FAQs Are all USB Flash Drives created equal?

The marketplace is filled with USB Flash Drives of vastly varying quality. Some are excellent, although many are completely unfit for the purpose of data storage. If you are considering a bulk purchase of logo-branded USB Flash Drives for promotional purposes, a good quality product that will enhance your brand image is essential. In pursuit of the lowest price, many bulk purchasers encounter suppliers at the unacceptable end of the quality spectrum.

We sent Henry Jacksen (Quality Control manager for the Flashbay Factory ) out into the marketplace to investigate the competition. "The findings were quite worrying in most cases," said Jacksen. "Of the hundreds of models tested, we have chosen just one as a comparison to illustrate the common quality pitfalls." The report below shows our standard Classic USB Flash Drive compared to the common copy. Jacksen adds that, "Many corporate gift distributors buy the copy direct from unscrupulous manufacturers in China who cut too many corners, resulting in serious quality issues."

Quality of Memory Chip (inside the USB Flash Drive)

The NAND Flash memory chip is a component that lies at the heart of a Flash Drive. Memory comes in different grades with a range of read and write speeds and data-retention capabilities. At Flashbay, we use new, grade-A memory in all our products. Unfortunately it's become common place for some corporate gift suppliers, acting as middle men, to be unaware of what their USB Flash Drives contain. The result is low-grade memory: dirt cheap and tempting for unscrupulous manufacturers to use. Flashbay is a USB Flash Drive manufacturer and so we can strictly control all the components used in our Flash Drives (learn more about our factory).

Metal vs Plastic Loop for keyring attachment

It's important that the loop on the end of the USB Flash Drive is metal if you intend to attach the USB Flash Drive to a bunch of keys. A plastic loop is likely to break after moderate use and the drive could subsequently get lost.

PCB attachment

The PCB is the green circuit board part which you see inside most electronics. We mount the PCB in a stable way on 4 posts which keep it tightly in position. The worst manufacturers unfortunately glue it in (yes, that's hot glue from a glue gun in the below image!). As the Flash Drive heats up the glue becomes less stable and the PCB wobbles around.

The fit of the cap

The body of the Classic USB Flash Drive (Flashbay) has 2 small raised parts that allow the cap to click into position holding it in place. Many competitor models have loose and badly fitting caps.

Print Quality

Wear and tear on a USB Flash Drive is hard to avoid but Flashbay goes the extra mile to ensure our print enjoys maximum longevity. When printing onto metal, the metal shells are printed prior to product assembly which allows us to oven-fire them, thus rendering the print tough and durable. We adhere to strict quality control procedures to ensure each logo we print is reproduced correctly. The above image shows the results after a standard quality control scratch test. The competitor print flakes off, while the Flashbay print remains true.

Quality of Aluminium Exterior Shell

We use high-grade anodised aluminium alloy which is specially treated to be fingerprint resistant (easy to clean) and has an anti-scratch, hardened surface. Imitators use much cheaper, impure and untreated aluminium; the difference on first-hand comparison is striking.

Thickness of USB Flash Drive

No one likes a chunky USB Flash Drive. The thickness of a USB Flash Drive goes a long way to its appeal; just a few millimetres make all the difference. The above shows our Drive is 1mm thinner at the thickest part, though considerably more slender all-round.

Certified RoHS Compliance

The RoHS Directive stands for "the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment". Flashbay strictly adheres to this EU directive and can show pass certificates from compliance testing. We recommend that you avoid suppliers unable to produce certification from a RoHS testing body as they are often unaware that their products fall short of their RoHS claims. Non-RoHS components are cheaper than compliant ones, hence their persistence in the marketplace.View Flashbay Certificate for this model


Flashbay is dedicated to maintaining quality standards according to (ISO) 9001:2000. We supply quality USB Flash Drives to the largest (and smallest) companies in the world who come back time and time again for repeat orders. Contact us for a quote.