SanDisk Ultra Backup

SanDisk Ultra Backup [Guest Review]

by Guest Contributor on 7th June 2010

The Sandisk Ultra Backup looks like many other USB drives, with the exception that this has a button on the top (conveniently) labelled ‘backup’.

The drive has a retractable USB plug rather than and end-cap, so it can be safely left in a pocket or bag without fear of losing the protective cover. The sliding mechanism locks when the USB metal is protruding and the slider needs to be pressed to get it to retract. Unfortunately the platic feels incredibly flimsey and it may not survive a great number of slidings.

The drive comes in 8, 16, 32 and 64GB versions and the 64GB should be enough to back-up a sensible document and/or photo archive.

The Details

What sounds like a great concept, fails on everything but Windows as the drive contains the U3 software stack which allows applications to run from the drive and store all their configuration data on the drive too. This means when the drive is unplugged, all trace of the applications are gone. Using the drive on a Mac or Linux system gives no advantage compared to any other USB drive as the U3 software doesn’t work (the USB appears as a CD-ROM with the software which auto-runs and a normal drive).

Pressing the back-up button also has no effect under MacOS or Linux as that would normally link to a U3 application. Under Windows the software can also AES encrypt any data stored. Maybe one day Sandisk (who purchased U3) will make versions of the software suitable for platforms other than Windows.

As a USB drive speed wasn’t amazing (it got around 20MB/s – slightly faster on reading) but it worked well enough. However, the device comes with a 5 year warranty which should provide some reassurance in your investment.


If you’re using Windows, then the SanDisk Ultra Backup maybe just what you’re looking for, a high capacity drive with some sensible software features (there’s a lot more U3 software). However as a Mac user it’s an expensive USB drive with some space taken-up by the U3 gubbins (which can be removed by using the Mac tools or Windows tools).

The 64GB drive is around £149 on-line.

Steve Kennedy has been in the telecoms and internet industry for over 20 years. Initially designing hardware and programming in the medical electronics industry he then rose through the ranks at Cellnet, Demon Internet and eventually THUS as Head of Product Futures. He is now a director of the governing body for ENUM in the UK and is also a director of DBVu which is developing centralised monitoring and performance analytics for MySQL databases. He writes for various sites, has been quoted in trade press (as an independent industry expert) and is also an early stage investor, usually in technology companies.

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