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Friday, 19 September 2008 14:49

Corsair Voyager Mini 4GB tested

Written by Sanjin Rados

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Review: Size does matter

 

Although small USB sticks are yesterday’s news, we always give a warm welcome to new additions on this market. Most of us have a couple of sticks lying around, some picked up at shows and some received in promo packages. Apart from looking differently and using different flash memory, the key deciding factor in buying a USB stick is, for most users, the capacity.

Corsair decided to refresh their offer by launching two new Voyager models. The first model packs no less than 64GB and it’s aimed at enthusiasts, whereas the other model comes with only 8GB but dimensions-wise, it’s as miniscule as it gets. Voyager Mini 8GB model will set you back less than €35, whereas its big brother, Flash Voyager, is priced at €140.

Flash memory prices have dropped rapidly in the last year, and we can’t help but recall that Flash Voyager model with 8GB used to cost as much as a 64GB version today. Still, we’re quite sure that end-users won’t mind and today we’re proud to present Voyager Mini 4GB. This is a two-month-old stick that, due to its dimensions, ended up being our faithful companion on our travels. Appearance-wise, it’s no different from the 8GB model so we’ll assume that they pack the same or similar performance. The difference is, of course, the price, and Voyager Mini 4GB costs a measly €14.

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Just like all the Voyager models, Mini is shock and water -proof, thanks to its rubber casing. In order to keep it as small as possible, Corsair built a retractable USB connector, which is not featured in larger models.

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This little charmer kept the appeal of its big brother, Voyager, and since it has no protective cap on the USB connector – that’s one problem less as you won’t be losing it. Lucky for us, Fudo grabbed a handful of those at one show, so there’s always a spare one around for our other sticks. In case you lost your Voyager protective cap, you’ll surely like Corsair as they’ll send one to your address for free. All you need to do is go to Corsair’s forum, register and leave some info on yourself and the model in question.

However, Mini Voyager might not have a problem with protective caps, but it’s roughly the same size as the caps on larger models, so you might end up losing it instead. Still, Corsair thought of that too and they’re shipping a nice little keychain that you can use to attach Mini Voyager to something. 

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A light outward push on the USB connector will make this device ready for action.

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Voyager Mini is short, but a bit wider than some other mini USB sticks we’ve encountered. That comes in handy when you’re taking it out of laptops or front panels, but it gets awkward if you’re trying to do the same with densely populated motherboard back panels. However, the keychain finds another useful purpose in those situations, as you can use it to remove the stick.

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We were quite skeptical toward the durability of the rubber while tugging on the keychain, but it’s proven to be quite tough. We even introduced some rubber-stretching torture methods, but this stick has proven that it has what it takes to survive.

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Voyager Mini 4GB has proven to be a tough little device, but let us see how it fares in read and write tests. Is it faster than the rest of the crew, which consists of sticks we gathered throughout the years?

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Its competitors are: Sapphire’s 2GB gift stick we received with Sapphire HD 4850 graphics card, a 1GB casino chip/stick from Barcelona and a Super Talent 256MB sample stick sold in versions from 1GB to 8GB.

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We tested these sticks using Sandra 2009 and HD Tune tools.

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Corsair Voyager Mini emerged a winner with read speeds of 26.8 MB/sec. This is a good result, but note that most USB sticks suffer from low write speeds.

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Sandra reports that read speeds are much lower than write speeds. Still, Voyager didn’t disappoint. Sapphire’s gift stick also did well, but Super Talent was the fastest one, although it didn’t finish the last test due to low capacity.



Conclusion

Corsair launched two USB sticks in their Voyager Mini series. They come in 4GB and 8GB flavors, and if that’s not enough for you, Corsair also offers Flash Voyager sticks with 64GB. We tested Voyager Mini 4GB that is appearance-wise identical to the 8GB model, which was announced yesterday.

Both new models use Chip-On-Board technology that enables such small dimensions of USB sticks. It’s important to note that Voyager Mini takes up only a third of Flash Voyager size, as the above mentioned technology enables for all USB components to be located within the USB connector. The connector is retractable, so it doesn’t get damaged by external factors, and this feature graces all Mini series’ sticks. When you need to use this stick, a slight push will do and the stick is ready to rumble. It’s water and shock-proof and it comes with a 10-year guarantee. It’s compatible with USB 1.1 and 2.0 ports.

And lastly, we move on to one of the most important points – the price. End-users will be glad to hear that this 4GB stick is priced at only €14, which is really great, and we don’t have a choice but to sincerely recommend this device to anyone.



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Last modified on Saturday, 20 September 2008 04:55
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