PNY’s Turbo USB 3.0 line of flash drives are portable and tiny, easily stored in a pocket or anywhere in a laptop bag, boast solid and speedy transfer rates, and come in sizes big enough to carry just about anything you might need. We’re highlighting the 64GB version above, which will set you back a mere $20 at Amazon. In reality, it was the $30 128GB version that turned up in the nominations thread, which should point out exactly how price competitive these little things really are. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles here though, which is how the price stays down. It’s simple, affordable storage in a plastic housing with a cap to keep the USB plug clean while you carry it around with you. Either way though, if you need storage on the cheap, this is the way to go. If you’re not interested in the 64GB of 128GB version, there are cheaper 16GB and 32GB versions, and a massive 256GB version for a pretty impressive $73 bucks.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FDUHDAC/…

Those of you who nominated the PNY Turbo pointed out that it’s hard to beat storage this cheap, even when it comes with caveats sometimes—some of you mentioned that these drives have failed you in the past, with seemingly-random disconnects and other issues. Others said you’ve had yours for ages with no issues or problems. Some of you noted that this has been so far your first and only USB 3.0 drive, and you’re pleased with the transfer speeds and the form factor—it has all the space of an external drive with none of the space. Many of you pointed out that you’ve frequently seen these on sale via Kinja Deals, and that’s how you pick them up so affordably. In any event, you can read all of those experiences, good and bad, in its nomination thread here.


Corsair Flash Voyager Go 64GB OTG Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

If you’re looking for a USB 3.0 flash drive that works well with your computer, whether it’s a Mac or a PC, and with your Android phone or tablet, the Corsair Voyager Go is a great option. You get 64GB in a tiny, rugged package with an aluminum case and a carrying strap that can connect to your keychain, or is small enough to fit pretty much anywhere you need to take it. After all, the thing is only about 37mm long. It also comes with an included adapter that switches the USB 3.0 port to micro USB, so any Android device that supports OTG (On-The-Go) will work with it and see it as added storage. Best of all, the cross-compatibility between desktops (and desktop operating systems) and mobile devices, storage, and portability won’t cost you more money—it’s only about $30 at Amazon. If you don’t need as much space, you can save a few bucks with the 32GB of 16GB versions. Hell, the whole thing even comes with extra caps in case you lose the included one. That’s a nice touch.

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Voyage…

Those of you who nominated the Voyager Go praised it for offering USB 3.0 and microUSB in the same stick, being small enough to slip in your everyday carry bag or attach to your keychain, and for offering features you just can’t get on other drives without jacking up the price to get it. You praised it for not requiring drivers or apps or anything like that to work on your desktop or your smartphone or tablet. In fact, none of you even mentioned downsides. You can check out the nomination thread here.


SanDisk Ultra Fit 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

For the ultimate in portability—the kind that I remember seeing mockups of on tech blogs years ago wondering if “flash drives could ever get that small,”—the SanDisk Ultra Fit is an amazing option. So small it barely sticks out of the USB drive you plug it into (its size is akin to the Logitech Unifying Receiver, if you’re more familiar with that), the Ultra Fit comes in a variety of storage options, none of which change the basic form factor. The 64GB version shown above is a mere $23 at Amazon, while the more massive (and more popular) 128GB version is only $44. All models are USB 3.0 and boast great transfer speeds, carry a five year warranty, and even come with a little protective cap to keep the USB jack clean when it’s not in use.

http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Ultra-…

Those of you who nominated the Ultra Fit line of drives pointed out that the profile is so low and these drives are so small that many of you just leave them in your laptops and computers for added storage at the cost of a USB port. It’s small enough you don’t even have to take the drive out when you pack up your laptop to travel. Some of you did note that they can be tricky to remove though, especially when flush against a USB port, since there’s nowhere to really “grip” them, as it were, and others of you noted that while USB 3.0 speeds were great, if you’re using this in a USB 2.0 port, it’s unfortunately slow. Others noted that these things get super hot for their size, so take that into consideration too. You can read all about it in its nomination thread here.


Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to put them to an all-out vote to decide the Lifehacker community favorite:


Honorable Mentions

This week’s first honorable mention goes out to Corsair Survivor, a near-indestructible flash drive that will set you back $50 for the 64GB model at Amazon, but mostly because you could run over this thing with a truck or drop it from ridiculous heights and it’d not only survive, but work perfectly. These things board hard-anodized, aircraft-grade aluminum housings, a waterproof seal, shock-resistant housings and bumpers, and the whole thing is backed by a five year warranty. If durability is your primary concern, this is the drive for you—it’s fast and durable. You can read more testimonials in its nomination thread here.

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Flash-…

We also want to higlight the SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 OTG Flash Drive as our second honorable mention, which is SanDisk’s dual-port offering to compare with the Corsair Voyager Go in the top five above. The 64GB version is $23 at Amazon, and while it’s not quite as durable and rugged, it still offers dual USB 3.0 and micro USB ports to connect to your desktop and your Android smartphone or tablet. Plus, it’s still small enough to go anywhere, protects the jacks when not in use, and even has a little slot on the center ring that goes around the body to attach to a keychain or a lanyard for storage. You can read its nomination thread here.

http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-connec…

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn’t included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Don’t just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is—and make your case for it—in the discussions below.

The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn’t get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it’s a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at tips+hivefive@lifehacker.com!

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

With the convenience of cloud storage, USB flash drives might seem like old news, but the best are portable, fast, near-indestructible, and offer tons of space—enough that they’re worth having. This week we’re looking at five of the best, based on your nominations.

Earlier in the week we asked you to tell us which USB 3.0 flash drives were the best. Maybe they were super tiny and portable, but packed huge storage for those files that are just too big for cloud storage. Maybe you just carry them around for access to important files on the go that you don’t trust the cloud with. Maybe they were just super cheap and had cool features like regular and mini USB ports.

http://lifehacker.com/whats-the-best…

We got tons of nominees, but as always we only have room for the top five (so make sure to head back to the call for contenders to see more options!) Here they are, in no particular order:

Kingston Digital 64GB Data Traveler USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

Kingston’s Digital Data Traveler line of USB 3.0 flash drives are affordable, high-capacity, and totally portable. The photo above kind of tells the tale, too. The all-aluminum casing makes it just durable enough to go on a keychain and stand up to the drops and bumps your keyring might take, but it’s small enough to fit smoothly into a USB port anywhere without blocking adjacent ports. It’s fast and backwards compatible, thanks to the requirement that all of our contenders be USB 3.0, and it even comes with a five year warranty. The model above is Kingston’s 64GB version, which will set you back $30 at Amazon. If you prefer, you can grab 32GB or 16GB versions from Amazon for a little less, or head over to Kingston direct to buy their 128GB version—all in the same form factor, of course.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SOL9Z1M/

Those of you who nominated the Kingston Data Traveler praised its form factor and portability, and specifically loved the shape and form factor. Many of you said you kept yours on a keyring, others said you just liked how small it was for the amount of storage it offered. You universally loved the aluminum casing, saying that you’ve broken or damaged so many cheap plastic drives over the years that it was refreshing having a drive that last for years without breaking. You can read more personal stories and praises in its nomination thread here.


SanDisk Extreme 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

SanDisk makes some great SD cards, but they also make some of the fastest USB 3.0 flash drives on the market. The SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 64GB flash drive (shown above) boasts transfer speeds of 245 MB/s read and 190 MB/s write; pretty speedy even compared to some of SanDisk’s other drives (and more on that later.) The drive is on the large side, and definitely a stick you’ll want to keep in a bag until you need it plugged in, but the retractable USB port makes sure that it’s never damaged and kept safe for when you need to use the drive. If you’re interested, the 64GB version costs $35 at Amazon, with 32GB and 16GB versions available for a little less.

http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Extrem…

Those of you who nominated the SanDisk Extreme praised its super high transfer speeds, and its retractable USB plug, both for keeping the port safe and clear of debris while you’re transporting the drive, but also for being a fun little fidget when you have nothing else to do with your hands. Plus, getting those transfer speeds for that price is a welcome thing, especially when you have a lot of data to move around. A few of you noted that you use yours as a USB installation drive, which is a great use case for when that added speed can actually make a difference. Some of you noted that it’s a bit bigger than a lot of drives these days though, so it’s easy to break if you’re not careful, and it might not be for you if you’re rough on your drives. You can read more in its nomination thread here, or this thread here.


PNY Turbo 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

PNY is well known for affordable storage and memory, and their USB 3.0 flash drives are no exception. PNY’s Turbo USB 3.0 line of flash drives are portable and tiny, easily stored in a pocket or anywhere in a laptop bag, boast solid and speedy transfer rates, and come in sizes big enough to carry just about anything you might need. We’re highlighting the 64GB version above, which will set you back a mere $20 at Amazon. In reality, it was the $30 128GB version that turned up in the nominations thread, which should point out exactly how price competitive these little things really are. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles here though, which is how the price stays down. It’s simple, affordable storage in a plastic housing with a cap to keep the USB plug clean while you carry it around with you. Either way though, if you need storage on the cheap, this is the way to go. If you’re not interested in the 64GB of 128GB version, there are cheaper 16GB and 32GB versions, and a massive 256GB version for a pretty impressive $73 bucks.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FDUHDAC/…

Those of you who nominated the PNY Turbo pointed out that it’s hard to beat storage this cheap, even when it comes with caveats sometimes—some of you mentioned that these drives have failed you in the past, with seemingly-random disconnects and other issues. Others said you’ve had yours for ages with no issues or problems. Some of you noted that this has been so far your first and only USB 3.0 drive, and you’re pleased with the transfer speeds and the form factor—it has all the space of an external drive with none of the space. Many of you pointed out that you’ve frequently seen these on sale via Kinja Deals, and that’s how you pick them up so affordably. In any event, you can read all of those experiences, good and bad, in its nomination thread here.


Corsair Flash Voyager Go 64GB OTG Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

If you’re looking for a USB 3.0 flash drive that works well with your computer, whether it’s a Mac or a PC, and with your Android phone or tablet, the Corsair Voyager Go is a great option. You get 64GB in a tiny, rugged package with an aluminum case and a carrying strap that can connect to your keychain, or is small enough to fit pretty much anywhere you need to take it. After all, the thing is only about 37mm long. It also comes with an included adapter that switches the USB 3.0 port to micro USB, so any Android device that supports OTG (On-The-Go) will work with it and see it as added storage. Best of all, the cross-compatibility between desktops (and desktop operating systems) and mobile devices, storage, and portability won’t cost you more money—it’s only about $30 at Amazon. If you don’t need as much space, you can save a few bucks with the 32GB of 16GB versions. Hell, the whole thing even comes with extra caps in case you lose the included one. That’s a nice touch.

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Voyage…

Those of you who nominated the Voyager Go praised it for offering USB 3.0 and microUSB in the same stick, being small enough to slip in your everyday carry bag or attach to your keychain, and for offering features you just can’t get on other drives without jacking up the price to get it. You praised it for not requiring drivers or apps or anything like that to work on your desktop or your smartphone or tablet. In fact, none of you even mentioned downsides. You can check out the nomination thread here.


SanDisk Ultra Fit 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

For the ultimate in portability—the kind that I remember seeing mockups of on tech blogs years ago wondering if “flash drives could ever get that small,”—the SanDisk Ultra Fit is an amazing option. So small it barely sticks out of the USB drive you plug it into (its size is akin to the Logitech Unifying Receiver, if you’re more familiar with that), the Ultra Fit comes in a variety of storage options, none of which change the basic form factor. The 64GB version shown above is a mere $23 at Amazon, while the more massive (and more popular) 128GB version is only $44. All models are USB 3.0 and boast great transfer speeds, carry a five year warranty, and even come with a little protective cap to keep the USB jack clean when it’s not in use.

http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Ultra-…

Those of you who nominated the Ultra Fit line of drives pointed out that the profile is so low and these drives are so small that many of you just leave them in your laptops and computers for added storage at the cost of a USB port. It’s small enough you don’t even have to take the drive out when you pack up your laptop to travel. Some of you did note that they can be tricky to remove though, especially when flush against a USB port, since there’s nowhere to really “grip” them, as it were, and others of you noted that while USB 3.0 speeds were great, if you’re using this in a USB 2.0 port, it’s unfortunately slow. Others noted that these things get super hot for their size, so take that into consideration too. You can read all about it in its nomination thread here.


Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to put them to an all-out vote to decide the Lifehacker community favorite:


Honorable Mentions

This week’s first honorable mention goes out to Corsair Survivor, a near-indestructible flash drive that will set you back $50 for the 64GB model at Amazon, but mostly because you could run over this thing with a truck or drop it from ridiculous heights and it’d not only survive, but work perfectly. These things board hard-anodized, aircraft-grade aluminum housings, a waterproof seal, shock-resistant housings and bumpers, and the whole thing is backed by a five year warranty. If durability is your primary concern, this is the drive for you—it’s fast and durable. You can read more testimonials in its nomination thread here.

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Flash-…

We also want to higlight the SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 OTG Flash Drive as our second honorable mention, which is SanDisk’s dual-port offering to compare with the Corsair Voyager Go in the top five above. The 64GB version is $23 at Amazon, and while it’s not quite as durable and rugged, it still offers dual USB 3.0 and micro USB ports to connect to your desktop and your Android smartphone or tablet. Plus, it’s still small enough to go anywhere, protects the jacks when not in use, and even has a little slot on the center ring that goes around the body to attach to a keychain or a lanyard for storage. You can read its nomination thread here.

http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-connec…

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn’t included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Don’t just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is—and make your case for it—in the discussions below.

The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn’t get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it’s a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at tips+hivefive@lifehacker.com!

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

With the convenience of cloud storage, USB flash drives might seem like old news, but the best are portable, fast, near-indestructible, and offer tons of space—enough that they’re worth having. This week we’re looking at five of the best, based on your nominations.

Earlier in the week we asked you to tell us which USB 3.0 flash drives were the best. Maybe they were super tiny and portable, but packed huge storage for those files that are just too big for cloud storage. Maybe you just carry them around for access to important files on the go that you don’t trust the cloud with. Maybe they were just super cheap and had cool features like regular and mini USB ports.

http://lifehacker.com/whats-the-best…

We got tons of nominees, but as always we only have room for the top five (so make sure to head back to the call for contenders to see more options!) Here they are, in no particular order:

Kingston Digital 64GB Data Traveler USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

Kingston’s Digital Data Traveler line of USB 3.0 flash drives are affordable, high-capacity, and totally portable. The photo above kind of tells the tale, too. The all-aluminum casing makes it just durable enough to go on a keychain and stand up to the drops and bumps your keyring might take, but it’s small enough to fit smoothly into a USB port anywhere without blocking adjacent ports. It’s fast and backwards compatible, thanks to the requirement that all of our contenders be USB 3.0, and it even comes with a five year warranty. The model above is Kingston’s 64GB version, which will set you back $30 at Amazon. If you prefer, you can grab 32GB or 16GB versions from Amazon for a little less, or head over to Kingston direct to buy their 128GB version—all in the same form factor, of course.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SOL9Z1M/

Those of you who nominated the Kingston Data Traveler praised its form factor and portability, and specifically loved the shape and form factor. Many of you said you kept yours on a keyring, others said you just liked how small it was for the amount of storage it offered. You universally loved the aluminum casing, saying that you’ve broken or damaged so many cheap plastic drives over the years that it was refreshing having a drive that last for years without breaking. You can read more personal stories and praises in its nomination thread here.


SanDisk Extreme 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

SanDisk makes some great SD cards, but they also make some of the fastest USB 3.0 flash drives on the market. The SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 64GB flash drive (shown above) boasts transfer speeds of 245 MB/s read and 190 MB/s write; pretty speedy even compared to some of SanDisk’s other drives (and more on that later.) The drive is on the large side, and definitely a stick you’ll want to keep in a bag until you need it plugged in, but the retractable USB port makes sure that it’s never damaged and kept safe for when you need to use the drive. If you’re interested, the 64GB version costs $35 at Amazon, with 32GB and 16GB versions available for a little less.

http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Extrem…

Those of you who nominated the SanDisk Extreme praised its super high transfer speeds, and its retractable USB plug, both for keeping the port safe and clear of debris while you’re transporting the drive, but also for being a fun little fidget when you have nothing else to do with your hands. Plus, getting those transfer speeds for that price is a welcome thing, especially when you have a lot of data to move around. A few of you noted that you use yours as a USB installation drive, which is a great use case for when that added speed can actually make a difference. Some of you noted that it’s a bit bigger than a lot of drives these days though, so it’s easy to break if you’re not careful, and it might not be for you if you’re rough on your drives. You can read more in its nomination thread here, or this thread here.


PNY Turbo 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

PNY is well known for affordable storage and memory, and their USB 3.0 flash drives are no exception. PNY’s Turbo USB 3.0 line of flash drives are portable and tiny, easily stored in a pocket or anywhere in a laptop bag, boast solid and speedy transfer rates, and come in sizes big enough to carry just about anything you might need. We’re highlighting the 64GB version above, which will set you back a mere $20 at Amazon. In reality, it was the $30 128GB version that turned up in the nominations thread, which should point out exactly how price competitive these little things really are. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles here though, which is how the price stays down. It’s simple, affordable storage in a plastic housing with a cap to keep the USB plug clean while you carry it around with you. Either way though, if you need storage on the cheap, this is the way to go. If you’re not interested in the 64GB of 128GB version, there are cheaper 16GB and 32GB versions, and a massive 256GB version for a pretty impressive $73 bucks.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FDUHDAC/…

Those of you who nominated the PNY Turbo pointed out that it’s hard to beat storage this cheap, even when it comes with caveats sometimes—some of you mentioned that these drives have failed you in the past, with seemingly-random disconnects and other issues. Others said you’ve had yours for ages with no issues or problems. Some of you noted that this has been so far your first and only USB 3.0 drive, and you’re pleased with the transfer speeds and the form factor—it has all the space of an external drive with none of the space. Many of you pointed out that you’ve frequently seen these on sale via Kinja Deals, and that’s how you pick them up so affordably. In any event, you can read all of those experiences, good and bad, in its nomination thread here.


Corsair Flash Voyager Go 64GB OTG Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

If you’re looking for a USB 3.0 flash drive that works well with your computer, whether it’s a Mac or a PC, and with your Android phone or tablet, the Corsair Voyager Go is a great option. You get 64GB in a tiny, rugged package with an aluminum case and a carrying strap that can connect to your keychain, or is small enough to fit pretty much anywhere you need to take it. After all, the thing is only about 37mm long. It also comes with an included adapter that switches the USB 3.0 port to micro USB, so any Android device that supports OTG (On-The-Go) will work with it and see it as added storage. Best of all, the cross-compatibility between desktops (and desktop operating systems) and mobile devices, storage, and portability won’t cost you more money—it’s only about $30 at Amazon. If you don’t need as much space, you can save a few bucks with the 32GB of 16GB versions. Hell, the whole thing even comes with extra caps in case you lose the included one. That’s a nice touch.

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Voyage…

Those of you who nominated the Voyager Go praised it for offering USB 3.0 and microUSB in the same stick, being small enough to slip in your everyday carry bag or attach to your keychain, and for offering features you just can’t get on other drives without jacking up the price to get it. You praised it for not requiring drivers or apps or anything like that to work on your desktop or your smartphone or tablet. In fact, none of you even mentioned downsides. You can check out the nomination thread here.


SanDisk Ultra Fit 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Five Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives

For the ultimate in portability—the kind that I remember seeing mockups of on tech blogs years ago wondering if “flash drives could ever get that small,”—the SanDisk Ultra Fit is an amazing option. So small it barely sticks out of the USB drive you plug it into (its size is akin to the Logitech Unifying Receiver, if you’re more familiar with that), the Ultra Fit comes in a variety of storage options, none of which change the basic form factor. The 64GB version shown above is a mere $23 at Amazon, while the more massive (and more popular) 128GB version is only $44. All models are USB 3.0 and boast great transfer speeds, carry a five year warranty, and even come with a little protective cap to keep the USB jack clean when it’s not in use.

http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Ultra-…

Those of you who nominated the Ultra Fit line of drives pointed out that the profile is so low and these drives are so small that many of you just leave them in your laptops and computers for added storage at the cost of a USB port. It’s small enough you don’t even have to take the drive out when you pack up your laptop to travel. Some of you did note that they can be tricky to remove though, especially when flush against a USB port, since there’s nowhere to really “grip” them, as it were, and others of you noted that while USB 3.0 speeds were great, if you’re using this in a USB 2.0 port, it’s unfortunately slow. Others noted that these things get super hot for their size, so take that into consideration too. You can read all about it in its nomination thread here.


Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to put them to an all-out vote to decide the Lifehacker community favorite:


Honorable Mentions

This week’s first honorable mention goes out to Corsair Survivor, a near-indestructible flash drive that will set you back $50 for the 64GB model at Amazon, but mostly because you could run over this thing with a truck or drop it from ridiculous heights and it’d not only survive, but work perfectly. These things board hard-anodized, aircraft-grade aluminum housings, a waterproof seal, shock-resistant housings and bumpers, and the whole thing is backed by a five year warranty. If durability is your primary concern, this is the drive for you—it’s fast and durable. You can read more testimonials in its nomination thread here.

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Flash-…

We also want to higlight the SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 OTG Flash Drive as our second honorable mention, which is SanDisk’s dual-port offering to compare with the Corsair Voyager Go in the top five above. The 64GB version is $23 at Amazon, and while it’s not quite as durable and rugged, it still offers dual USB 3.0 and micro USB ports to connect to your desktop and your Android smartphone or tablet. Plus, it’s still small enough to go anywhere, protects the jacks when not in use, and even has a little slot on the center ring that goes around the body to attach to a keychain or a lanyard for storage. You can read its nomination thread here.

http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-connec…

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn’t included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Don’t just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is—and make your case for it—in the discussions below.

The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn’t get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it’s a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at tips+hivefive@lifehacker.com!

What’s the Best USB 3.0 Flash Drive?

What's the Best USB 3.0 Flash Drive?

USB flash drives may seem like ancient history, but they’re cheaper than ever, smaller than ever, and faster than ever. This week we’re curious which ones you think are the best to tote those files around you need but don’t trust to the cloud.

We see a lot of storage deals these days, and often there are some really good-looking USB 3.0 flash drives among them. Some of them are near-indestructible, and can go anywhere. Others are super-tiny and can fit in your wallet. Others are shaped like keys, or have some other amazing trick up their sleeve. Which ones do you think are the best? Let us know in the discussions below.

Let’s hear your vote in the discussions below! To cast your vote, follow these guidelines:

Follow this format for your vote, including the bold print. If you don’t, it won’t be counted:

  1. A PHOTO OR SCREENSHOT OF THE BEST USB 3.0 FLASH DRIVE
    Vote: [BEST USB 3.0 FLASH DRIVE]
    Why: Explain why these flash drives are the one you think is the all-around best. Maybe you own one and you love it. Maybe it’s super cheap, indestructible, super-portable, or just fast. Maybe it’s packed with extra features. What makes it the one you’d recommend to others, and why? Make your case!

  2. Don’t duplicate nominations! Instead, if someone’s nominated your pick, star (recommend) it to give it a boost, and reply with your story instead.
  3. Please don’t leave non-entry, direct comments on this post. They’ll just get pushed down. Save your stories for others’ submissions!

If you’re not sure what we mean, just check out the nominations by our writers below. We’ll give you a head start, and they should all be in the proper format, so you can just follow our lead.

The Hive Five is our weekly series where you vote on your favorite apps and tools for any given job. Have a suggestion for a topic? Send us an email at tips+hivefive@lifehacker.com!

Photo by Sinchen Lin.

AndroidTool Takes One-Click Screencasts and Screenshots from Your Phone

AndroidTool Takes One-Click Screencasts and Screenshots from Your Phone

Android/OS X: If you want to take screencasts or screenshots of your Android phone and instantly have them saved to your computer, AndroidTool makes the process as simple as a single click—assuming you have a Mac to go with that Android device, that is.

AndroidTool is a simple, open-source utility that connects to your Android phone via ADB, so you’ll need to have Developer Options enabled on your device before you can use it. (Go to Settings > Developer, enable developer options, then enable USB debugging.) From there, just plug in your device to your Mac via USB and launch the AndroidTool utility on your Mac.

If everything’s connected properly, the tool will show your Android phone’s model number, acknowledge that it’s connected, and give you two large buttons to either take a screenshot or start recording your screen. Everything you capture or record is saved in an “AndroidTool” folder on your desktop, so you don’t have to go hunting around for it.

That’s all there is to it. The app is simple, lightweight, and gets the job done. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of a heavier tool like AirDroid, of course, but if you want something simpler that can support multiple phones or Android devices connected to the same Mac at the same time, this is a good option. Hit the link below to give it a try.

AndroidTool-Mac | GitHub via MakeTechEasier