Don’t Forget the Memory This Back-to-School Season

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The WD My Passport Ultra comes in sizes ranging from 1TB to 4TB.

Back-to-school season is here. Within the next few weeks, students will be hard at it again, and for those who need portable computer memory, SanDisk and Western Digital have a couple of products designed for busy students on the go.

SanDisk Cruzer Dial

First up is the SanDisk Cruzer Dial. I was sent a 16GB flash drive to review, which is an order of magnitude improvement over the desk drawer full of 128MB and 256MB flash drives from my college days. I know, I sound like an old man, and yes, I did have to walk to school, uphill, in the snow.

All that aside, the first thing I noticed is the way the device reveals the USB connector. As one would expect from a product with the word “dial” in the name, you rotate the dial at one end of the stick and the USB connector pops up from the other end. Nifty. The hole in the center of the dial makes the stick easy to slap on a carabiner and take with you.

Upon inserting the stick, I found that my laptop recognized only 14.5GB of space on the 16GB stick. Where did the missing 1.5GB (or nearly 10% of the advertised total memory) go? The flash drive comes with SanDisk Secure Access, an application that allows the user to set a password so that only those with said password can access file on the device. Great for those who are concerned about the security of the files on their flash drive.

The SanDisk Cruzer Dial retails for as low as $11.99 for the 16GB version, with sizes all the way up to 128GB.

Western Digital My Passport Ultra

For those with significantly greater storage needs, there’s the Western Digital My Passport Ultra, which comes in sizes ranging from 1TB to 4TB. That’ll hold a lot of photos, videos, movies, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and/or games. In an age where cloud storage is cheap and options are abundant, it’s good to have an inexpensive, reliable hard drive as back up when an internet connection is slow, undependable, or not readily available.

Like the SanDisk Cruzer Dial, nearly 10% of the device’s storage is taken up by Western Digital software to help you utilize your device to its fullest. Again, the software is not required for device usage. In fact, if you’re planning to use the My Passport Ultra as additional storage for your console (the Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One are all compatible with the My Passport Ultra), you’re going to need to format the device to work with your console anyhow. I can confirm that after plugging the device into each of the three consoles mentioned and formatting the device to the console, all three consoles found the device and were able to store and access stored games/apps without issue.

The My Passport Ultra comes with the device and a USB 3.0 cable. The 1TB version can be purchased on Amazon for as low as $50.99 at the time of this post, with the price increasing with the amount of storage purchased.

Disclaimer: I was provided a 16 GB SanDisk Cruzer Dial and a 4TB Western Digital My Passport Ultra for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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