Leef’s new line of drives is small and fast, but are they as fast as the USB 3 spec would have you think? The Supra 3 and Ice 3 drives claim USB 3 speeds in a small package. The Supra holds 16 GB and is small enough to leave plugged into your laptop. The slightly larger Ice offers twice the capacity. Both are inexpensive at $15 for the 16 GB and $25 for the 32 GB models.
In testing I wanted to try my normal real-world use of a thumb drive by copying something and dashing out the door. Using my new Lenovo Carbon X1 with both a USB 2 and USB 3 port, I copied a 378MB and 1.6GB file to the drive and timed how long it took to write and flush the cache. This simulates dropping a file on the disk, ejecting the disk, and waiting for the all-clear. The command I ran from the Linux command line was: time $( cp ~aolsen/Downloads/378MB.xz . ; sync )
For a comparison I used a USB 2 Mimoco Jake (Adventure Time) thumb drive. Write speeds on the Supra were exactly twice that of the Mimoco regardless of port. The USB 3 won by a hair in both cases with 1:15 minutes on the Mimoco and 0:37 on the Supra. Bumping the file size resulted in nearly identical transfer rates.
Where the Supra does shine though is in read time. The Leef Supra read the 1.6 GB image in 27 seconds where the Mimoco took almost 4 times as long. The same file off the cheap drive took over 3 minutes to read.
Overall the drive isn’t as fast as the USB 3 spec would have you believe, but still fast, and cheap enough that it’s still a great choice. The small size of the Supra makes it a perfect travel companion either on your key chain or semi-permanently attached to your notebook.