December 22nd, 2014 by Tucker Mindrum
Lexar JumpDrive M20 Flash Drive Review
The new M20 flash drives by Lexar were designed to handle mobile storage and transfer needs for On-The-Go (OTG)-enabled Android users. Up to 64GB can be leveraged through its retractable (and capless) micro-USB and USB 3.0 connectors to alleviate mobile data drain and congestion; M20 drives perform offline cordless transfers (at 120MB/s read and 55MB/s write, which is faster than WiFi-mediated transfers) and could also be used alongside the mobile device's internal storage (or kept separate as a backup hub). They also function as normal USB drives, so Lexar has simply added a few meaningful incentives for Android users.
Lexar M20 drives function out of Windows or Mac computers, and are compatible with ASTRO File Manager (an app produced by Google Play), which helps keep managed file libraries clean, organized, and easily accessible. Lexar M20 flash drives are offered in 64GB, 32GB, and 16GB capacities (for $69.99, $36.99, and $21.99, respectively), and carry a 3-year warranty.
- Available capacities
- 16GB (LJDM20-16GBSBNA), 120MB/s read 20MB/s write
- 32GB (LJDM20-32GBSBNA), 120MB/s read 55MB/s write
- 64GB (LJDM20-64GBSBNA), 120MB/s read 55MB/s write
- Connectivity: micro-USB and USB 3.0 (USB 2.0-compatible)
- Compatibility: Windows and Mac
- Warranty: 3 years
Design and Build
The most notable feature of the M20 flash drive design is the thumb slider. Although it relieves the need for a cap (which could easily be lost), the slider is a bit flimsy, and is easily detached unless used with care. The slider is blue against the otherwise white branded body, with a USB 3.0 connector on one end and the micro-USB connector on the other.
In this review, we have superficially compared the M20 to the previously reviewed Lexar P10 flash drive. However, this is only for perspective, since the intended use cases between the two models are very different (the P10 was designed purely for speed).
Using our HP Z620 Workstation Testing Platform running Windows 8.1, we measured transfer speeds from the Lexar M20 with IOMeter. It achieved 155.26MB/s read and 38.66MB/s write, which was far below the P10, as expected (252.39MB/s and 225.89MB/s for read and write, respectively).
When switching to random large-block transfers, the M20 showed transfer rates of 127.70MB/s and 9.70MB/s for read and write, respectively, which closely resembled the performance of the P10 (167.72MB/s read and 14.83MB/s write).
Our last flash drive benchmark measures 4K random transfer performance in IOPS. In this benchmark, the M20 had throughputs of 961.27 IOPS read and 44.45 IOPS write.
Lexar M20 flash drives are intended for use by Android users, although their inherent mobile storage functionality preserves them as standard USB drives as well. They can be used with OTG-enabled Android devices, helping to reduce the usage cost of wireless transfers and maximize total mobile storage availability.
Considering that it was designed for a specific function, the M20 performed quite well compared to the P10, which was touted as one of the fastest flash drives on the market at the time of its release (August, 2013). Although the M20 fell way short in sequential performance, it was in the same ballpark as the P10 in random large-block transfers.
While we love the capless design, the slider mechanism is a bit frustrating, at least in our review sample. The clip isn't very sturdy, actually popping off during our testing. It's easy enough to get back on, but for frequent slider users, may be a point of contention. Otherwise the unit is very convenient and should be plenty fast enough.
- micro-USB connector and Android functionality
- Good read performance
- Flimsy thumb slider
The Bottom Line
The Lexar M20 flash drives would be a smart addition for any Android user that is overloading the storage usage of their mobile devices or wants to easily share between a PC and mobile device using a single thumb drive.