From Ars: “When we last took an in-depth look at USB flash drives in 2005, the landscape was a bit different. A 2GB drive ran nearly $200, and speeds were quite a bit slower then. At the time, we noted that while the then-current crop of drives was pretty fast, they still were not close to saturating the bandwidth of USB2. To top it off, a good drive was still going to set you back $50 or $70—not exactly a cheap proposition. Since our first roundup, this picture has changed considerably, and it leads to a question: has the flash drive become an undifferentiated commodity, just like any other cheap plastic tsotschke that you might find at an office supply store checkout counter?
Consider the following factors:
- The majority of flash drives sold are either 4GB or 8GB, which is more than plenty of storage for most people.
- Most of the drives in this size range are under $20.
- Accessories (like neck straps, USB extension cables, spare caps, etc.) are no longer included.
Normally, twenty dollars is not something that most of us would think twice about, but don’t most of us still want to know that we are getting our money’s worth? To test this commodity theory, we selected a cornucopia of mostly 4GB and 8GB USB flash drives ranging from $9 to $30 dollars (average: $19.00)