I originally bought this 'bangle' USB memory stick for my daughter, she used it for a while but then her school provided her with their own stick which had a much bigger memory so this one was relegated to sitting in the drawer with the rest of the unused computer bits and pieces. Last month Mark bought me an iPad 2 and I decided to transfer all my photographs to it (yep, after spending hours sorting and loading photos onto memory sticks I found that Apple have decided not to give us a USB port anyway) - anyway, after doing all that I didn't have my time wasted as I used the sticks to pop some photos on my mum's new laptop as she'd lost a lot of hers due to a virus. The memory stick has a 4gb capacity and the casing is rubbery, made of the same material as the bracelet. The bracelet isn't as stretchy as the charity ones you can buy, something that surprised me a bit as this feels as though it's made of the same material as them but presumably it's been made a bit stronger to avoid losing the memory stick. It's comfortable to wear for short periods, I wore it for the twenty minute journey over to mums and although the USB stick itself makes the bracelet quite heavy/bulky I'd imagine that students or office workers would soon get used to this. It's super-quick to transfer documents and photographs to the stick, and back again. There has been absolutely no corruption of files and neither have I had anything inexplicably go missing when I know full well I've definitely transferred it over. After putting the photographs on mum's laptop the folders were exactly how they were when I'd transferred them from my computer and all icons looked right, unlike a recent memory stick I used that had such a weird interface that my icons ended up all skewed and messy. Deleting the files from the stick was as easy as you'd expect and it didn't hold on to any remnants, becoming completely blank once again once I'd hit the delete button. The design is good, the lid fits snugly around the actual metal USB 'bit' and clicks into place. It's this well designed lid that makes it unlikely that you'll ever lose the stick as I can't see that it would accidentally come undone while you were wearing the bracelet. The design doesn't make it any more awkward to fit the stick into the USB slot, obviously if your slots are near the floor on your modem the bracelet component may drag on the floor a bit - but this is black so isn't going to get dirty and the rubber isn't heavy enough to pull the USB out of the slot so for me that isn't a problem.
Memory sticks have to be one of the great inventions of the recent times. Sure, floppy discs were a good start, and CD Roms weren't bad, but neither can really compare to the sheer convenience of a tiny USB, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand but with the ability to store literally hundreds of files and transfer them easily from one machine to another, plus delete them when you're done and reuse the space for something else. I am paranoid about losing memory sticks, especially when using them for work as I often have confidential documents on them. I have one permanently attached to my house keys (and one on my lanyard with my name badge, round my neck at work) but I needed another one to bring out here as computer viruses are rife and it was highly likely that any one stick might be out of action at any time. I shopped around and discovered the Wrist Vault, so promptly whipped out my credit card and bought one from Play.com. The Wrist Vault is a simple but ingenious idea: a memory stick that is attached to a bracelet, meaning you can wear it round your wrist to carry it from place to place. There doesn't appear to be much choice in designs at the moment, so mine is a simple black band, made from rubber and just over 1cm wide. Wearing one of these is a lot like wearing a locker key when you go swimming. The texture is the same, as is the fact that it's not adjustable to suit your wrist. I have quite slim wrists so can actually get this on without undoing it, but it's not so big that it could fall off, except if strapped to the arm of a rather technologically advanced toddler. The band is easy to open and fasten, and it's basically the integrated lid of the USB which comes off to separate the two sides. At the same time, this is not the slick, subtle bracelet I expected / hoped it to be. For one thing, it's a bit of a weird shape as it would be round if it weren't for the memory stick which is, as you would expect, solid not bendy like the rest of the design. This turns it into a sort of oval shape which sticks out strangely on one side of my wrist. My arms haven't seen the inside of long sleeves for 3+ months, and so once I've got this on there's no hiding it, whereas the one attached to my keys passes by unobtrusively most of the time. Despite this criticism, there are some key advantages to the Wrist Vault. For example, the lid is integrated into the design, so cannot physically be lost. I've misplaced dozens of standard clip on lids over the years, and after a while the dirt and dust do tend to damage the uncapped stick left behind. It's also easy to get the bracelet on and off the designed way (i.e. by opening it and then closing it round your wrist) using only one hand - I can struggle with some jewellery bracelets with complicated catches that require you to be almost double joined to manoeuvre, but this is fuss free and fastens easily. It also fastens securely: I've never had it ping open while I was wearing it. Since you have no options to choose from, I like that the one design they do have is plain - black with minimal printing on. They may say you can have any colour you want as long as it's black, but at the same time it does go with everything. I have had absolutely no problems using the memory stick itself. It allows for high speed data transfer (USB 2.0, but compatible with slower ports) and my computer detects it immediately. It comes pre-named (Wristvault) though you can change this if you wish. One of my pet peeves is generically labelled sticks that you can never quite identify (when you've more than one plugged in at once) so I like the fact that they've given it a name other than 'USB' or something else that requires guesswork. I have copied files onto and off the stick, and deleted some too, and each operation is completed within a few seconds (depending on file size) without the delay I've had with some other sticks that seem to want to 'think' about the request before implementing it. Some computer technology can be rather temperamental. My local internet dongle in particular seems to dislike being transported or bumped around even slightly, and will take any excuse to give up and leave me without emails for a few days. Not so with this product. The rubber casing means the stick is splashproof and shockproof. I'm not sure I've tested it on these, but no doubt you would were you walking around outside in the rain or snow (fun fact of the day: it's 37 C warmer here in Freetown than it is in Manchester right now...) Rubber is also light, so though it might not be the most fashion conscious of fabrics, it does make it perfect bracelet material. Unfortunately here it can get a bit sweaty, but talc works as well under this as it does under clothes (seriously, how absolutely awesome is talc?) and though I'd use it with caution as I'm not sure the inside of the stick would like a baby powder shower too much. I suppose the upside of it being too big for my wrist is that it reduces the chance of chafing. Obviously you don't have to wear it on your wrist - sometimes I simply put it in my pencil case or a pocket in my bag. In the end, I like this stick perhaps in spite of, now due to, the bracelet design, which is silly when you think that's the main reason I bought it. Because it's that little bit too big I perhaps wrongly feel it is not as safe and secure as it could be - I've never experience it coming loose or falling off, but I always worry it might happen and as it's so light you might not feel it fall off. I would recommend buying this if you think you might wear it on your wrist even just once in a while - otherwise it's probably not worth it, not least because it takes up more room than a normal USB, having the rubber band attached. This product isn't without its flaws, but it's also quite a good un' and would make a good stocking filler - after all, you can never have too many memory sticks. I would like to see them do different sizes - maybe children's, women's and men's - and if they could do that then colours might be fun too, but for the price you can hardly complain. Mine is the 4GB version, though it comes in other sizes as well including 1GB and 8GB. For my personal use I'd rather have a few smaller sticks than one large one, but this was the size on offer at the time I bought. The design is the same, regardless of the memory you get, though it does have the GB printed on the strap so you know which one it is if you have several. At a minimum it is compatible with Apple MacOS x 10 and Microsoft Windows 2000, XP and Vista. Play.com offers the 4GB for £4.99 at present (Dec 10) which is extremely reasonable for a memory stick with an extra feature, and also the price I paid in summer. As a USB it gets 10 out of 10, but I'm docking 2 points / a star because its key selling point - the bracelet design - wasn't as wonderful as I'd hoped. Re: the title - it's a gym reference. Wrist vault... geddit?