The Kingston DataTraveler 5000 (4GB) is a USB 2.0 flash drive designed for business users who regularly carry sensitive information.

The £89 Kingston DataTraveler 5000 might seem a bit pricey for a 4GB thumb drive, but you’re not paying for memory. What you’re buying here is protection — something that the Kingston DataTraveler 5000 has in spades. The Kingston DataTraveler 5000 is also available in 2GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities.

The Kingston DataTraveler 5000 drive is FIPS_140-2 FIPS 140-2 Level 2 Certified, uses fancy ‘Suite B’ elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) and comes with 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption. As an added layer of protection, the encryption key will self-destruct after 10 intrusion attempts (in other words, it pays to remember your password!) Short of hiring a sniper to shadow your business trips, we can’t think of a more effective security solution.

The Kingston DataTraveler 5000 (4GB) measures 77.9x22x12mm, which is pretty standard for a USB thumb drive. The stainless steel casing is attractive and durable, with an added coat of titanium to protect against scratches and hacker’s scalpels. A blue LED indicates when the DataTraveler 5000 is in operation. On the downside, the drive sports one of those traditional pull-off lids that are notoriously easy to lose. (We dream of the day when all USB thumb drives have built-in lids. Come the revolution, this will be PC World’s first decree.)

As mentioned, the Kingston DataTraveler 5000 is FIPS 140-2 Level 2 certified — which means it gets the US government’s security stamp of approval. Upon first inserting the drive, you are prompted to create a password which can contain up to 128 characters. Before you type in your password, the DataTraveler 5000 shows up on your computer as a 3.9MB CD (read-only) drive (a removable media drive also appears, but cannot be accessed).

We strongly recommend that you memorise your password from the very outset — after 10 unsuccessful password attempts, the drive will auto-format itself. All of the available storage on the Kingston DataTraveler 5000 drive is encrypted, so it’s impossible to accidentally transfer files to an unprotected folder.

To test the Kingston DataTraveler 5000’s file transfer speeds, we copied files back and forth between the drive and our300GB Western Digital Velociraptor system testbed. The Kingston returned a write speed of 4.2 megabytes per second and a read speed of 10.6MBps. This is well below other USB thumb drives we’ve looked at, including the Corsair Flash Voyager Mini, Imation Defender F200 and Kingston’s own DataTraveler 310. To be fair though, the DataTraveler 5000 wasn’t designed with speed demons in mind — it will mainly be used to store documents, spreadsheets and other small files. Consequently, the lack of speed isn't a big issue.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

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Kingston DataTraveler 5000: Specs

  • 4GB USB Flash Drive
  • Comprehensive security features
  • USB
  • supports Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP (SP1, SP2, SP3)
  • Operating Temperature 0 to 60°C
  • Storage Temperature -20 to 85°C
  • 22x77.9x12mm
  • 4GB USB Flash Drive
  • Comprehensive security features
  • USB
  • supports Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP (SP1, SP2, SP3)
  • Operating Temperature 0 to 60°C
  • Storage Temperature -20 to 85°C
  • 22x77.9x12mm

OUR VERDICT

The Kingston DataTraveller 5000 is an ultra-secure USB flash drive boasting government-approved encryption - it's like carrying Fort Knox around in your pocket. On the down side, it's not the fastest thumb drive on the market and the 4GB capacity is bound to fill up fast.

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