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The VIUD is larger/heavier than typical USB drives. Is there any issue with carrying them in your pockets?
While it is definitely a little larger and heavier than most USB drives it is not to a point that it becomes difficult to carry them in your pockets. For example, I can easily carry two VIUDs (one Titanium and one Aluminum) in my pocket with no problems.
Is there any issue with the VIUD's size and closely spaced USB ports?
In most cases there is enough space but in some devices where the USB ports are very close together the VIUD may not fit beside other connectors. For example, on the front panel of my desktop computer two VIUDs can just fit beside each other (see below image).
However, on a laptop with closely spaced ports (see image below) you would not be able to plug in the VIUD if anything else was in the adjacent port.
To solve the issue with the VIUD and closely spaced USB ports you can simply use a USB 3.0 M/F extension cable. These can be found in just about any electronics store although I may suggest an online store like Cmple that can sell and ship you a 1.5 ft USB 3.0 extension cable for probably less than you'd pay at a name brand store.
Are the magnets in the VIUD strong enough to let it stick to any metal surface?
For the most part, yes, the magnets are strong enough to hold the VIUD onto any metal surface that magnets can stick to, although it depends on the exact surface and the VIUD model. The Titanium VIUD is 50% heavier than the Aluminum models so it tends to not hold as well. On a bare steel surface both VIUDs hold well on either end although they may tend to slide down if the surface is very smooth, particularly on the cap end. On surfaces like fridges and magnetic boards the surface is generally too smooth and the magnetic force too weak for them to hold.
There are options to use stronger or different magnets in the VIUD if you wish. See the Customization page for details.
What is the lead time if my desired VIUD is out of stock?
There are several main components of the VIUD that affect its lead time:
- USB Board = 2 weeks
- Case = 3 months
- O-Rings, Magnets, Clips, etc... = 1 - 2 weeks
The USB boards and other parts are easy to order and generally come in very quickly. Unfortunately, the VIUD cases are a very long lead time item as they involve multiple manufacturers and multiple time consuming steps. While I try to order new parts well in advance I'm not always able to keep stock available for all items.
If a VIUD you have ordered is out of stock I'll try to give you an accurate lead time for shipping and give you the option for an alternate model or full refund as desired.
Why does by VIUD report less available space than what it should be?
There are a few reasons in no specific order:
- The file allocation table takes some space on the USB.
- Differences between power of 10 and power of 2 byte prefixes.
- The USB board manufacturer using slightly smaller than stated memory boards.
The most significant source is probably the last two. Most drive manufacturers use the power of 10 prefixes in order to maximize the stated capacity of the device. As the capacity gets larger the differences between the two get more and more significant:
- 16 GB
- Power of 2 = 14.9 GB
- 32 GB
- Power of 2 = 29.8 GB
- 64 GB
- Power of 2 = 59.6 GB
- 128 GB
- Power of 2 = 119.2 GB
- 256 GB
- Power of 2 = 238.4 GB
Most operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, use the power of 2 prefixes when displaying drive and file sizes.
As for the last point, currently the USB boards used in the VIUD are just "normal" consumer level quality so the manufacturer may use the minimum memory size in order to keep the costs as low as possible.
What are other comparable rugged USB drives to the VIUD?
Currently there are a few rugged drives comparable to the VIUD available on the consumer market which include:
- Corsair Survivor -- A rugged drive with an Aluminum case available in the same capacities as the VIUD at less than half the price. It's roughly the same size as the VIUD but a little lighter due to its much thinner walls and slightly smaller diameter. A decent rugged drive for sure but its thin walls mean it can only take much less load than the Aluminum VIUD before failing.
- Xtremkey -- A relatively unique rugged USB drive in both its design and its material, a Zinc-Aluminum alloy called ZAMAK and available in 32, 64, and 128 GB capacities. This drive is a little more durable in some cases than the Survivor and is likewise more expensive but still cheaper than the VIUD. I'm not sure if the Xtremkey is still being produced as availability appears to be more limited than it used to be.
Unfortunately, that's about all there is commonly available in rugged USB drives at the moment. There are other drives that claim to be "rugged" but lack essential features like being waterproof (not water resistant) that I feel are essential for a rugged USB drive.
While the above drives are pretty rugged and cheaper than the VIUD there are a number of significant differences to point out:
- The VIUD case is much stronger. Through some simple finite element modeling I'd estimate the VIUD case to be roughly 5 to 10 times stronger.
- The VIUD is far more waterproof. With the cap closed the two other drives are waterproof in any normal day-to-day activities. With the cap off, however, both drives are susceptible to water getting inside the case and reaching the USB circuit board which is a "bad thing". The VIUD case is epoxy filled which means that even with the cap off it can get submerged under pressure and you only need to dry off the connector before plugging it back in.
- Temperature wise the VIUD is much more resistant. The thinner case walls of the Survivor and Xtremkey means that external high temperatures will affect the USB connector and circuit board faster than with the thicker VIUD walls. The epoxy filled case also protects the USB circuit board longer. In addition, the Titanium VIUD has significantly more heat resistance due to the lower thermal conductivity of Titanium.
- The VIUD is carefully hand assembled and tested which means a higher quality product than a mass produced one.