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LaCie, the company most well-known for its sleek and stylish external storage devices, recently released a brand new USB 3.0 Porsche Design flash drive and we got our hands on one to give it a test drive.  The new LaCie Porsche Design USB key is sleek to say the least and comes in two models: 16GB and 32GB.  The 16GB model retails for $30 while the 32GB model retails for $50.

lacie-porsche-design-usb-key-2The drive is super slim coming in at just 4mm in depth/height and weighing only 8g.  Despite it being so slim and lightweight, this USB key is made out of steel, giving it improved durability and making it anything but flimsy. To further add to its durability, the USB connector is recessed slightly in order to protect itself from physical damage.  Another feature of the drive is that it has 256-bit AES encryption to make data protection secure and gives users the ability to configure password-protected private folders on the USB flash drive itself.

In terms of speed, that’s the one area where the LaCie Porsche Design USB key falls short. Even though it’s a USB 3.0 flash drive, it’s read/write speeds aren’t all that impressive. In our tests, the drive maxed out its read speed at around 94MB/s and around 38MB/s for write speed.  And just for comparison sake, if you were to test the LaCie against other flash drives in its price range, it would fall towards the back of the pack when it came to speed with most price range competitors averaging at least 150MB/s in both read/write speeds.

SEE ALSO The Making Of: LaCie Products

Whether that’s a fair comparison or not is another question though.  With the numbers the LaCie flash drive is giving us, it’s clearly not designed for performance enthusiasts and that’s okay — not everyone needs a super fast flash drive.  If you plan to transfer documents and photos to it and carry it around on your keychain or something, this is a perfect solution.  That’s not to say it can’t handle larger files or more intensive use cases (because it can), it just won’t be super fast when using it in those situations.

Bottom line: If you want durability in a sleek enclosure that can offer okay performance, this flash drive is for you.  On a personal note, I’d like to see the next version be a bit faster for the price point they’re hitting.

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