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Archive for the ‘USB2U News’ Category

New Reversible USB Design Finished

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

The standards group that have been developing the next generation of the USB cable and connector have finally finished their work and have now passed the exact specifications to the USB Implementers Forum.

Expect a smaller USB port with that will support cables and peripherals that can plugged in any way around! There are also significant improvements in the data transfer speeds that can be supported – 10 Gigabits per second which is twice the current maximum supported by USB 3.0.

The next stage is the manufacture of products, cables and peripherals to take advantage of the new specification. Dubbed “USB Type-C” the new connector is not dissimilar to Apple’s Lightning cable/connector.

USB Type C Cable and Connector - Courtesy of Foxconn

USB Type C Cable and Connector – Courtesy of Foxconn

Whilst USB Type-C has many benefits it is not compatible with the current USB standard so it’s going to take a while before it gains any critical mass and of course users will have to upgrade all of their peripherals to take advantage of the benefits on offer.

The move from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 has been slow so it’s going to be interesting to see how quickly the market adopts this new standard. Its adoption is likely to be helped if it’s picked up and marketed by the makers of Android Smart Phones – it’s unlikely it will get any help from Apple who are likely to prefer their own Lightning standard.

USB flash drives that take advantage of the Type-C connector are likely to emerge later this year albeit we may just see first generation prototypes in 2014. Of course without PC’s, laptops, tablets and smartphones to plug them into it’s going to take a while!

Inevitably USB flash drives that take advantage of this new specification will be expensive so they’re unlikely to be used as promotional items and give-aways (unless you’re a company with deep marketing budgets and you’re targeting classic early adopters!). They’re also likely to have much larger data storage capabilities that the typical 8GB or 16GB USB sticks you see today – after all there is little point in putting all that power and speed into a USB stick and then equipping it with 8GB of memory that you could fill in seconds. It’d be a bit like designing a Ferrari with a 1 litre petrol tank – it’ll look fantastic, sound fantastic and drive amazingly well but it would only go 100 metres before you’d need to fill it up with petrol again!


We’ve Smashed Through 2,000 Reviews for USB2U on Trustpilot

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

As a relatively conservative British company it’s not really the done thing to brag but we’re so pleased to have broken through 2,000 customer reviews for USB2U on Trustpilot that we couldn’t resist the urge to post an update about it on our website. It’s a big milestone for us and the fact that the vast majority of our reviews rate our service and products as “Excellent” is something we’re really chuffed about!

We started using the independent review service provided by Trustpilot a couple of years ago. We did it (and we have to pay for the service) because we wanted to give our customers a chance to comment on the service and the promotional USB memory sticks they receive from us.

At the outset we had no real idea what the reaction would be. We felt that we were offering a good service, it’s certainly something we strive to do and the team here at USB2U put their heart and soul into trying to give our customers the best experience they can. But without actually asking our customers for their feedback we were really just guessing what people might be thinking and of course if there were issues with our service we were never going to find out. OK, we might get the odd one or two customers providing feedback but by introducing a trusted and independent 3rd party to manage the reviews we’ve found that customers are much more willing to provide feedback (good and bad).

We’re by no means perfect and we’ve picked up a few negative comments over the last couple of the years. Mostly it’s been where we’ve dropped a catch or made a silly mistake – we’re all human and with the thousands of orders we handle ever year the odd one or two errors are bound to creep in. We’ve taken these on the chin and when they do happen we use the feedback as constructively as we can to make changes and improvements or our processes. Any negative feedback hurts but more importantly if a customer has taken the time to write it then it typically means they’re pretty unhappy and we’d rather know about this so we can deal with their issues and make sure we get it right next time.

Our current ranking based on just over 2,000 reviews if 9.7 out of 10 which of course we’re delighted with! There are simply too many to highlight and post here but if you are interested pop over to the Trustpilot site and have a browse through the reviews – we can’t moderate or adjust them, all we can do is ask/encourage customers to say a few words and rank us.

If you are looking for trusted UK supplier of promotional USB memory sticks then checking out 3rd party review sites like Trustpilot is a good place to start!

Promotional USB Twister Flash Drives

Promotional USB Twister Flash Drives


UDP Flash Has Driven USB Memory Stick Innovation

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

When the first USB flash drives hit the market just over 10+ years ago they were all based on one core technological solution and that was the combination of flash memory with a controller chip and a capacitor – these components were soldered onto a printed circuit board and a USB connector provided the interface to the PC. The result was a small(ish), portable and easy to use data storage device – the USB memory stick was born!

The “guts” of the memory stick (the printed circuit board, memory module, capacitor, controller and USB connector) are generally referred to in the industry as a COB solution – think of it as a common engine around which manufacturers build different designs/shells.

In subsequent years the storage capacity of these first generation USB sticks grew from a relatively small 8MB to eventually break through the 1GB barrier. Today memory sticks with a storage capacity of 64GB are common place!

The big shake up in terms of design came with the introduction of the UDP chips – in common with other sectors in the computer and gadget sector what was once achieved on a large COB card could now be achieved on a much smaller form factor. Effectively a UDP chip has the flash memory, the controller and the capacitor all rolled into one and as you can see it’s much smaller.

USB Memory Sticks  - COB vs UDP

USB Memory Sticks - COB vs UDP

As a consequence the USB memory stick product designers have had a field day! No longer did their designs have to work with a largish rectangular internal component but instead they could now unleash their creative talents and come up with all sorts of shapes, designs and styles.

Today the market is awash with thousands of different designs ranging from super thin credit cards to tiny little Iron Sticks and lots of really cute custom USB sticks. UDP chips are a boon to designers of Custom USB sticks because pretty much any shape can now be accommodated hence the proliferation of custom USB lips, USB animals, USB truck and cars and USB sticks in the shape of characters from movies.

USB Cards Using UDP Chips

USB Cards Using UDP Chips

There is no difference in the performance of USB memory sticks that use UDP technology. Their read/writes speeds are just as fast and they’ll support the same number of read/write cycles. Arguably they are more stable because there are no soldered connections to break or weaken over time.


Buyer Beware – Promotional USB Memory Stick Scams are Rife

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

It’s not quite made it onto Rogue Traders just yet but you do wonder how long it will take before the scams that are rife in this sector are exposed to a broader audience than we can achieve on our blog site.

The problem for anyone buying USB memory sticks is that it’s relatively easy to mislead and to end up buying rubbish. The big problem is that on the outside a fake USB stick can look genuine BUT it’s what under the skin of a USB stick that really matters and not how good they look on the outside. You can’t even trust the brands printed on the outside of the USB sticks because these are easy to fake to!

The Chinese factories will produce any shape of USB you want and print any logo on them – rarely are questions asked about who owns the brand, if there is permission to use the brand and so on. Consequently if you wanted to buy USB flash drives that look exactly like say a Kingston Flash Drive then no problem – how many do you want tends to be the only question asked and then it’s just a question of how much (or little) you want to spend on the internal components!

The fakes might look like the real thing but when used don’t be surprised to discover that the claimed 16GB flash drive only contains 4GB of flash memory. When you plug it in and check the properties of the flash drive it might look like a 16GB but the try and load 16GB of data onto it. If you have bought a 4GB USB drive that has been “masked” to look like a 16GB then when you load more than 4GB of data onto the drive you’ll get a “disk full” error message. Masking is a common problem and because very few people know they have an issue until they’ve been using the sticks the scammers often get away with it.

The other common issue with fakes is their build quality and data transfer speeds. Most fakes use cheap, grade “B” flash memory components many of which will be recycled. As you can image the problem with these components is that they have a high probability of failure and they typically have slow read/write speeds.

Promotional USB flash drives are sold to companies, school and universities in their millions every year and whilst they are ordered from local suppliers pretty much every USB memory sticks will have been manufactured to order and flown in from China.

Pressure to reduce prices and win business has seen some unscrupulous local suppliers of branded USB memory sticks supply “masked” sticks and pass them off as drives of a higher capacity. The only way to be sure that you are getting what you are paying for is to load one of the USB memory sticks to the limit and check that you can load 4GB of data onto a 4GB USB Memory Stick. You’re never going to get access to 100% of a 4GB drive because some of the capacity is used to manage the way the USB stores its data but you should be able to use around 95% of a 4GB drive.

We strongly recommend that you buy from a known and trusted local supply. Ideally choose a company that has been around for a good number of years and who are not going to disappear overnight. You want to buy from a company that is financially stable and is going to be there stand behind any guarantee that’s on offer. A 10 year guarantee is only any good if the company is still around to claim against it!

If you buy from direct from China and pay up-front (as you will have to) then you open up a whole additional set of risks/issue. Only an option for the brave or the foolhardy.



Supplying Engraved Wooden USB Memory Sticks to Professional Photographers

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Since exhibiting The  Photography Show earlier this year our feet have barely touched the ground and it’d be fair to say it’s all been a little bit manic – but in a good way. The feedback from the photographers we met at the show was amazing and the level of interest shown in our range of USB packages since the show has blown us away.

As we committed to the show weren’t 100% sure if now was the right time to be exhibiting. Our nervousness stemmed from concerns about whether Professional Photographers were ready to take the plunge and move CD’s and DVD’s to USB memory sticks. Equally we knew it was down to us to inform and educate about the differing quality of “promotional” USB sticks that are readily available and to get across the message that most are simply not suitable for photographers because a “promotional” USB sticks is a very different beast to a High Spec USB stick put together specifically for the photography sector – these have upgraded memory, upgraded controller chips and an upgraded capacitor.

Inevitably “High Spec” USB sticks cost a little more than standard promotional USB sticks so our challenge was helping photographers understand why we felt it was important that they bought these more expensive sticks in preference to the cheaper promotional models we sell.

Wendy Grant Wooden USB Sticks and Boxes from USB2U

Wendy Grant Wooden USB Sticks and Boxes from USB2U

Coupled with this we knew we had to do something special in terms of branding and packaging which is why we’ve invested so heavily in this aspect over the last year. The “bundles” we now sell on our dedicated Photographer WebSite are all put together using High Specification USB sticks but they also include a range of fantastic packaging options.

The most popular “bundle” has been our engraved Woodland USB sticks coupled with our engraved wooden slide gift box. We fill the wooden box with Coconut Coir (it’s a very fine, natural fibre) that works really and reinforces the “eco-friendly” message the package sends out. Although we can print the wooden sticks and boxes most photographers are opting to get them engraved – the level of detail we can achieve with the engraving is amazing and of course the engraving mellows and matures with the wood. The results are a great looking and incredibly tactile package that is incomparable to a CD or DVD and as such they have very quickly become a vehicle to generate additional sales and additional revenue for the professional photographers that are using them.

Prices for our bundles are shown on the USB2U Photography Web Site but if you can’t see exactly what you want just give us a call – mock-ups and dummy samples are all supplied free of charge.


Ready-to-stick USB Flash Drives

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

If you’ve already got your marketing material sorted, printed and ready to go but you want to add some digital content to it then these new “Ready-to-stick USB Flash Drives” are a fantastic solution.

The base comes with pre-affixed sticky tape which you just peel off and then it’s just a question of fixing them in place – they’re ideal for adding to business cards, marketing flyers, brochures, user manuals, conference folders, anything!



The small USB stick that comes with the “ready-to-stick” base can be supplied in a wide range of memory sizes from 128MB all the way up to 16GB so there is plenty of scope to get creative with what you load onto the flash drives – think promotional videos, copies of presentation slides (an obvious choice for press events, conferences and seminars), price lists, press releases – anything!

You don’t even have to worry about loading the data onto the promotional USB flash drives yourself either because if you have it ready (and we know this can be a challenge) then we can data-load all of the USB flash drives for you before we ship them out – no one in their right minds wants to be sitting in the office data-loading USB sticks one at a time – leave it to the professionals. We use the latest professional data loading kit to transfer files onto the USB sticks in bulk and the kit tests each stick when it’s finished to make sure the data has transferred properly!

Ready-to-stick USB Flash Drives

Ready-to-stick USB Flash Drives

You could print the “Ready –to-stick” USB Flash drives but typically they are left unprinted although some customers have printed some basic (text) instructions on the flash drive.  They come in a wide range of colours and we usually hold them in stock for same day delivery (assuming they are not printed).

Don’t just think “marketing” with these either – they can replace anything that you currently send out printed. You could for example look to supply “User Manuals” on them – just attach one of these to your product and you’ve very easily and simply supplied your customer with a comprehensive user manual (with videos and web links) and you’ll have cut down your printing costs, you’ll have reduced the weight of your packaging, reduced its footprint (including its carbon footprint) and you’ll reduce your transportation costs. It really does delivery a “win win” for everyone.

Yes you could just put this information on the web and ask your customers to view it their but people still like (expect) to be given this sort of information with their products when they buy it.

We think “Ready-to-stick” USB Flash drives are going to be a really popular addition to our portfolio – call us for a free sample and pricing.


New – Sample Packs of USB Flash Drives & Boxes for Photographers

Friday, April 25th, 2014

If you’re a professional photographers and you’re still not quite sure if making the move from CD’s and DVD’s to USB flash drives is right for you then this is going to be good news.

Until recently most suppliers of USB packages aimed specifically at the photographer market have asked for a minimum order of 25 pcs (some even specify 100 pcs) but based on the feedback at The Photography Show in March of this year we decided to reduce the MOQ for all of our Photography “bundles” to just 10 (ten)! This has reduced significantly the initial cash outlay to make the move to USB’s and gives photographers the chance to test the different types and styles of USB sticks and gift boxes without making a large commitment.

But even an MOQ of 10 pcs is too many for some so in response we have now introduced the option to buy a “sample pack” of any of our Photography USB Bundles – Prices start at around £25 and for this you’ll get a fully customised (printed or engraved) 4GB or 8GB USB memory stick (with a high performance chipset) and you’ll get a printed or engraved box to go with it. To be clear it will be your logo, design, artwork and text that goes on the USB stick and box and there are NO additional set-up costs or print origination costs to worry about either.

USB Flash Drive Sample Packs for Photographers

USB Flash Drive Sample Packs for Photographers

The beauty of the sample option is that you can order two or three different packs to test which works best for you before you commit to a larger order (when the price per unit will drop significantly) BUT, you can also use the sample pack option to order fully personalised USB sticks and boxes – again, one of the things we were asked for at the show was the option to engrave or print clients names on the sticks – so for a wedding shoot the sticks (and gift boxes) could have the names of the bride and groom printed on them – the Sample Box option gives you this scope!

The lead time for the Sample Packs is around 7 days from artwork approval. The ordering process is easy as well because we’ve “bolted” this onto our sister site USBNow which has a secure check-out payment process and allows for payment by credit card, debit card and PayPal. For more information visit USBNow and the USB Flash Drives – Photographers section!


USB 3.1 – The Death of USB Memory Sticks as we Know Them

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

The body that controls the development of the USB standards has decided that the current USB connector (the one that has been with us since the mid 1990’s) is overdue for a makeover.

The USB connector – the metal bit at the end of the cable or any USB memory stick is apparently not sleek enough, not small enough and it’s biggest problem is that it’s caused us to waste hours and hours of our life trying to work out which way around the USB connector needs to be inserted – really? We handle more USB’s in a day than the average person will handle in a lifetime and we can’t say that it’s really been that much of an issue.

But, with smart phones, tablets and new wearable devices getting thinner and thinner there is a reasonable argument that we do need a sleeker and thinner connector to support them. Of course the downside of this is that overtime we’re all likely to have to upgrade our peripherals and storage devices to support the new interface – for the foreseeable future the current USB connector (socket) is not going to be phased out we’re more likely to see a parallel running so PC’s and Laptops (and possibly smart TV’s) will come equipped ready to support both standards.

USB Type C Cable and Connector - Courtesy of Foxconn

USB Type C Cable and Connector - Courtesy of Foxconn

The new connector, christened “Type C” will hit the market later this year (probably just in time for Christmas) and you can be sure that the manufactures of adapters and connectors are poised to launch products at the same time. If this all sounds familiar then think “Apple Lightening Connector” and the challenges it created when it was introduced with the iPhone5.

Other touted benefits of the new Type C connector are:

  • The cable (or peripheral) will make an audible click when plugged in correctly.
  • It will support higher data transfer rates of up to 10 Gbps.
  • It will enable the delivery of greater power to peripherals via the USB Type C cable(s) – roughly double the amount of the current standard.
  • It’s designed to be plugged and unplugged 10,000 times.

With an estimated 6 Billion implementations of the current sized USB cables/connector don’t expect things to change too much overnight! Most people are still using USB 2.0 and haven’t made the move to USB 3.0 so we’re not expecting a stampede to USB 3.1 and the Type C connector anytime soon.

As far as promotional USB flash drives are concerned it’s likely to be business as usual for many years to come – the two core requirements when companies are looking for promotional USB flash drives is “universality” (when they give them away can people use them) and “price”. Whilst there are undoubted merits with the USB 3.1 standard and the Type C connector the issues in the short term (the next few years) are that most people they would give a new generation USB 3.1 flash drive to would not be able to use it and they’ll pay a hefty premium for a USB 3.1 product versus USB 2.0

It’s too soon to be reading the last rites to USB flash drives as we know them today but the next few years are going to prove interesting!


Ten Is the Magic Number for Professional Photographers

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Like lots of our competitors the minimum order for printed USB memory sticks has always been twenty five (25) but the feedback we were given at The Photography Show in Birmingham was so supportive of our “show offer” that we have now decided to reduce our minimum order quantities. From today all of the discounted USB bundles and packages of our USB2U photography web site have been had their minimum order quantities reduced to ten (10)!!

So, if you’re a professional photographer, wedding photographer or videographer and you’ve been thinking of making the switch from CD’s and DVD’s but you’ve been out off by the level of upfront commitment you needed to make to buy 25 USB sticks and boxes then this is going to be good news.

Starting today you can get yourself ten fully personalised USB sticks and ten personalised USB gift boxes to go with them for around £100! That includes all of the artwork set-up costs, the printing (or engraving), custom inserts for the USB sticks and delivery by Royal Mail Special Delivery.

You can choose from six different bundles including our very popular wooden USB sticks and wooden USB gift boxes or you might opt for our USB cards with the option of a leather wallet or a printed gift box.

Whichever “bundle” you choose you’ll be getting upgraded (high performance) USB sticks that we assemble specifically for professional photographers – these ensure a higher read/write speed, more read/ write cycles (a longer life) and they all come with a ten year warranty. We print/engrave all of our sticks in the UK so the lead time for any order is normally just a few days (depending on how busy we are).

The feedback from photographers to our range of bundles has been amazing:

A perfect job with perfect service

Having used simple DVDs to provide clients with high res files in the past I had it in the back of my mind that I should present them with something a little more refined. I’ve found that in USB2U, the customised memory sticks I’ve just received have blown me away and the feedback from clients just from posting an image of the sticks to facebook has been amazing. Don’t hesitate order some today! (Russell Lewis Photography)

A very efficient service from start to finish and great communications every step of the way.

I found USB2U very easy to deal with and they provided clear instructions and guidance where necessary – I had seen their website a year or so ago, but since the introduction of their ‘professional photographers’ section on their website, it has greatly improved my ability to present digital images to my clients and brings image and video presentation up to date. With quality in mind, the processing chips are uprated to make sure that my professional products are made to last. (Taylors Photographic)

Innovative stylish products, great quality with fast efficient and friendly service.

Had the chance to view the woodland style USB drives in wooden boxes at USB2U Stand at the Photography Show. Had been looking for a stylish way to present digital images to clients and this product is in a class of its own.  The little touches like the small magnets, to hold on the cap & sliding lid for the box, give that touch of class to what is a very elegant product. The team at USB2U where friendly, helpful and professional enabling the artwork processes to be achieved in a few hours and delivery was on time and as promised. A great experience all round (Andy Meany Photography )

USB2U Memory Sticks and Boxes for Taylors Photographic

USB2U Memory Sticks and Boxes for Taylors Photographic


Branded USB Memory Sticks – It’s What We Do

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

If you’re looking for a supplier of branded USB memory sticks then please do add us to your short-list of possible suppliers. Branded USB memory sticks is what we do and we’ve been assembling, printing, engraving and data-loading them since we started the business back in 2002 (some 12 years ago!).

During this time we’ve supplied millions of USB sticks to tens of thousands of customers (large and small) and, the vast majority we’re delighted to say, stay with us and keep coming back for more. One of the most important aspects of any buyer/supplier relationship is “trust” and this is particularly true when you’re looking to buy a product that is customised to carry your brand and typically has to be delivered against an immovable “drop dead” date.

The point is that you need your USB supplier to deliver a good, high quality product that echoes all of the strengths and values that you have invested in your brand and importantly you you’re your supplier to delivery your USB sticks when you need them – no excuses.

We recognise of course that pricing is a major factor as well so the service and products we offer are priced to be amongst the most competitive you’ll find anywhere but importantly our prices are backed by a strong quality ethic, a determination to offer the service second to none and we also warrant our USB memory sticks for 10 years – so, if you have any problems with them (of any description) then we promise to replace them with new ones at our cost. This is not a hollow promise tossed out there by some company that is new to the market and feels they need to add this statement to compete with the more establish companies like USB2U- our promise is underpinned by our strong position in the market, our trading history and our financial stability.

For an indication of what our customers think of us take a look at the reviews we’ve received on TrustPilot – Trustpilot is an independent 3rd party review site that we’ve invited our customers to post to over the last 2 years. In this time we’re delighted that over 1,500 customers have taken time out of their busy schedules to review us and we’ve even more delighted that they’re rated our service as “Excellent” with an overall score of 9.7 out of 10!

So, if you’re looking for a trusted supplier of branded USB memory sticks give us a call – we’d love to hear from you.

USB2U - Trusted Supplier of Branded USB Memory Sticks

USB2U - Trusted Supplier of Branded USB Memory Sticks

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