Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Simpletech Bonzai Xpress Pininfarina Thumb Drive

Last month I bought a pair of Simpletech Bonzai Xpress Pininfarina USB thumb drives from After the mail-in rebate gets here, they'll be free. When I ordered them I figured that at that cost I couldn't go wrong. My plan included giving one to SWMBO for her to backup docs she creates related to her work, and have the other one as a backup for me. I finally got around to putzing with one today and I have to say I am not impressed at all.

Read/write speeds under Windows -- whether XP Pro running in Parallels on Rohan, my MacBook Pro, or on a Dell D600 -- are horrible. Copying files of only a few megs in size takes minutes. I attempted to install parts of the PortableApps Suite. Installing took two or more hours. I tried installing GaimPortable and the installer crashed.

Interestingly, the performance is much better under Mac OS X. On Rohan, the device is quite usable. I checked customer reviews on and and found similar complaints. Some of the Simpletech units seem to be afflicted with poor performance under Windows, but not all. One reviewer who tried it under both Windows and Linux reported poor performance under the former but not the latter. I plan to try my second Simpletech to see if it performs better. I'd be happy to just point at XP as the problem but Simpletech has to know that the vast majority of their thumb drives get used on Windows boxen, not Macs or Linux machines.

I have two other 1 GB thumb drives. One is a SanDisk Cruzer Mini, the other a Microcenter house brand bulk drive. Both have given good performance. I plan to try installing the PortableApps Suite on at least one to see how they compare with the Simpletech. Stay tuned for a follow up.

No comments: