The XtremKey by LaCie is a tough, durable and rugged USB 3.0 USB flash drive. This is probably the toughest USB flash drive on the market today, made possible by a metal alloy enclosure, and a screw-on cap which seals the key against dirt and moisture. The design of this key is beautiful. The metal enclosure has a smooth finish with a tapered design. The XtremKey is also a performance USB flash drive with USB 3.0 connectivity. XtremKey is offered in capacities of 32GB or 64GB and comes with a three year warranty.
The XtremKey comes supplied in plastic tamper-proof packaging. While this makes sense for display in stores, it makes for a frustrating start. I found the packaging difficult to open, and the environmental friendliness of this type of packaging is questionable. LaCie could do well by using a small thick cardboard box (which I believe they have done in the past for other products).
With the packaging out of the way, we can get a good look at the XtremKey. It has a simple, yet sleek design. The circuit board for the USB key is encased in metal and feels very sturdy. The key slides and screws into a metal alloy enclosure, which is then closed shut with a screw cap and rubber o-ring. Overall, I think the design is great.
The materials used result in this being one of the toughest USB flash drives in existance. This drive is made to endure extreme temperatures, submersion in water, crushing force and serious shock and vibration. LaCie produced a video which shows various torture tests, including a 10 ton truck being driven over the XtremKey. The focus of our review wasn’t to test LaCie’s claims, as other reviews have already done so, and their own video proves the point quite well.
- 200-meter Water Resistant
- 10-ton Pressure Resistant
- 10-meter Drop Resistant
- Heat and Cold Temperature Resistance
The XtremKey does stand on its end, even though the bottom of the cap is not completely flat. The end of the cap features the LaCie logo, which is a nice subtle touch. I think a thicker cap would have been appreciated, as it would make it easier to open/close the drive. As it is, the end cap is quite small in relation to the rest of the enclosure.
Rugged – LaCie puts their XtremKey through torture tests
Features and Performance
This drive also offers some great features, besides the tough enclosure. You can download LaCie’s password protection software, which enables you to protect the drive with 256-bit AES software encryption. Included in the price of the drive is also Wuala cloud storage (free for a year) – this is LaCie’s cloud storage, which competes with the likes of iCloud and Dropbox. XtremKey can also be used as a backup solution, as it is available in capacities up to 64GB. Software such as Carbon Copy Cloner, Time Machine, SuperDuper, LaCie Genie Timeline and Intego Backup Assistant can be used with the XtremKey.
Not only is this drive rugged, it’s also a great performer. We put it through the tests to see what speeds it could achieve when reading/writing files. Using AJA System Test, two tests were run on a Mid 2012 MacBook Pro (non retina) with the XtremKey plugged into a USB 3.0 port on the Mac. The first test was a 1GB file, video frame size 720 x 486 8-bit. An average write speed of 83.4 MB/s and read speed of 196 MB/s was achieved. The second test was with a 2GB file, video frame size 4096 x 2160 10-bit RGB, where it achieved 85.2 MB/s write, and 205 MB/s read. This is very close to LaCie’s claim of maximum read speed 230 MB/s. Please note, if plugged into a USB 2.0 port (for example, on an older iMac, or a Mac Pro), it will operate at USB 2.0 speeds.
The XtremKey comes pre-formatted as a MS-DOS FAT drive and has a total capacity of 32.72 GB.
There are several other USB flash drives which also claim to be tough and rugged, such as the Patriot XT Boost. The main difference between those and the Xtremkey is that LaCie’s offering uses a metal enclosure. The competition use rubber enclosures that are not as durable if you, say, accidentally leave them somewhere where they may be stepped on or crushed (I must admit, I’ve done this myself in the past).
The great design, tough enclosure, free cloud storage, backup software and performance of the LaCie XtremKey make it an all-round winner, and our Editor’s Choice for portable storage and USB flash drives!
Where to Buy
ResExcellence recommends Amazon to buy your LaCie XtremKey. The 32GB model is just $79.99 instead of $84.99. The 64GB model is $129.99. The XtremKey is available in most countries via Amazon – if it’s not available on your Amazon store, try LaCie’s site.
Do you own an XtremKey, or another LaCie product? Post your experiences below.