When it comes to USB flash drives, SanDisk and Samsung are two of the names that you see thrown around a lot. But there are others out there making flash drives that can last you for the long haul, and PNY is one of them. Among PNY's lineup is its Turbo Attache series, with the Turbo Attache 3 being one of the go-to drives for many.
The PNY Attache 3 is definitely a drive that is a solid pick for everyday use. However, there are some issues that keep it from taking the top spot among the best USB flash drives out there. Let's dive in to see what the PNY Turbe Attache does well, and what it doesn't.
Bottom line: The PNY Turbo Attache 3 is solid enough for most, but inconsistent write speeds prevent it from becoming a standout.
- Fast enough for most tasks
- Activity light
- Slider locks in place
- Inconsistent, spotty write speeds
- Finicky sliding mechanism
PNY Turbo Attache 3: Price and availability
The PNY Turbo Attache 3 is available starting at $8 at Amazon. You can pick up a single stick in sizes ranging from 32GB to 1TB. It's also available in packs of three across several sizes, or as two drives of varying sizes..
The 32GB model is priced at $8, while the top-end, 1TB model will set you back a pricey $150. The sweet spot is the 128GB drive, which goes for $18. Stepping up to the 256GB drive will cost you $34.
PNY Turbo Attache 3: What's good
The PNY Turbo Attache 3 is another USB 3.0 flash drive that features a handy sliding mechanism in place of a cap. When the cover is extended, the drive is the same length as when it's retracted; the only difference being the USB plug is exposed. Its design doesn't make it as compact as some other sliding drives, but it's a useful feature to have if you're prone to losing flash drive caps.
The drive also feels very solid. Although it's made of the same lightweight plastic as most other drives, the construction feels sturdy enough to survive the occasional drop just fine. The gray plastic that makes up most of the drive has a really nice matte texture as well, which isn't quite premium but feels better than glossy plastic.
As for speeds, the PNY Turbo Attache 3 won't blow you away, but its peak read and write speeds are average for a USB 3.0 flash drive. In synthetic tests, I hit read and write speeds of 118 MB/s and 16MB/s, respectively. That's not the fastest out there, but it's certainly more than capable for everyday use.
In a real-world test, I saw write speeds peak around 30 MB/s, which is about half of what you'll see with a USB 3.1 drive. The test involved moving a 5GB video file from my PC to the drive. Curiously, this peak speed was higher than what I experienced with the synthetic benchmark.
Two other, minor features that will delight some are the activity light and locking slider. Activity lights aren't available on every flash drive out there, so it's nice PNY included a small red light on this drive to show when it's working. The sliding sheath that covers the USB port also locks into place when extended, so you won't have to worry about ti sliding all over the place. I could easily see this wearing down over time, however.
PNY Turbo Attache 3: What's not good
The biggest reason you might want to avoid the PNY Turbo Attache 3 is its inconsistent write speeds. During the synchetic benchmark, this registered as a curious 0 MB/s on the random write portions of the test. In the real-world test, this showed up as the speeds bouncing between the low single-digits up to 30 MB/s, and rapidly cycling between.
It's unclear what the issue is here, but I'm not the only person who has noticed. There are several Amazon reviews from others pointing out the inconsistent write speeds. What is clear is that this isn't normal behavior for USB flash drives; other drives I have tested will slowly jump up to a peak write speed and stick there, only varying within a few MB/s.
Another part of the Turbo Attache 3 that may turn some off is the flipside of that convenient sliding mechanism. In short, it's difficult to use one-handed most of the time. Because it's a sheath, you may find yourself doing some hand gymnastics to expose the USB port. Once you're ready to cover it back up, you'll nearly always have to use two hands.
Compare this to other sliding mechanisms like that seen on SanDisk's Cruzer range, which can easily slide in and out with one hand. It's a small thing, and it ultimately depends on how often you plan to move the drive around in the first place. Still, it's worth keeping in mind.
PNY Turbo Attache 3: Competition
When it comes to competition, there are loads of other drives out there to choose from. The top competitor would be SanDisk's Ultra line, which features a similar sliding sheath in place of a cap. You can pick one up with USB 3.0 speeds that will be more consistent than the PNY Turbo Attache, and the drive is slightly more compact when retracted.
If you're convinced you want to stay with PNY, there's also the Turbo Attache 4. It still has a sliding sheath and features USB 3.0 speeds, but the design is slightly different.
For those who aren't concerned with losing a drive or want something semi-permanent, you may want to consider a low-profile drive. The Samsung FIT Plus is the top pick here for its incredibly fast USB 3.1 speeds and small, premium design. There's also the SanDisk Ultra Fit, which is a tad slower, but is even slimmer for more permanent installations.
Pricing differences between each of these drives will be negligible, depending on your preferred capacity.
PNY Turbo Attache 3: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You need a decent, everyday flash drive
- You want an activity light
- You prefer cap-less designs
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You need the absolute fastest flash drive
- You're put off by inconsistent write speeds
- You need a low-profile drive
The PNY Turbo Attache 3 isn't a terrible drive, but the inconsistent write speeds could be a deal-breaker for some. If you don't have any particularly rigorous needs, then the drive should be a great choice for everyday tasks like moving documents and music around. If need the absolute fastest speeds available, however, you might want to look elsewhere.
The activity light on the Turbo Attache 3 is definitely nice to have, as is the sliding sheath to cover the plug. The number of capacities available, and the prices for them, are a great value as well. However, it's definitely not the drive to pick if you want to go for a low-profile option that can work as semi-permanent added storage in a laptop or other device.