What is it?
The A-DATA USB 2.0 "my Flash" fingerprint disk drive is available in capacities ranging from 256MB through to 2GB. Our sample, a 512MB model, currently retails at around £30, making it more expensive than a regular drive. That extra outlay, though, goes towards the drive's biometric scanner and embedded software.
Ripping through the hard-to-cut plastic, A-DATA bundles the drive with a mini driver CD and USB extender cable. The fingerprint disk drive series only work with Microsoft Windows operating systems and, as is common, post-Windows 98 iterations provide immediate plug-and-use connectivity. The CD, then, carries Windows 98 drivers and an instruction manual that's written in poor English that is hard to follow at times.
Protecting the fingerprint sensor, A-DATA provides an outer cover that's made from tough plastic. The drive looks and feels sturdy, and it won a reddot 2006 award for design excellence. The need to house a sensor and controller makes it bulkier than most slimline drives, and it's around double the height of an Apple iPod Nano.
The fingerprint scanner works best when you sweep your finger slowly across from left to right. The capacitance-based sensor's security is based upon the uniqueness of your fingerprints; no two are the same (generally). The drive also features a green LED that lights up during activity.
Testing the 512MB drive's speed characteristics, we transferred a single 105MB file on to and off the fingerprint disk. We recorded an average read speed of around 9MB/s and write speed of 7MB/s, suggesting that it's not the fastest around but should be good enough for most user's needs.