How tough is the data you carry with you? If you keep you wrap everything in bubble wrap, you’re good. Everyone else may want to listen.

There are only a few times when USB keys are worth writing about. Let’s list them:

1. When they do something genuinely interesting, which is rarer than you might think.

2. When you’re rounding up the ones that plug into your phone. MicroUSB, Lightning, and USB Type C, these are among the most useful thumbdrives out there. And,

3. When they can survive a fall, a drop, or a deluge of rain.

That last one is very useful, because there’s a good chance most of the hard drives in your world aren’t going to simply because of the movie parts, and even though there are no moving parts in most of your thumbdrives — and really, there shouldn’t be unless it’s option two on that list — most thumb drives will not survive the elements.

Or more specifically, they’re not rated to. If your regular thumbdrive survives falling into snow, dropping on the road, or a big puddle for some reason, it’s not a feature, it’s a bonus.

In the case of Lexar’s JumpDrive Tough, however, it is a feature, with a slightly ruggedised design meant to survive pressure of up to 750 PSI — which means you can drop it — extreme temperatures from -25º to 148º Celsius, and water down to a little under 30 metres.

The drive itself isn’t necessarily the fastest USB drive around, with up to 60MB per second writer and 150MB per second read, something the faster less rugged drives will boast a little more speed in, though may come without the proofing for the world.

That said, our one criticism isn’t even the speed, but rather the storage amounts, with only 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. With solid-state replacing hard drives for many people and rugged boxes not so common, it’s one of the areas that you feel might do from a little more storage, especially when laptops can offer more that needs backing up.

For Lexar, the JumpDrive Tough is about durability and keeping costs down, with the rugged thumbdrive priced from $40 for the 32GB, $60 for the 64GB, and $95 for the 128GB model.

Or you could just wrap everything in bubble-wrap. Yeah, we know it’s not really a solution.

A technology journalist working out of Sydney, Australia, Leigh has written for publications including The Australian Financial Review, GadgetGuy, Popular Science, APC, PC & Tech Authority, as well as for radio and TV since 2007.

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