Home Consumer Kingston DataTraveler Max Review

Kingston DataTraveler Max Review

by Charles P. Jefferies

Though portable solid-state drives are becoming more popular and can deliver excellent performance, they still can’t beat the portability and convenience of a USB flash drive. Kingston’s new DataTraveler Max pushes flash-drive performance limits with its USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface for a claimed 1,000MB/s read and 900MB/s write. Though the drive lacks encryption and rugged features, the DataTraveler Max is highly appealing for fast, portable storage.

Though portable solid-state drives are becoming more popular and can deliver excellent performance, they still can’t beat the portability and convenience of a USB flash drive. Kingston’s new DataTraveler Max pushes flash-drive performance limits with its USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface for a claimed 1,000MB/s read and 900MB/s write. Though the drive lacks encryption and rugged features, the DataTraveler Max is highly appealing for fast, portable storage.

Kingston DataTraveler Max Size

Kingston DataTraveler Max Pricing and Specifications

Kingston offers the DataTraveler Max (DT Max) in three sizes: 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. We’re testing the latter, which Amazon offers for $179 as I typed this. That’s at the upper end of what you should expect to pay even for a fast 1TB USB flash drive, but not unreasonable given Kingston’s performance claims. It looks as if the 512GB capacity is available for around $106.

As noted in the intro, the DT Max is a standard USB flash drive. It does not have encryption or security features of any kind, nor does it include any drive-management software. This is strictly a storage device. (For the ultimate in portable flash-drive security, see our SecureData SecureDrive KP USB review.)

The DT Max’s full specifications below contain few surprises. The standard five-year warranty is notable as is the free technical support should you need it.

Available capacities 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Interface USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps)
Rated performance Up to 1,000MB/s read and 900MB/s write
Operating system support Windows 8.1/10, MacOS (v 10.14.x+), Linux (v 2.6.x+), Chrome OS
Dimensions (HWD) 0.36 by 0.87 by 3.24 inches
Weight 0.42 ounces
Operating temperature 0 to 60 degrees C
Storage temperature -20 to 85 degrees C
Warranty Five-year limited w/ free technical support

Kingston DataTraveler Max Design and Build

The DT Max is about the size of a gumstick and easily fits in a pocket or carry bag. Much smaller USB flash drives can be had, though not if you want the DT Max’s performance level.

Kingston DataTraveler Max Outside

The outside is made of sturdy black plastic. Horizontal grooves provide a secure, slip-free way to grip it, especially while plugging or unplugging it. Though this drive lacks rugged and water resistance ratings, it feels solid and should stand up to the stresses of daily use. Kingston’s long standard warranty goes some way towards assuring that.

Kingston DataTraveler Max USB-C Connector

The USB-C connector is concealed; simply push the keyring tab on the back of the drive to coax it out. This design prevents the connector from getting bent or damaged during transport. (Provided you remember to retract it, that is.)

Kingston DataTraveler Max Connected

The DT Max’s last physical highlight is its LED status indicator on its topside just to the right of the Kingston logo, a feature that has disappeared off many flash drives. Our inner geek-sense always appreciates knowing when the drive is being accessed.

Kingston DataTraveler Max Vertical Orientation

Kingston DataTraveler Max Performance

The DT Max performed very well in our first test, the popular Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. It achieved 883MB/s write and 898MB/s write, close to Kingston’s claimed maximums and nearing USB 3.2 Gen2’s 10Gb/s maximum bandwidth.

Kingston DataTraveler Max Blackmagic Disk Speed Test

The DT Max produced similarly excellent results in our next and last test, IOMeter, especially in 4K random reads and writes. In the 2MB sequential four-thread test, we saw the DT Max exceed Kingston’s maximum read and write claims where it achieved 969MB/s write and 1,006MB/s read. Its write numbers are good enough to compete with those of external NVMe SSDs like the OWC Envy Pro SX SSD.

IOMeter (1-Thread)
Test Result
2MB sequential write 778.5MB/s, 389.2 IOPS
2MB sequential read 796.9MB/s, 398.5 IOPS
2MB random write 727.6MB/s, 363.8 IOPS
2MB random read 776.5MB/s, 388.2 IOPS
4K random write 37.8 MB/s, 9687.6 IOPS
4K random read 16.4MB/s, 4186.7 IOPS
IOMeter (4-Thread)
2MB sequential write 969.4MB/s, 469.7 IOPS
2MB sequential read 1006.5 MB/s, 503.3 IOPS
2MB random write 718.5 MB/s, 359.3 IOPS
2MB random read 808.8 MB/s, 404.4 IOPS
4K random write 110.9 MB/s, 28405 IOPS
4K random read 47.7 MB/s, 12215 IOPS

Conclusion

The DataTraveler Max met and even exceeded Kingston’s high-performance claims in our testing. Its performance is outstanding considering that it isn’t an external solid-state drive, but a traditional USB flash drive. The drive’s biggest downsides are its lack of security and rugged features, so just beware of that going in. Otherwise, the DT Max’s performance is potent enough to make it a viable alternative to external SSDs and its highly portable design sweetens the deal.

Kingston DT Max at Amazon

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