Apacer Handy Steno AH160 USB 2.0 Flash Drive
A brainwavez.org Hardware Review

South Africa By: Mandy J Watson on 11 February 2010
Updated: 1 March 2010 (new benchmark results)
Category: Tech > Hardware > Reviews
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Just over four years ago brainwavez.org was launched, complete with its first (tech) article, with the intention of it being primarily a tech-review site, with a little bit of culture thrown in. Instead it became a tech-culture site and we never got around to reviewing hardware and software. Today, that all changes. Behold! A tech review: Apacer's Handy Steno AH160 flash-memory storage device.

Apacer Handy Steno AH160This device has been around for a couple of years but it's one of my all-time favourite products and is still available (well, certainly in South Africa - try your local Computer Mania branch), which is testament to the fact that it's a well-designed product with a decent retail and product shelf life.

The Apacer Handy Steno AH160 is a portable USB flash-memory storage device with a "metallic cable trim" (encased in transparent plastic) that runs around the outside of the device. You slide the base off the cap (both parts, however, remain attached to the cable), and then you bend the lid up or down (in other words, out of the way) to make room for the USB connector to be inserted in a computer port. I was initially sceptical about the whole idea but in using it I've found it to be a very innovative design consideration and I've grown to love it. You never have to worry about losing the cap because it's never separated from the rest of the device.

A soft blue LED twinkles to indicate when the device is operating and it comes with Apacer's ACE (Apacer Compression Explorer) software, which compresses files further, but only works with newer versions of Windows, so I must confess that I've never tested it because I work with so many different platforms, including Mac OS.

Apacer Handy Steno AH160It looks good, too, as you can see from the images. Besides being small and light the tactile experience is very pleasant (and that's not something I usually notice about a USB storage device). The metallic and plastic red (or green) housing looks stylish and is quite durable as well. My unit only has a few scratches on the plastic surface, which is not unsurprising considering that I've been carrying it around in my bag every day for nearly two years, using it as a personal storage device, as well as inserting it into numerous test machines to transfer files and such.

After all this time the only problem I've ever experienced is that I couldn't use the device with one netbook I tested last year because the netbook's USB port was recessed a bit too far into the machine and the AH160's USB connector is, unfortunately, a little short. Therefore that's the only issue to be aware of if you want one of these storage devices.

Apacer Handy Steno AH160
Benchmark Results*
CrystalDiskMark 2.2
Settings: 5 passes, 100 MB test size
(5 tests run; results in megabytes per second)
Test TypeTest 1Test 2Test 3Test 4Test 5
Sequential Read:14.78314.99315.04814.98215.064
Sequential Write:7.4397.4697.4997.5107.524
Random Read 512 KB:14.75315.04915.09914.87314.838
Random Write 512 KB:2.5142.5682.5842.3542.454
Random Read 4 KB:4.2694.0894.2554.0444.077
Random Write 4 KB:0.0270.0270.0270.0270.027
Settings: 5 passes, 1000 MB test size
(5 tests run; results in megabytes per second)
Test TypeTest 1Test 2Test 3Test 4Test 5
Sequential Read:14.58714.57114.60914.58815.247
Sequential Write:7.9147.0937.8057.1337.160
Random Read 512 KB:14.53414.90614.87614.85915.624
Random Write 512 KB:2.3792.4792.2712.3552.594
Random Read 4 KB:3.6023.5003.3433.5223.504
Random Write 4 KB:0.0260.0260.0260.0260.026
* Note: this test wasn't performed on a device that was brand new and therefore performance may have been compromised by factors such as age, wear and tear, and the fact that sectors have been utilised by data. (In future I will conduct it first when I receive new products. I still have a few older devices, however, in my upcoming review inventory so you may see this disclaimer on some reviews for a while longer.)


Apacer Handy Steno AH160

Although its smaller capacities are now probably too small for most people (though 4 GB and 8 GB are still suitable for a lot of tasks), this device makes for a great gift [::cough:: Valentine's Day ::cough::], either on its own or with some media files added (such as free MP3s or photos). I'm hoping that Apacer will retain the form factor and release a new version with more storage capacity and a slightly longer USB connector sometime in the future (although the company dodged my question so I suspect not) but for now I'm still happily using the one I have.

The Apacer Handy Steno AH160 review unit was provided by Apacer.


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Rating: 9/10
Read/Write Tests Results:* Check Flash 1.10
Settings: Temporary file; Write and read test (Small pattern test); One full pass
Read Speed: 9.706 MB/s
Write Speed: 0.348 MB/s
* Note: this test wasn't performed on a device that was brand new. (In future I will conduct it first when I receive new products. I still have a few older devices, however, in my upcoming review inventory so you may see this disclaimer for a while longer.)


Key Facts
Manufacturer: Apacer
Colours: Passion Red, Mint Green
Storage Capacity: 1 GB, 2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB
Weight: 13g
Dimensions: 46x22.4x6.6mm (LxWxH)
Interface: USB 2.0 certified, backwards compatible with USB 1.1; supports hot swapping
Power Supply: USB bus powered, no external power supply necessary
Power Consumption: 115 mA (maximum)
Performance (Maximum): Read: 10 MB/second; Write: 3 MB/second
Indicators: Blue LED (detect, read, and write)
Operating System Support:
Windows: Windows 98*, Windows 98SE*, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and above
* drivers required
Mac OS: Mac OS 8.6 and above
Linux: Linux 2.4.0 and above
Operating Temperature: 0°C to +70°C (+32°F to +158°F)
Storage Temperature: -25°C to +70°C (-13°F to +158°F)


On The Internet
Apacer Handy Steno AH160 Product Page: EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa)


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