Posted by CANbike on Sun, 2 Jun 2013

Review: Lexar Jumpdrive S23 (64GB)

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Reviewed below is the 64GB Lexar Jumpdrive S23 formated to have a single fat32 partition.

The Short Version

A brand name 64GB USB 3.0 flash drive for $29.99!

Can it live up to the marketing claims? In a word no, but it comes real close. However, performance cannot be beat at this low price point. Just watch out for the all plastic case and plastic housing for the USB 3.0 plug.

  • USB 2.0 Read Speed: 35.69 MB/s
  • USB 2.0 Write Speed (Average): 32.3 MB/s
  • USB 3.0 Read Speed: 97.21 MB/s
  • USB 3.0 Write Speed (Average): 43.68 MB/s

The Long Version

Lexar Jumpdrive S23 (64GB) for $29.99!

The Lexar Jumpdrive S23 (64GB) was announced as being available for the first quarter of 2013. On May 1, 2013 the S73 and S23 were on sale at both Best Buy and Future shop.

Prices were as follows:
  • S73 8GB, S23 8GB – $11.99
  • S73 16GB, S23 16GB – $9.99
  • S73 32GB, S23 32GB – $17.99
  • S73 64GB, S23 64GB – $29.99

First thought, it was way too cheap for the newly announced Jumpdrive S23 models. The Jumpdrive S23 64GB model has more than double the speed ratings, is a fraction of the size, and retails for $99.99. A quick check at Amazon.com shows it for US$99.99.

The claimed speed ratings of the Lexar Jumpdrive S23 were as follows:

8GB in orange (up to 100MB/s read, 15MB/s write)
16GB in teal (up to 100MB/s read, 30MB/s write)
32GB in green (up to 100MB/s read, 55MB/s write)
64GB in purple (up to 100MB/s read, 55MB/s write)

while the claimed speed ratings of the Lexar Jumpdrive S73 were:

8GB in blue (up to 40MB/s read, 10MB/s write)
16GB in purple (up to 45MB/s read, 20MB/s write)
32GB in orange (up to 45MB/s read, 20MB/s write)
64GB in green (up to 45MB/s read, 20MB/s write)

The Jumpdrive S73 has been previously benchmarked and the claimed speed ratings were fairly accurate. However, it was concluded that those drive were at best USB 2.0 flash drives as the USB 3.0 performance gains were minimal. Only the read speed gained by 5 MB/s.

Of course, the Lexar Jumpdrive S23 for the same price as the Jumpdrive S73 seemed too good to be true. The only way to find out was to buy some and benchmark them. However, note the lower claimed speed ratings for the S23 8GB and the S23 16GB models. The S23 32GB and S23 64GB models are the faster flash drives.

Overview of the Lexar Jumpdrive S23 (64GB)

Included in the package was the 64GB model flash drive and a mini-lanyard with key ring.

The flash drive was impressively small for a USB 3.0 drive. It’s not a micro flash drive, but about 2-2.5x bigger. In terms of portability, it will easily fit in jean pockets.

Attaching the lanyard is probably a good idea, as this drive could easily be lost or dropped if not connected to a larger object.

Aesthetically the drive is a pleasing bright purple color.

The design is composed mostly of plastic and features a retractable switch for the USB 3.0 port. The led indicator is on the tip of the switch.

Unfortunately, a big negative is the construction quality. The case and the housing of the USB 3.0 plug is all plastic! For a suggest retail price of $99.99 Lexar could not spare a few cents to use a standard metal housing for the USB 3.0 port. In addition, the retractable switch is a problem. It too is all plastic and coarse flowing. The locking mechanism sounds weak and hollow in the hand. When inserting into a USB 3.0 port, the switch sometimes unlocks and slides. Moreover, given the plastic USB 3.0 plug housing, it felt flimsy and ready to break. Be careful when using this flash drive.

Honestly, the construction is a big disappointment as the drive felt delicate.

Performance on the other hand was spectacular, though it fell short of Lexar’s claimed speeds. The USB 3.0 read speed was around 97 MB/s, while the USB 3.0 write speed was around 43 MB/s. Compared to Lexar’s claimed speed ratings, the read speed was about right. However, the write speed fell short of the claimed ratings by about 10 MB/s.

To double check results, the benchmark was run multiple times and consistently produced numbers +/- 2 MB/s.

USB 2.0 performance was also great. USB 2.0 read speed was around 35 MB/s, while USB 2.0 write speed was around 32 MB/s.

Overall the performance of the 64GB drive was fantastic despite falling short of claimed write speeds. It still clearly benefits from the USB 3.0 specification over the USB 2.0 specification. Construction and durability, on the other hand, was disappointing which complicates recommendations. It comes down to performance versus durability.

If performance is key, then get either the 32GB or 64GB models. At $17.99 and $29.99 respectively, the performance is phenomenal. Avoid the 8GB and 16GB models, though, due to lower speed ratings. However, if construction and durability are of any concern, look elsewhere as these are made of cheap plastic.

Jumpdrive S23 or Jumpdrive S73?

The Jumpdrive S23 and Jumpdrive S73 were priced the same, while sitting next to each other on the store shelves. They excel in different ways. It seemed natural to make a list of recommendations on which drive to buy.

  • USB 2.0 Usage (Only): S73
  • 8GB or 16GB Model: S73
  • Performance: S23 (32GB or 64GB)
  • Durability: S73
  • Portability: S23

The Benchmarks

Benchmarks were performed to test the USB 2.0 and the USB 3.0 performance.

Summary of USB 2.0 Benchmark Results: Lexar Jumpdrive S23

  • USB 2.0 Read Speed: 35.69 MB/s
  • USB 2.0 Write Speed (Average): 32.3 MB/s

Summary of USB 3.0 Benchmark Results: Lexar Jumpdrive S23

USB 3.0 Read Speed: 97.21 MB/s
USB 3.0 Write Speed (Average): 43.68 MB/s