Thursday , 23 October 2014
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WWF Panda 16GB USB Drive

The WWF Panda 16GB USB drive comes in a variety of sizes and Active Media Products makes a contribution to the World Wildlife fund for each one purchased.

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INTRODUCTION

The limitation on flash storage has been size, people love the portability and convenience of a good flash drive. Size has been an issue for a while. Now it’s not uncommon to see 16GB and larger drives reasonably priced. Select companies are ramping up sizes (in limited quantities) of drives as large a 128 GB so we can expect to see even larger sizes soon. With the size limitation lifting flash storage is once again back in the news.

The flash drive we have today is the WWF Panda 16GB Flash drive. Active Media Products has a variety of animal drives and makes a contribution to the World Wildlife Fund for every drive sold. (Minimum contribution $25,000) Not only do you get the portable storage you crave, the World Wildlife Fund gets much needed funding and you get a cute USB Thumb Drive. The cuteness might be it’s downfall so if you get one for yourself you might want to get one for the woman in your life, ours got confiscated “Due to excessive cuteness”.

Doesn’t take very long to realize the cuteness factor will attract certain segments of the end user base. Girls love this drive and kids, well lets just say that we’ve had to hunt for the drive more than once, finding it in with a collection of small kids toys stashed from adult eyes.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Soft non-toxic silicone rubber body
  • PVC-free, lead-free and mercury-free
  • Key chain included
  • 5% of retail price is donated to World Wildlife Fund
  • Fully compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1; both Mac and PC
  • Hot plug-and-play
  • No driver required for most operating systems
  • Data retention: 10 years
  • Dimensions: 2.5 x 1.4 x 1.0 inches (64 x 36 x 25 mm)
  • Capacities: 1GB – 16GB

With capacities between 1GB and 16GB most end users will find a size to fit their needs. Data retention runs up to 10 years so your data should remain safe for long periods of time. Like we mentioned a portion of the sale of each drive (5%) is donated to the World Wildlife Foundation so the $42 dollar 16 GB Panda Drive would fetch the World Wildlife foundation a donation of $2.10, it doesn’t sound like much but since the Panda Drive is inline with other drives pricing you don’t have much to lose by choosing a Panda Drive and helping out the World Wildlife Foundation.

The solid rubber construction of the WWF Panda Drive eliminates the need for a lot of heavy packaging. Trust us this one has survived tugs of war with a two year old, and being flung across a room in a fit when she didn’t get it. She did get a whole collection of animal figurines so we managed to overcome the cuteness factor in that case with a bribe.

The WWF Panda Drive comes with a key chain but we’re not entirely sure you would want to hang a handful of keys from his rubber tail. More than likely you’ll find this cute little bugger hanging from a key chain rather than being the key chain itself.

Seen from a slightly different angle you can see how fast the female portion of your life is going to latch onto this little drive so we’d suggest getting two and generously gifting one to your spouse/significant other before they forcefully confiscate it.

Head on you will probably see this Panda stalking you from a purse near you peeking out from around whatever they keep in those things that make them weigh enough to clobber a professional boxer.

Then the last “Drive Closed” angle would be the Panda Drive running from it’s purse enclosed fate.

Once you pop the Panda open you can quickly see the only design drawback is going to be size. Some computers with a lot of USB devices plugged in you might not have much room to plug in the drive. With most chassis featuring front USB we don’t see that as much of an issue.

Yes we had an open drive shot but there’s just something so wrong about a headless Panda that we had to post another shot.

Then there’s the beauty shot of the WWF Panda Drives posterior. It’s not often that we get to show our butt on Bjorn but in this case it’s probably justified.

Lastly a beauty shot so you might want to make sure the female portion of your life isn’t looking or you might be digging for your preferred payment method. Seriously though this Drive would make a good gift for the better half or kids. Not to mention a good conversation starter at the office.

Testing Methodology

We don’t really feel the need to go into a lengthy description of the test rig on this one. Any machine with a USB 2.0 interface would suffice for testing. For those of you that are familiar with our Core i7 965 setting on an Asus P6T6 motherboard, called Quadzilla, we tested on that high end rig because it was handy. Almost any machine with a USB 2.0 interface will produce similar results.

We fired up HDTach, Crystal DiskMark, and Sisoft Sandra and ran 3 tests with each utility. The test results were so close together that we just selected the middle test result and are forging the usual lengthy charts and posting screen shots of the median result. The testing OS was Vista 64 Ultimate but almost any OS since Windows 2000 will produce similar results.

RESULTS

HDTach

You can see that the burst speed on the WWF Panda Drive ran 32.8 MB/s which in reality is a little faster than most of the Flash based USB drives we’ve seen. We tend to look at average speeds with a little more interest. The average read speed ran 29.3 MB/s and again that’s a little faster than most of the USB drives we’ve seen. Most tend to run in the 25-27MB/s range.

Crystal DiskMark

Taking a look at Crystal DiskMark we see that the drive runs at 32.65 MB/s sequential read and drops to 9.776 MB/s sequential write. That’s a pretty typical speed for USB devices which are limited to the speed of the USB interface. We’ve all seen what Nand Flash technology can do in an SSD so we know it’s a limitation of the USB technology and not the USB Drives themselves. The 512K test the WWF Panda Drive holds up well for reads, and drops to 2.101 MB/s write, this drop in speed is normal for smaller non-sequential writes and most USB drives exhibit this. The 4K test shows typical slow speeds and this is common to most drives, normal HD and SSD’s alike. The 4K test in Crystal DiskMark is one of the most brutal tests you can perform on a drive.

Sisoft Sandra

We chose to look at the 2MB portion of the Sisoft Sandra Removable Storage test because we don’t often see small files being copied repeatedly. Modern files tend to be large and getting larger. Small files copy so quickly that it’s not much of an issue. In the 2 MB portion of the test we see the WWF Panda Drive running at 30.6MB/s read and 6.7 MB/s Write.

We went outside normal benchmarks and used the WWF Panda drive in normal every day operation. We consolidated a lot of files strewn across several smaller USB drives and copied one large Benchmark folder that contained 4.18GB. The largest folder we copied, the 4.18 GB Bench folder took 4 Minutes 22 Seconds to copy. That’s not bad considering the size and number of files in the folder.

CONCLUSION

The WWF Panda Drive has a certain cuteness factor working for it, it’s also reasonably priced and comes in at $42 (USD). It’s shown that it performs in line with most of the other USD drives out there so there’s no performance hit for using a cute drive. Running in the 30 MB/s read range and turning out decent write rates the WWF Panda Drive not only fills your needs for portable storage but helps out the World Wildlife Foundation in the process.

The disadvantage of the WWF Panda Drive is it’s cuteness and if you have children or a woman in your life you might not get to keep it long. We won’t hold that against the drive, letting your kids or significant other steal the drive that’s not a hardware related issue we feel comfortable addressing. The only other disadvantage we see is that the drives diameter when open is a little larger than most USB drives so if you have an extremely cramped I/O plate and no Front USB ports it might be an issue.

We liked the performance of the WWF Panda Drive and while I had it (it was stolen by my significant other) we enjoyed using it. Rest assured it’s still seeing good usage on a daily basis but is being held prisoner in a designer handbag.

We are using an addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the new rating system.

  • Performance 9
  • Value 9
  • Quality 8
  • Warranty 8
  • Features 7
  • Innovation 7

Pros:

+  Cute
+  Runs As Fast As Most USB Drives
+  Durable
+  Bounces Well
+  Lots Of Storage In Our 16GB Drive

Cons:

- Too Cute
- If Stolen Check Significant Other And Child’s Areas

The WWF Panda 16GB USB drive performs as well as any other USB drive we’ve seen and it has a cuteness factor that most drives don’t. What impresses us is the opportunity to have the drive you need and help out the World Wildlife Fund in the progress. If more products provided this level of functionality and “Cute Factor” it would breach the possibility for more Geek girls, that can’t be a bad thing so the WWF Panda Drive earns a:

Final Score: 8 out of 10 and the Bjorn3D Seal of Approval.

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