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Tins aren’t what they used to be – Well at least not USB ones!

Posted by USB2U on 10th February 2015 | Permalink

There was a time when a presentation tin box for a promotional USB stick was a pretty bland affair but times they are a changing!

There are two main factors are at play here:

  1. More and more companies that buy USB memory sticks to give-away (for whatever reason) are understanding that you get a much more positive response if your package your sticks rather than just give them out without any thought about how they are presented. It’s pretty easy understand why this might be the case – after all how many of us hand over birthday presents or Christmas presents without 1st wrapping them up or at the very least putting some effort into their presentation. Gifts (even corporate promotional gifts) handed out in pretty/attractive packaging look better, they generate a better response and they provide another medium onto which to promote the companies brand.
  2. Print technology has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past few years. Today it’s relatively simple to print across the full surface area of the USB presentation tins and the price to do this has dropped markedly. The results, as you can see from the images below, are fantastic and really do lift the overall impact of a simple USB stick.
Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

So, if you are thinking of buying promotional USB flash drives anytime soon it is definitely worth chatting through the options for packaging and in particular our metal presentation tin gift boxes. Not only can we now print in full colour (with print bleed right to the edge of the lid) but we can custom cut the foam insert to match any model of drive.

Of course it’s not just tins we offer so if tins are not your thing but you want a gift box then check out the extensive range of options we offer on our website. Pretty much all of them are held in stock in our UK warehouse and most (including the tins) can be printed and delivered in as little as 24hrs (you’ll pay a little more in rush fees for any “rush service”).

Remember we offer free samples (not with your own logo on but samples of our tins and boxes) so if you’re not sure which works best for you just ask and we’ll pop a sample or two in the post.

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks


Our Printed Chic USB Flash Drives Can Be With You in 24hrs

Posted by USB2U on 13th October 2014 | Permalink

We understand that sometimes it’s just not possible to foresee that you’re going to need some printed USB flash drives. We know that things get missed off the “to-do” list. We know that other people you thought were taking care of the order for USB sticks can “forget” them and equally we know that other promotional USB flash drive suppliers can be too confident of their ability to deliver against very tight deadlines.

The typical lead-times that most supplies work to is around 5 – 10 days from final artwork approval (which in itself can add a day or two to the process and even them lots of suppliers won’t start working on your order until you’ve paid for them). This is usually fine in “normal” circumstances but if you need your flash drives in a hurry then it can be a challenge finding a local supplier that can help!

At USB2U we not only hold thousands of blank USB sticks in stock ready to be overprinted but we handle all of the printing, data-loading and QA checking in-house. In fact we hold so much stock in the UK that around 50% of all of our orders are now assembled, printed (or engraved) and data-loaded by us in Northampton. This means our customers get a super-fast turnaround on their orders and there is no risk of them getting “stuck in customs” or being delayed because of shipping issues.

In fact with a print and engraving capacity that exceeds 5,000 USB sticks per day we’re so confident in our ability to turn around orders quickly that we offer a 24hr”rush service”! Although we describe it as a 24hr service the reality is often quicker than this because we seem to get a lot of orders in the afternoon which are then printed and delivered before lunchtime the following day – so, in reality our 24hr service is quite often 20hrs or less!

Here’s what one customer had to say about our rush service and what it meant to them and their client last week:

Excellent service. Saved an important account (Philip Noons of JE Group)

We had an important client call us on Friday evening to get a USB order to them by 3:00PM on the following Monday. None of our other suppliers could help us. I emailed Natalie on Friday evening and spoke with her on the Monday. I had the artwork approved and the job turnaround by 1:00PM. A truly impressive level of service. My courier picked up the items and delivered them to our client’s exhibition in London by 2:30PM that day. Needless to say, our client (a highend retaill store) were extremely grateful. USB2U, thanks to their efforts, made us look good.

If you find yourself in need of promotional USB sticks in a hurry then there really is only one place to call!

At the moment we’ve got some special pricing on our Chic USB Sticks and yes, they can be with you (printed and data-loaded) tomorrow.

Promotional USB Sticks in 24hrs

Promotional USB Sticks in 24hrs from USB2U


Wooden USB Flash Drives should you Engrave or Print them

Posted by USB2U on 21st June 2013 | Permalink

Some of our most popular USB flash drives at the moment are our wooden versions. It’s not just professional and wedding photographers that are buying them either (although they do buy a significant number) but a growing number of large corporate companies that like the “eco-credentials” of the wooden and bamboo USB sticks we sell.

We have eight different wooden and bamboo styles to choose from and they typically come in dark and light wood options and of course they come in a wide range of memory sizes typically starting at 128MB and going all the way up to 32GB. The most popular models are our Woodland USB Flash Drive and our Wooden Twister USB Drive.



The Woodland version is rectangular, incredibly tactile and the cap is held in place with two small discrete magnets that are carefully recessed into the cap. The Twister version has no cap to lose, it’s a little smaller than the Woodland but it has equally strong eco-credentials and style.

The biggest decision facing anyone buy any of our wooden USB models is whether to get their logo printed onto the USB stick or engraved onto the USB stick – both options (as the images here illustrate) produce excellent results but they have their own benefits:

Woodland Engraved USB Sticks

Woodland Engraved USB Sticks

Engraving onto a wooden product somehow just seems the right thing to do, it seems more sympathetic to the core product and because no ink is being applied to the product it maintains the integrity of any “eco” message that you want to push.  You also get a very tactile finish and robust finish that isn’t going to chip or fade.

The compromise though is that no colours are involved when they are laser engraved – the image is created by cutting away at the surface of the wood and because of this you will get some variation across the USB sticks – this is simply because you’re dealing with a natural material with different grain effects and slight variations in colour. Arguably this adds to the appeal albeit some “brand managers” are put off by the absolute lack of control you get with engraving on wood.

If you want the benefits of a wooden promotional USB stick but you need your logo reproduced in full colour then you’ll need to opt for the printed option – the results can look striking and they’ll keep the brand police happy. The only compromise is that the print will eventually chip off unlike an engraved logo which is there to stay!

Whichever option you choose we can typically supply these from UK stock in as little as 24hrs! Call us for latest availability and prices.


Wedding Photographers Guide To Buying Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 6th March 2013 | Permalink

If you’re a professional wedding or portrait photographer and you’re thinking about moving away from CD and DVD’s in favour of engraved or printed USB memory sticks then there are some basic facts you need to be aware of before you make the move:

  1. The vast majority of companies in the UK that supply customised USB memory sticks that are typically supplying them to schools, universities and companies that are looking for cheap promotional giveaways. Often they are used as free giveaways at open days, seminars, conferences and tradeshows and as such price tends to be key determining factor when universities and companies are buying these USB sticks

    Because price is the driver performance is sacrificed so typical read/write speeds of a “standard” promotional USB memory sticks are at best around 2MB per second (write) and 6MB per second (read). Whilst this is “OK” if all you’re doing is loading up a couple of sales brochures onto the sticks but, if you’re a professional wedding photographer and you want to load lots of high quality images onto the sticks they are unlikely to be good enough for you.

  2. If you do decided to buy standard promotional USB memory sticks rather than high specification sticks that are recommended for professional photographers then you’ll notice that they’re not the quickest of products. If you’ve been used to working on Apple Mac’s and you use top end Memory Cards in your cameras with fast read/write speeds, or perhaps you use Firewire or Thunderbolt to move data around then by comparison a promotional USB memory stick is going to be painful in the extreme!

    For example mid-range SD or CF cards have a read/write speed of around 40MB per second which is 10 times the speed of standard promotional USB memory sticks.

  3. Top end, high performance USB 2.0 USB sticks from the likes of Kingston and Transcend will have read/writes speeds of around 20MB per second which is significantly faster than the promotional versions but these high performance USB sticks carry a hefty price tag and they can’t be printed or engraved with a logo – if you use them you’ll have to settle for a USB stick that carries the manufacturers brand rather than your own.
  4. Another option is to consider getting prices for USB 3.0 USB sticks. This is the very latest USB standard and USB 3.0 sticks are capable of read/write speeds of 50 – 100MB per second. This makes them incredibly quick but they are expensive and to get the speed benefits you need to use them with a PC or Mac that has USB 3.0 ports.  They will work on USB 2.0 PC’s but only at USB 2.0 speeds!

    But, if you buy USB 3.0 sticks and you have a Mac or PC that can support them you can dramatically reduce your own data-loading times and time is a precious commodity so it’s definitely something you should think about.

  5. A compromise that lots of professional photographers settle on is to opt for a upgraded USB 2.0 flash drives – some reputable USB suppliers will proactively suggest this if they know you are a photographer. Others won’t because they know the costs will be higher and they are therefore less likely to win your business.

    Upgraded USB 2.0 flash drives will use better quality components (faster flash memory, better controller chips and better capacitors) they’ll be a little more expensive but they’ll have better performance levels, they support more read/write cycles and they’ll have a longer life – effectively you’ll be getting something close to the high performance products sold by Kingston and Lacie but without paying their prices and with the flexibility to add your brand or logo to the sticks.

  6. Remember if you don’t ask for high performance or “upgraded” USB sticks then you will just get “standard” promotional USB flash drives which are fine but they’re going to be slow!
  7. Ideally talk to your supplier about what you plan to use your USB flash drives for and get them to recommend a solution. If you’ve chosen your supplier well and they know their industry they should not only be aware of the issues but they should be able to put forward a range of different solutions.
USB Memory Sticks For Wedding Photographers

USB Memory Sticks For Wedding Photographers



Professional Photographers – USB Lambs to the Slaughter

Posted by USB2U on 22nd January 2013 | Permalink

With more and more professional photographers taking the plunge and abandoning CD’s and DVD’s in favour of branded USB memory sticks the challenge for them is to make sure they get a product that is fit for purpose.

It’s far too simplistic to just take to the web, punch in the term “branded USB sticks” into a search engine, select a few suppliers, get quotes from them and go with the cheapest quote.

The problem with this approach is that the vast majority of printed (or engraved) USB stick suppliers are principally supplying products that are designed for the promotional sector – in other words whilst they may look great the core components of the USB sticks are usually towards the bottom end of the speed and reliability curve.

As a professional photographer when you’re looking to buy a PC or Mac you don’t just look at the outer case and make a buying decision based on how pretty it looks, you quite rightly want to know how much memory it’s got, how much RAM it has, what graphics card it has, whether it has a decent processor and what storage the HDD has.

When you’re buying printed USB sticks that will carry your brand on you need to adopt the same approach to buying them as you would to buying a new PC or Mac – don’t just think about the outer case (the outer shell of the USB stick), make sure the internal components are going to be up to the job.

Inside a USB stick are three key element; the flash memory, the controller chip and the capacitor. The quality and grade of all of these can vary. Some are branded (Hynix, Samsung, Toshiba) others are cheaper OEM products – these components will determine the read/write speed of the USB stick, the reliability of the USB stick and ultimately how long it will last (the number of read/write cycles it can support before it fails)

If you buy on price and price alone then typically you’ll end up with a USB stick that was designed to support the general promotional sector: OEM flash, OEM controller and cheap capacitor. Hopefully all Grade A, but often (despite promises to the contrary) they will be Grade B recycled components.

They’ll more often than not work and they’ll be fine for a few small PDF’s but put them under any pressure with lots of large image files or videos and you’ll soon notice that they start to fail at an alarming rate – tell tale signs are images that break up, images that have lines across them, videos that won’t load or run or images that look as though they saved OK but aren’t there when you re-insert the USB stick.

The only way to avoid these problems and is adopt the right mindset when you start the buying process:

  1. Don’t necessarily buy the cheapest USB sticks you can find. There’s normally a reason why they are so cheap.
  2. Buy from a local supplier that has a strong reputation (ask other photographers for their views and recommendations)
  3. Make sure you have guarantees for any purchase you make – 5 years should be the minimum.
  4. Try and get a clear statement about what memory and controller will be inside any USB drives you buy.
  5. Specify faster read/write speeds – promotional versions tend to have slow read/write speeds.
  6. Think about upgrading to USB 3.0 – this will guarantee you a high performance product but do expect to pay a higher price. Also bear in mind that most of your customers won’t have a PC that is USB 3.0 enabled so they won’t see any real performance improvements.

Do all of this whilst at the same time educating yourself about exactly what a USB stick is and you won’t become another photographer that has a difficult first foray into the USB market.

Wooden USB Memory Sticks

Wooden USB Memory Sticks


Black NAND USB Flash Memory Sticks – What’s That All About

Posted by USB2U on 5th September 2012 | Permalink

If you’ve been shopping around looking to buy printed USB memory sticks lately then you’ll no doubt have been pleasantly surprised by the number of companies that can now offer you a solution albeit you might have been left more than a little confused by some of the pricing on offer.

Our own research suggests that the price for USB memory sticks (printed or engraved) can vary wildly with some suppliers using the old favourite of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) to justify their own high prices. Comments that “black NAND” is often used by some suppliers and helps them drive down prices are designed to spook the buyer and encourage them to commit to higher priced products. But, are such suggestions fair and justified and just what is black NAND?

From the outside, apart from the aesthetics of the design, all USB memory sticks look equal but the real difference between them is often “under the skin”. It’s a bit like buying Ferrari from a non-Ferrari dealer without checking the engine specification only to find when it arrives that it’s powered by a Ford Focus engine. Sure it will look the part but it’s not exactly what you paid for and not exactly what you were expecting.

To continue the motoring analogy further if the USB memory sticks supplied were manufactured using black NAND then it’s likely that the engine would have failed Ford’s QA tests and was downgraded from a 1.6L to a 1.0L. Black NAND memory is not exactly re-cycled it’s just a memory chip that might have been destined to have been say a 2GB flash module but some elements of it failed the QA so it ended up as 1GB instead – it’s still new memory but it’s rejected memory because it’s not the original 2GB it was supposed to be. Because of this black NAND memory is cheaper and can occasionally have poorer performance and reliability issues.

The key thing when you’re looking to source printed or promotional USB memory sticks is to think about what you need – do you need Grade A, top quality, high speed flash drives that are underpinned with a good warranty from a top supplier or for your particular application perhaps it won’t matter if a small number of the flash drives fail and the read/write speeds of the drive are not particularly quick. If the latter is the case then you can simply buy on price and price alone. If the former is more the sort of thing you’re after then it’s critical that you get your prospective suppliers to define exactly what you’ll be getting – if you don’t do this you simply won’t be comparing “apples with apples”.

If you’re still not sure it’s always worth checking out 3rd party review web sites like Trust Pilot to see what other customers are saying about the service and product they get from any particular supplier of USB memory sticks.


Some Great Packing Options for Printed USB Credit Cards

Posted by USB2U on 28th August 2012 | Permalink

Printed USB credit cards and printed USB business cards are incredibly popular at the moment. Partly it’s because they are a little bit different from the general range of USB memory sticks on offer and partly it’s because they allow you to print much larger images with much greater clarity.

The fact that they are only 2mm thick and therefore slip easily into a purse or wallet designed to take a regular credit card or business card also adds to their appeal. Surprisingly given how slim they are they still come in memory sizes all the way up to a whopping 16GB which is more than the storage that you used to get on some PC’s only a few years ago!

USB Credit Card Magnetic Boxes USB2U

USB Credit Card Magnetic Boxes USB2U

When these USB cards are printed to look just like a regular business card they typically have contact details on one side and the company logo and information on the other but unlike regular paper or card business cards the USB versions can also have lots of information about the company pre-loaded onto the card before they are handed out. This makes them particularly good for use at  trade shows and exhibitions because instead of printing and transporting lots of glossy brochures and then stapling a business card to them the business card has the brochure, web site details, video clips etc. pre-installed onto it!

Getting USB cards pre-loaded with brochures and other files is typically free providing you have the information ready before the cards are produced but even if you can’t get the information this early in the process the post-production cost to load data is only pennies.

USB Credit Card Wallets

USB Credit Card Wallets

If you really want to push the boat out with your USB cards then you can order them with a number of different packing solutions. Some of the more popular are plastic magnetic clip boxes and black leather style wallets. Both of these protect the card and certainly add to the overall aesthetic of the card as a “gift”. The plastic clip boxes are transparent so the logo of any printed USB card inserted in them can still be seen quite clearly but they are a little heavier and bigger than the leather style wallets that slip tightly around the USB cards.

Both options are available from USB2U. The magnetic boxes can be printed as well and the cards and boxes are available as part of USB2U’s standard rush service.


Usain Bolt is Quick But We Reckon We Could Beat Him Printing USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 9th August 2012 | Permalink

With the 100m Gold Medal from the London 2012 Olympics already in the bag and the 200m Gold Medal  looking nailed on (unless his training partner and fellow Jamaican, Yohan Blake can throw a spanner in the works) Usain Bolt is once again destined to be crowned the fastest man on the planet.

All eyes will be on him this evening to see if he can break the 19 second barrier in the 200m final and such has been his form in these Olympics that it would take a brave to bet against him pulling it off.  As Bolt himself said to journalists after winning the 100m Gold on Sunday;  “I really want to do something special in my 200m,” The world waits with baited breathe.

At USB2U we’ve got a few athletes amongst us; some of us are no slouches on a bike, we’ve got a couple of pretty good tennis players in the team and a good number of us work out regularly in the gym (does that count?) but in all honesty none of us, even in our wildest dreams, are ever going to challenge Usain Bolt in a sprint event. But, put us on our “turf” (printing USB flash drives) and we reckon we could beat him.

For the last year we’ve invested in the best print (and engraving equipment) money can buy, we’ve put ourselves though rigorous daily training sessions and we’ve worked long into the night and at week-ends to hone our skills. We’ve taken the advice of local nutritionists and adjusted our diets and we are now as fit as a USB print team can be. We like to think of ourselves more like the British rowing teams – honed to perfection, focused and pulling (or is that printing) in the same direction.

Whilst there are no Olympic medals on offer for us we treat every day as if we were rowing at Eton Dorney or on the track at the Olympic Stadium. Our “Gold Medal” is turning around orders for printed (and engraved) USB memory sticks in the quickest time possible and we’re confident that if there was an Olympic event for this that we’d win. The French might claim foul and challenge the superiority of our equipment, the Chinese would be a stern test but the Australians on current form would be a pushover.

Why are we so confident? Well, we are now consistently taking orders for printed USB sticks from customers in the afternoon, creating mock-ups and proofs and then printing the sticks within a couple of hours and then delivering the same USB sticks the following morning.  Our best total elapsed time from order to completed (printed) USB sticks is under 1hr! Beat that Usain!

So, whilst we’re clearly never going to win Gold in any sprint event we like to think that we could beat the best in the world at printing USB memory sticks – not sure? Then put us to the test, we like a challenge but don’t make it this evening because we’ll be watching a certain Jamaican athlete strut his stuff like only he can do.

USB Olymipic 200 meters results


Photographers Love Black Flip Boxes for their USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 26th June 2012 | Permalink

If you’re a professional photographer and you’re thinking of buying some USB memory sticks printed with your logo or name on then you’re in good company! Given the number of enquiries we are getting at the moment it seems like the initial trickle of photographers abandoning CD’s and DVD’s in favour of more stylish and professional looking USB sticks has become a torrent.

The rush to USB sticks has been fuelled partly by the recent dramatic fall in the price of the larger 8GB and 16GB sticks (some of these have dropped in price by 50% and more over the past few months) and partly by increased competition in the professional photography market.

Photographers Choice of USB Memory Sticks

Photographers Choice of USB Memory Sticks

If you’re a professional photographer and you want to stand out from the crowd then a good quality and well packaged printed USB memory stick can really help. Not only do they look professional but they’re a great way to promote your name/brand, they’ll inevitably get passed around giving you plenty of exposure and of course you’ll be able to generate an additional revenue stream by selling them.

Whilst USB sticks on their own look good they look even better when made available in a custom branded gift box. The most popular option with photographers at the moment is our Black Flip Box with a custom black foam insert to match the chosen design of flash drive. The box can be printed (as shown) or we can engrave (etch) the lid as well which looks stunning.

The black boxes seem to work particularly well with our range of metal and wood flash drives. The overall package of a metal or wooden flash drive in a black gift box just looks classy and expensive. Even the best packaged CD or DVD is going to look dated alongside any of these options.

USB Sticks and Boxes for Professional Photographers

USB Sticks and Boxes for Professional Photographers

We carry lots of the USB flash drives in stock (including the wooden) options and we can print or engrave these and supply them in less than 24hrs if you’re in a hurry. We also carry lots of different packaging options (black boxes, tin boxes, magnetic clasp boxes and plain white cardboard boxes) many of which we can also brand and supply with your preferred USB sticks – just call us for details.

Of course, whilst supplying your images in this way will undoubtedly lift your profile and add to the overall professionalism of the service you offer there is no substitute for experience, natural flair and your ability behind a lens. Fantastic USB sticks might help you drive more sales and generate more revenue but it’s the quality of the photographs that will keep customers coming back for more.


The Chronology of a Rush Request for Printed USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 21st June 2012 | Permalink

If you find yourself up against a tight deadline for printed USB memory sticks then it’s worth knowing that USB2U offer a “rush” service that can often deliver them in under 24hrs. So whether you’ve been let down by another supplier, you simply “forgot” to order them or more likely your boss has decided at the last minute that printed USB sticks would be a good idea, don’t panic, there is typically always a solution.

Fortunately at USB2U we carry lots of blank stock (different models in different memory sizes) and we can print, engrave and load data in house so we have complete control of the end to end process. Because of this we can typically flex our print schedule to help customers who are in a real bind and need their flash drives the very next day.

Below is a real-life example of how we helped a rescue a London Agency who at the last minute realised they needed branded (and dataloaded) USB Sticks for a press event being run by one of their blue-chip clients the following day:

Day 1 – 3.00pm

Customer calls asking if there is any way we could print 250 x 2GB USB sticks with their clients’ logo and get them delivered to central London before noon the following day? Oh, and all 250 USB sticks also need pre-loading with a series of PDF’s PowerPoint Slides and a short video.

Day 1 – 3.10pm

The account manager checks with the design/print team to see if we can schedule the job and checks with the data loading team to see if they can “squeeze in” a last minute job. Everyone is up for it but with only 2hrs before our courier collects it’s going to be tight so to be on the safe side we agree with the customer that a same day van can be organised for the morning.

Day 1 – 3.20pm

Customer signs off the order confirmation form and emails through their artwork and data and arranges payment by credit card.

Day 1 – 3.30pm

Our designers send a mock-up back to the customer of how their printed USB sticks will look – all approved.

Day 1 – 4.00pm

All 250 USB sticks have had the customers files copied onto them and they are passed to the print team.

Day 1 – 4.45pm

The USB sticks are printed as per the mock-up

Day 1 – 4.50pm

The printed and data-loaded USB sticks are QA checked, virus checked and individually packed into small polythene bags. The order is then finally packed into a USB2U carton, a small “thank you” card and pack of Haribo sweets is include with the order.

Day 1 – 5pm

The customers boxed order for 250 printed and data loaded sticks is collected by our overnight courier just 2 hours after the initial enquiry. The customer is sent the tracking details by email (the order has been sent on a pre-noon service) and the same day van that was put on “standby” is cancelled.

Day 2 – 11am

The printed USB sticks are delivered to the Press Event venue in Central London and the day is saved! The London Agency and their client are delighted and just a little bit stunned that in just 20hrs from making a phone call they have the branded USB sticks they wanted.

Now, ideally we’d like a little more time to perform these miracles but we have proven time and time again that it is possible. Every day we print and data load USB sticks for delivery the following day, most customers call in the morning rather than at 3pm in the afternoon and these extra few hours do help but if you are really, really up against it then call us – we like a challenge and we’ll do everything we can reasonably do to help.

Rush Service USB Flash Drives

Rush Service USB Flash Drives