Memory Cards

Buying Guide - Memory Sticks

Memory Stick Uses

A memory stick, also known as a flash drive, key drive or memory stick, is a tiny electronic device capable of storing data.  The memory stick is plugged into the USB slot of your computer and from here the data on the computer can be transferred from the device to the computer and vice versa.  A memory stick is ideal for storing documents, music, videos and pictures.

Portability and capacity are the two main benefits of key drive use.  A pen drive is light in size and is typically able to store between 1GB and 64GB of data, depending upon the size of the memory stick chosen.


A memory stick comes in a range of convenient sizes.  The trouble with a flash drive is that it can often be very small and is therefore easily mislaid.  A flash drive may be designed to hook onto a key ring or worn around the neck - perfect if you intend on using your memory stick regularly yet are prone to misplacing it.

The memory stick should be well protected and should offer a decent warranty.  A pen drive may offer a one year warranty or a lifetime warranty.  Typically speaking, the longer the warranty period, the more expensive the key drive will be.

Look for a memory stick that is not easily manipulated and is sturdy in design to avoid physical damage.  If the flash drive bends under minor pressure, the data on the drive may become corrupted.

A memory stick is a good solution for backing up precious data - it is easy to use, affordable and is an efficient form of data storage.  These memory sticks are ideal for protecting data in the case of hard drive disc failure and for moving data from one computer to another.


An important consideration when purchasing a key drive is the transfer rate of the drive.  The transfer rate is a reference to the speed at which reading and writing is performed by the memory stick.  The transfer speed is dependent on the type of chip set and computer used.  This information can be found on the memory stick packaging or on the specification detailed on a website selling the product.

Look for fast transfer speeds for reading and writing on a memory stick.  The average flash drive can read at a speed of 10MB/second and write at a speed of 3MB/second.  A fast pen drive will offer a reading speed of 35MB/second and a writing speed of 20MB/second.  The greater the cost of the memory stick, the faster the reading and writing speeds.

Storage & Design

Another consideration when it comes to purchasing a pen drive is the type of chip set inside the pen drive.  There are two types of chip set used in a memory stick: a Multi-Layer Cell (MLC) chip set and a Single-Layer Cell (SLC) chip set.  In MLC chip sets, three bits of information are stored on one cell.  In SLC chip sets, one bit of information is stored in each cell.  Fast transfer speeds are associated with a flash drive possessing an SLC chip set.

The design of a key drive is also an important consideration for many.  There are many different types of key drive, from the flash drive featuring cartoon characters to the pen drive with stylish patterns on.  Some pen drives feature retractable heads and are, therefore, cap-less in design.  Others have been designed so that they close up akin to a pocket knife.  The design of a pen drive of this kind is known as a swivel design.

It is essential to ensure that your chosen pen drive design allows the pen drive to fit securely into the USB of your computer.  The product specification will inform you of the measurements of the key drive.


When purchasing a memory stick, it is essential to ensure that it is compatible with your current operating system.  If you have a Windows operating system on your computer, then you will require a memory stick compatible with that.  Similarly, if you have a Mac, you will need a flash drive compatible with the Mac operating system.

Do not automatically assume that your chosen memory stick will be compatible with your computer.  If you are shopping online, you will find memory stick compatibility information in the product specification.

For simplicity, you may like to look for a key drive that functions without the need to install drivers for your operating system.  This means that as soon as you have purchased your flash drive, you can simply plug it in and begin using it - no effort is required.

The data on the memory stick should not be prone to corruption and the memory stick should format correctly all of the time.  A key drive should perform well in a range of weather conditions, from extreme heat to extreme cold.

If you wish to protect the files on your memory stick, you may like to purchase one that enables password protection.  If you intend on storing large files on your memory stick, consider purchasing one that is able to compress files.

A range of branded key drive devices is available and it is essential to weigh up the pros and cons of each brand before settling upon a final choice of memory stick to purchase.