The Consumer Electronics Show is many different things. It's a chance for industry personnel to meet and make connections, for major retail buyers to get a heads-up on the next year for products and, most importantly (to us) a place for journalists to find stories. In order to help us- and make their products look as good as possible- every exhibitor on the show floor has a press kit.
Often these kits will take the form of a card with a URL to a special press site, or just a huge sheaf of papers and brochures detailing the product line(s). Sometimes the PR guy/girl just sends you an email with images and attached documents.
And then there are flash drives. Dozens and dozens of flash drives, loaded with a few megabytes of images and media kits. Most companies use the same basic drive, somewhere between 512 MB and 2 GB. It looks like this.
Big players like Verizon and little guys like Copia and Motion all go with the generic option to save money and resources. But some exhibitors go the extra mile and come out with something really special. Take the drive Asus gave out at their press conference.
Pretty badass- especially for a 2 GB drive. Casio, Parrot and Marley (of Bob Marley fame) also had really nifty drives. The Marley one is made of handsome wood and even features a magnetic lid, which is a handy feature.
But, as nice as these drives were, coming to CES with vanilla stock USB sticks wouldn't have done them any harm. The same isn't true for Victorinox. Their whole CES line-up consisted of USB drive pocket knives. Obviously, handing out mass-produced drives identical to every other exhibitor would have looked bad. So they stepped it the hell up and handed out these at CES Unveiled.
That's a 32 GB flash drive, with a little LED light mounted under the Victorinox logo. Since this amounts to an actual product, and not just a nifty little press gift, I decided to give it a stress test. And man, can this little guy take a wailing.
I carried it around for three days of CES, using it to store images and swap stories and juggle between my two laptops whenever I ran into power issues. Which was constantly. It was dropped several times- once onto a marble floor, and spent dozens of hours jangled up with my keys and pocket-change. At one point during a party, I even had an Unnamed Person spill beer on my pants (Hint: It was Me). My keyring and wallet were soaked. But I got home, let the Victorinox USB drive dry out, and it worked like a charm. Even the little LED is still functioning.
I haven't had a chance to play around with any of the larger Swiss Army drives, but I can't imagine they'd be lower quality than the "little" drive Victorinox was just handing out to press people. I know where I'm trusting my important data from now on.