SanDisk Ultra Fit 256GB Review (Page 2 of 8)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

There really is not a whole lot to talk about when it comes to the design of the SanDisk Ultra Fit 256GB. This is the second-generation model with USB 3.1 support compared to the first generation SanDisk Ultra Fit 128GB USB 3.0 model I reviewed back in 2015. The design has been updated, but its mission has not changed. The drive is so mind-blowingly small, it is barely bigger than the USB connector itself. I had to really crop the above photo to make it visible. Other than the sheer wonder of how they managed to squeeze a whole 256GB into such a tiny footprint -- along with an interface controller, and whatever else it takes to make it functional -- I do not have a whole lot more to say regarding the aesthetics of this little wonder. SanDisk's logo is printed on the all-plastic shell, as shown in our picture above. I wish they made at least the connector part out of metal rather than plastic though, since the plastic feels flimsy. Regulatory logos and miscellaneous information such as the part number can be found on the other side. The physical USB connector forms the majority of the drive, and ends off with a tinted plastic blob tilted over the front, forming a slightly wider outer radius. At the end of the drive, the slightly wider and fatter top provides a lanyard attachment point. From a consumer perspective, it makes it easier for someone to grip the Ultra Fit and unplug it from their car or computer.

A quick glance at the specifications table pits this portable storage device at 19.1mm long, 15.9mm wide, and 8.8mm thick without the cap at its largest dimensions. This is no different than the first-generation model. The USB connector itself is blue to signify its SuperSpeed+ compatibility. Unlike its predecessor, SanDisk has not included a plastic cap from the retail package, but since this is primarily a niche product that will most likely end up plugged in most of the time, the cap is probably not necessary.

How is the SanDisk Ultra Fit 256GB a niche product? I think its form factor play a big role in determining its purpose. You can attach a lanyard to the Ultra Fit, but beyond that, it is almost impossible to carry it around without losing it. On the other hand, the unobstructive nature of the Ultra Fit will allow you to leave it plugged in to whatever device you are using for capacity expansion or semi-permanent storage, hence a lanyard is not included. According to the company, this may include hard to reach TV USB ports for video playback or even your laptop computer. If you are going to store sensitive files on it, SanDisk throws in their SecureAccess software, which allows you to encrypt the drive to 128-bit AES specifications. For me, I plan to use it in my car. Currently, I have a previous generation SanDisk Ultra Fit 128GB plugged into my 2013 Honda Accord Touring sedan to store all my music. The drive works great and fits the bill perfectly like its predecessor, which you can see in action in my photo above. My only complaint is the Ultra Fit is rated for only 0c to 45c in use, just like the first generation. In the winter, outside temperatures here in Calgary frequently drop below 0c. This does not mean the drive will suddenly stop working, but from my experience, songs will stutter or skip during the first minute or so of starting up. It is an annoyance I have grown to live with in the last couple of years, but having industrial grade operating range of -30c to 85c will be a better idea, especially for something that is designed to be used in your car.

Our above photo gives a clearer view of the top of the SanDisk Ultra Fit 256GB USB 3.1 flash drive. The tinted plastic blob on top gives it a bit of visual flare, but it is not designed to be an attention-grabbing device otherwise. There is no drive activity LED inside, which is unnecessary in my opinion anyway. Overall, I am a big fan of the second-generation SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 series. It is crazy small that can be unobstructively used in a lot of places with no compromise in its 256GB capacity. But will there be compromises in performance? Let us run through five pages of storage benchmarks to find out.

Our test configuration as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K @ 4.6GHz
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-D15S
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
RAM: Patriot Viper 3 Low Profile PC3-17000 4x8GB
Graphics: Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960 4GB
Chassis: Fractal Design Define R5
Storage: OCZ Vector 180 240GB; Crucial MX200 500GB
Power: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 1200W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi Bravura
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Compared Hardware:
- SanDisk Ultra Fit 256GB (USB 3.1)
- ADATA DashDrive Elite UE700 64GB (USB 3.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 64GB (USB 3.0)
- Kingston HyperX Fury 64GB (USB 3.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ G2 32GB (USB 2.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ G3 32GB (USB 3.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 32GB (USB 2.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 32GB (USB 3.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G2 32GB (USB 3.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 32GB (USB 3.0)
- OCZ Rally2 Turbo 4GB (USB 2.0)
- OLALA iDisk ID100 64GB (USB 3.0)
- Patriot Stellar 64GB (USB 3.0)
- Patriot Supersonic Magnum 64GB (USB 3.0)
- Patriot Supersonic Magnum 2 256GB (USB 3.0)
- Patriot Supersonic Rage 2 256GB (USB 3.0)
- Patriot Supersonic Rage XT 32GB (USB 3.0)
- SanDisk Ultra Fit 128GB (USB 3.0)
- Silicon Power Blaze B05 64GB (USB 3.0)
- Silicon Power Jewel J80 32GB (USB 3.0)
- Silicon Power Marvel M70 64GB (USB 3.0)
- Silicon Power Mobile X31 32GB (USB 3.0)

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
4. Benchmark: ATTO Disk Benchmark
5. Benchmark: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0
6. Benchmark: HD Tach
7. Benchmark: HD Tune Pro 4.60
8. Conclusion