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VINE VOICEon May 15, 2012
This is a review of the HP v165w 32 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive.

The unit is encased in a blue plastic outer shell, with a removable matching blue plastic cap to protect the USB connector of the flash drive. The cap is a tight fit and stays in place relatively well even when I carry this bare in my pocket. It has NO indicator light to indicate whether or not data transfer is occuring, which can be a down-side for those who want or need it. The butt end has loop with a tether-and-clasp to hook onto a lanyard, keychain, etc. (Note: This does not come with a lanyard). The drive came empty, and is pre-formatted FAT32. Because of its large capacity (32GB) and small form-factor, I bring it with me every day.

It is not my fastest in terms of read/write, but it will be one of my secondary backup drives (I typically carry three copies of my work, all on different devices). I posted some benchmark values, as well as tests of speed using real files.

BENCHMARK TOOLS:

Using Flash Memory Tookit v2.0, the average read was relatively fast at 18.2 MB/s, with a range of 17.5 -18.6 MB/s (for 1MB and 5MB files, respectively), and average write at 12.45 MB/s was surprisingly fast, with a range of 7.7 -15.5 MB/s (for 1MB and 5MB files, respectively). How does this compare to other flash drives? With a Patriot Xporter XT Boost I get 23 MB/s read and 17 MB/s write, and a Transcend 16 GB JetFlash 500 I get about 22 MB/s read and 14 MB/s write. So it's up there with some of the faster USB flash drives in benchmark performance.

TRANSFER OF REAL FILES:

I wanted to see how this drive faired with real files. This is truly how to test a USB flash drive. I transferred a folder containing files and folders of varying sizes from (several kb) up to 400MB (psd). Posted values are averages of three independent runs.

TEST 1: Several video files (Total 1.7 GB). This is to simulate transferring large files (500 MB and larger) similar to transferring those found for iPods and personal videos for YouTube. To copy onto the flash drive (write), it took 3 minutes (write speed of 10 MB/s), and to copy from the flash drive (read), it took about 100 seconds (read speed of 18.8 MB/s). These numbers are surprisingly faster than many of the other drives out there, but not the fastest.

TEST 2: Several video files (Total ~230 MB). This is to simulate transferring small to medium files (10-50 MB) similar to transferring small video files. To copy onto the flash drive (write), it took 23 seconds (write speed of 9.1 MB/s), and to copy from the flash drive (read), it took about 9 seconds (read speed of 17.8 MB/s).

TEST 3: A folder containing one of my projects. This is what I would be using this flash drive for, and is as close to real-world testing as you can get. The folder is about 475 MB large, with over 700 files of various sizes. It took about 100 seconds to copy this folder onto the flash drive, at an average rate of 4.8 MB/s write speed. This is on par with some of my faster USB flash drives. It took 22 seconds to copy this folder from the flash drive onto my desktop (21 MB/s read speed). This is interesting in that the read of the various sizes was faster than the read of large files.

Overall, the HP v165w (32GB) flash drive is fast for reading AND ultraportable, but is average in the writing function. However, for the price (about 22 dollars) and for its small form-factor, it is a great deal. I have this drive hooked onto my keychain and I use it as a backup of my main USB flash drive.

This drive will be good for transporting video files to watch on your laptop or other systems that can read USB devices (like the Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link). If you need to copy large amounts and sizes of files everyday, I would recommend other devices. For nearly the same cost (or a little more), there are other faster drives, like the Patriot XT or Patriot XPorter, both of which are spectacularly fast for the price.

Minus half-star for the lack of an indicator light, with a final rating of 4.5 stars out of five (but rounded down to 4 stars since it is not perfect).

I recommend this drive.

UPDATE 2012-05-21: I formatted the drive, and copied a working folder onto it (27 GB total size of various file sizes). It took 1h 45m to copy onto the drive, which translates to about 4.2 MB/s. This is about the speed I expected for transferring this folder onto a flash drive, so it is good to know that this HP v165w drive performs just as well as my faster flash drives when doing a fresh transfer.

UPDATE #2 2012-05-24: I may have found one possible cause of the "loose cap" reported by reviewers. I have never had a problem with a loose cap... until this morning. I have always put on the cap a particular way (there are only two ways this cap will go on). I just put on the cap the "wrong" way this morning, and it came off very easily. I switched it around, and it is a tight fit and stays put.
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22 comments186 of 190 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 5, 2011
Purchased this 6 weeks ago. Used infrequently. Yesterday I tried plugging it into two different computers. No response. Computers wouldn't even acknowledge the device in device manager. Not happy, but not terribly troubled by that. It happens. Then, I followed Amazon protocol and contacted the manufacturer. It took over an hour, and I talked to nine different people before someone could transfer me to a department that told me to send an email to get a return number so I can send it in to get a replacement under warranty.

During this time, while on hold various times, I went online. The hp site referred me to the warranty, which I downloaded. It had a link to get the return number, but the link did not work. So I clicked on the secondary link, which sent me back to the support page for this product, where I started.

I finally got through to a supervisor, after I escalated the call, which is when I finally got an e-mail to ask for a return number. A reasonable company, at that point, after hearing about all the hassles would have just requisitioned a new flash drive and had it sent to me directly. It would cost them less than actually dealing with the product further.

Bottom line: Products fail sometimes. But if the manufacturer hides themselves so effectively behind incompetence to make it nearly impossible to get warranty information, and doesn't acknowledge the inconvenience they caused, I recommend not buying from that manufacturer.

Update: After FINALLY getting the proper e-mail address from HP, I sent an e-mail. A few minutes later I got a phone call from a PNY rep in NJ. He was very frustrated by the lack of appropriate connection between HP and PNY. He sent me a label for the return. I received a new drive within a day or two. We'll see how well this new drive works.
44 comments80 of 85 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 10, 2011
I've used the 4GB model for over a year and the 16GB version for several months with no problems.

I will say that many "problems" people have with data just "disappearing" or getting corrupted are actual not problems with the drive itself, but how you have your computer set up to work with them. On Windows, if you don't have the drive configured using the "Quick Removal" policy, you MUST properly eject/disconnect the device before physically unplugging it, otherwise, you are not guaranteed that all the data you "wrote" to the device has actually been transferred to the device. Browsing the device, it may "look" like it's all there, but parts may still be in the computer's Disk I/O cache waiting to be written. If you use Thumb Drives to transfer/store data, be absolutely sure you set the properties on that device properly, or always use the "Eject/Safely Remove" option on the device before physically unplugging it. The first thing I do when plugging a USB drive in is check the Device Properties in the Explorer and make sure the Policy is set for Quick Removal, not the best performance policy.

I'd love to have all the devices people throw away claiming that their files got corrupted or vanished when using it... Only a fraction of them are actually faulty. :)
22 comments67 of 72 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 6, 2011
The main cap does'nt stay on real well, It tends to slide off easily. Might lose it soon. The permanent cap comes off every time I remove the drive from the USB port, then its difficult to remove just the metal piece.

The drive itself works real good.
1414 comments74 of 81 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 29, 2012
I love this incognito style usb flash drive, packs the capacity and also the speed is extremely fast, I transferred about 20 GB in less than 10 minutes, it does not overheat like some flash drives when you use them for a period of time. Will recommend to others as well. You can use it on your car media player, Wii, or xbox360 for extra storage when you dont want to spend money on a external HD.
0Comment18 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 10, 2012
pros: good price, very small (about half the size of most thumb drives)
con: very slow. I get about 7megs/second using usb2. Other usb2 thumb drives I typically get about 15-19megs/second. Its not a huge deal for what ill use it for but could be an issue for some.
22 comments40 of 45 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 4, 2013
As many other reviewers have shown, this drive is not the best on construction as eventually the caps on both ends and even the data board will start falling apart. Nothing seems to be glued at the factory. So if you don't mind eventually gluing things together, I think it is still worth the price.

This thing is tiny, and the plastic is nice and rigid so it is durable when assembled.

Data transfer speeds are very fast. This is the fastest USB drive I have owned yet. And it is hard to beat the price tag for a 32 gig drive.

It is recognized very quickly by the computer so you don't have to wait a couple minutes to use your drive.

Despite the coming apart, I would still buy another one of these drives and would recommend it to others.
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0Comment13 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 4, 2012
I really liked this USB at first but now the permanent cap is coming off and then the black stick falls out, basically it falls apart and you have to put it back together every time you plug it out of your computer. They need to construct it better.
0Comment12 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 19, 2012
I'm not sure why some are having speed issues. I have a 16GB Corsair and a 16gb Verbatim model that gets only 9mb per second. This little baby can consistently get 13mb per second. I'm not a fan of removable caps. I've lost the cap for the expensive Corsair, making the "water proof" ability useless. But the size of this HP really makes up for it.

Do not take take it to places with security scanning devices. My 8GB stick died from one.
If the plastic bottom with the HP logo keeps coming off, put some paper or something in between to tighten it when you shove it back on. Or a drop of super glue, but be careful not to over do it.
If you keep losing the covers to things like these, buy some very thin velco and make it stick to each other side by side when in use.
0Comment10 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 20, 2012
I plugged this drive in and Win 7 64-bit gave it's audible 'hey, I've found something new plugged into me!' noise. Not recognized in Windows Explorer. Tried doing a scan for hardware changes in Device Manager. No dice. Called HP, and after being transferred 4 times, was informed that this drive was not supported under Win 7 64-bit. When you plug the model # v165w into HP's website for driver support, it doesn't even yield any results. Not recommended. I searched high and low on the intertron and it seems that there are numerous problems similar to mine. I'm returning it.
11 comment17 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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