In this generation of mobile-first, we have even managed to carry out our daily work on mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops. But being mobile devices they don't always boast the same storage capacities as a desktop computer and that's when you need an external storage device.
While laptops and tablets may support SD cards and external HDD’s, the current generation of smartphones makes do with hybrid slots that limit their storage expansion. That's why a pen drive with an OTG dongle or an OTG pen drive makes great sense. But the good part is that they work flawlessly with tablets and laptops.
So we wanted to make sure we find not just good pen drives for you but also good quality OTG for your Android and Apple phones.
Best pen drive
Patriot 128GB Supersonic Rage 2 Series USB 3.0 Flash Drive
There are times when you do not just need a data storage device, but a fast data storage device and with the Supersonic Rage 2, Patriot claims read speeds of 400MB/s and write speeds of up to 300 MB/s. The only downside? It costs nearly Rs.5000 for the 128GB version.
Lots of storage space
Where to buy it?
Best pen drive
SanDisk Ultra Dual USB 3.0 OTG Pen Drive
Given how important smartphones are today, the SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Pendrive with its support for PC USB and micro USB makes it the most versatile pen drive around. It supports USB 3.0 and comes in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities. The only downside? It uses the micro USB connector when compared to the latest USB Type C connector.
Works with most phones and all computers
Comes in multiple sizes
Priced very well for its capacity
Good read speeds
Doesn’t have the latest USB Type C port
Write speed could have been better
Where to buy it?
Best pen drive 16gb
SanDisk Cruzer Blade
The SanDisk Cruzer Blade is an incredibly popular pen drive owing to its reliable performance and low price, it’s not very fast due to its USB 2.0 speeds but it is excellent for everyday usage.
It comes in 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities, however, we recommend you to stick to the 8 GB and 16 GB variants only as you fill really feel the need for higher speed with those higher capacities.
Uses the slower USB 2.0 standard
Slow write speeds
Where to buy it?
Best pen drive (iPhone and PC)
SanDisk iXpand Mini 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive for iPhone and Computer
Apple iPhones have always lacked expandable storage making it hard for their users when their storage space ran out. Even most OTG pen drives out there have had support for Android phones only.
But the SanDisk iXpand Mini allows you to add up to 128GB of extra storage through the lighting port. It comes in a classy colour and is available in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities with support for USB 3.0.
A pen drive for your iPhone!
Comes in multiple capacities
USB 3.0 speeds for type A port
Encryption & TouchID support
A pricey offering
Sticks out of the device quite a bit
Where to buy it?
This is a really long post! Use the links below to jump around.
How we selected?
We started out by looking through suggestions from reputed technology websites to find the best pen drives out there. After shortlisting some of the products they had, we moved over to searching for new launches on Amazon and Flipkart.
From Amazon and Flipkart we shortlisted a ton of products in different sizes, capacities and types from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0, USB Type A to Lightning (iPhone). We did this so that we had a product for everyone no matter the budget or requirement.
Have some confusion regarding USB, Lighting and other such data standards? Read our Understanding Data Transfer Standards: USB, Lightning and Thunderbolt article to clarify all your doubts regarding them. But for the time being, all you need to know is USB 3.0 offers faster speeds than USB 2.0.
Best pen drive (Fastest)
The Patriot Rage 2 is no ordinary pen drive, it's expensive, rugged and fast, really fast. This is not a pen drive you use to copy a few word documents, no no. This is a pen drive that you use to move large data files quickly (like in spy movies).
The Rage 2 is rubber coated to protect it from daily abuse, spills and drops. It has a single USB A connector which is mounted on a slider, and it is very compact in size.
But don’t be fooled by its size, it comes in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities and it costs around Rs.5000 for the 128GB version. But it does boast of great read/ write speed to justify its cost.
Benchmarks show that it can read at 416MBps and write at 157MBps which is very close to the claimed figures. This makes it a speedy drive to carry all your files in your pocket without having to worry about long copying times.
So should you buy the Patriot Rage 2? If you need excellent speeds in a durable package look no further than the Patriot.
Best pen drive 64GB/ 32GB (OTG)
Amongst the most popular OTG pen drive in the market, the SanDisk Ultra Dual that we have today serves as an upgrade over the older fully black coloured Ultra Dual. The new model comes in two transparent body shells with grey and gold accents.
The design is very compact and easily pocketable, while the newer transparent shell reminds us of the good old days of Nintendo Gameboys with such a shell.
It uses a sliding mechanism to access either the USB 3.0 capable Type A port (PC) and the micro USB port (USB 2.0 for phones).
Its available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities with SanDisk claiming speeds of up to 150MBps (130MBps for the 16GB variant). In the real world, using a USB 3.0 port can give you around 150-180MBps of read speed and around 20-40 MBps of write speed. While the read speeds are good the write speed is just decent but better than most USB 2.0 pen drives.
With prices ranging from Rs.600 for the 32GB version and Rs.1100 for the 64GB version, the SanDisk Ultra Dual is an excellent pen drive that is faster than USB 2.0 pen drives and with its micro USB support more capable as well, making it the best OTG pen drive in India.
Best pen drive 16gb (Budget)
The SanDisk Cruzer Blade is a popular pen drive and quite a ubiquitous one. Its popularity is due to its low price and reliability. It is simple in its design and lightweight, with the red accents adding to its aesthetics.
Its designed to work with PC slots only and supports the much older and slower USB 2.0 standard and that shows. Benchmarks show the read speeds limited to around 20-25 MBps and write speeds limited to 6-10 MBps. That's why we suggest you pick only the 8GB or 16GB variant as anything higher in capacity will need a long time to fill it up.
But with 4.2 stars from over 37,000 reviews on Amazon, its no doubt that the SanDisk Cruzer Blade priced at Rs.345 for the 16GB is the best budget pen drive in India.
Best pen drive (iPhone and PC)
With a stylish design that should gel well with the Apple ecosystem, the SanDisk iXpand Mini adds expandable storage functionality that is missing on the iPhone. The reason why we are stressing on the iPhone is that the newer generation of iPads now use USB Type C and have ditched the Lightning port.
To protect the lighting port, the pen drive has a cap as well, but it lacks a slot to tie a lanyard, which means it can easily get lost.
The pen drive comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities which is plenty for your phone. Given that iPhones do not come with a file manager by default, you need to download the SanDisk iXpand Drive app to manage your data, transfer data or simply automatically backup your data.
Gadgetsnow tested the pen drive and found it to be very useful on iOS devices and also appreciated the fact that it supports encryption (Password or TouchID). In terms of speed, they found the drive to take a minute to transfer a 900MB file from the drive to an iPhone 6 and vice-versa. While that's not very fast it is decent.
One little drawback is that while using it does jut out of the device a little. But its slim and petite design means it's not as bad as the Apple Pencil sticking ou to the iPad.
While this pen drive isn’t cheap at nearly Rs.2000 for the 32GB version and Rs.2800 for the 64GB version, if you need to expand your iPhone's storage then this is one of the best pen drive with lightning support.
Who are our best picks for?
The Patriot pen drive is for people who need great read/ write speed above anything else. It's pricey, but the write speed of over 100MBps makes it excellent for transferring large files quickly and hassle-free.
The SanDisk Ultra Dual is faster than USB 2.0 pen drives and even supports micro USB ports making it very versatile. Its also priced very well when you factor in size and performance.
The SanDisk Cruzer Blade is simple in design and offers great value. It's not really fast in performance but makes up in durability. Need an affordable way to backup files? The SanDisk Cruze Blade is what you choose.
If you're rocking an iPhone that is slowly running out of space, the SanDisk iXpand Mini is god-sent for you. It plugs into the Lightning port and using the SanDisk app allows you to transfer and backup files easily. But like most accessories for iPhones, this one is also a little expensive.
Who is the competition?
Unlike other OTG pen drives that have sliding mechanisms to access the USB A port and USB C/ micro USB port, the SanDisk Dual Drive is a single piece. You get a USB Type A port to connect to your PC and a USB Type C that easily works with modern smartphones like the Poco F1 and OnePlus 6T. But its slow USB 2.0 speeds, abysmal build quality that most of its customers complained about along with its high price make it a poor proposition.
Pretty much the same deal as the above mentioned SanDisk pen drive, the Kingston Nitro Plus has a USB-A and USB Type C connector but comes with a much faster USB 3.1 (Gen 1) support. But despite that people complained of slow speeds along with the poor build quality in the long run.
Think of this pen drive as the Strontium version of the Cruzer Blade, it too is simple and affordable. So where does it fall short? Durability and build quality. Stick to our best picks.
In our data-driven world today, it is imperative to have an external storage device to always back up our work. Pen drives are an excellent way of achieving this, they are small and work without any cables or adapters.
While the market is filled with tons of pen drives, the Patriot Rage 2 stands out with its speedy performance and durable build. It is a little expensive though but makes up with its superior speed.
The SanDisk Ultra Dual is a great product for most users with its affordable price, decent speeds, multiple capacity options and best of all OTG support.
But what if you just need a basic pen drive and are not really concerned about design, connector types and performance? That's where the SanDisk Cruzer Blade fits in. It's affordable, simple and durable.
Finally, for iPhone users, we have the SanDisk iXpand Mini which comes in multiple capacities, looks stylish but has an interesting trick up its sleeve- support for the Lightning port. This makes it a wonderful tool to use with the iPhone to expand its storage and use as a backup tool for your phone data.