Lexar C20c 128gb Flash drive Preview

A few weeks ago Lexar announced several new devices, included among them was their new usb type-c multi function flash drive the C20c and the related C20m, iPhone owners may notice the similarities to the C20i that had been announced in earlier this year and indeed the devices are easily mistaken for one another unless you are looking at the device end, although they do have color coded plastic indicating the model as well. We have a sample a few weeks ahead of general availability although it did ship in retail packaging meaning these should be available very soon.

The C20c is the only model I have for evaluation at this time, the design is unique with the cable between connectors, from what I can tell the memory portion is located in the larger type-A portion which allows for lower cost due to more space for circuitry as well as better heat dissipation for performance. It’s detected without issue by a modern android phone like the HTC10 although there is no first party app to access the android variants of the flash drives there are plenty of file managers more than capable of interacting with an OTG drive on android, I used FX file explorer although there are several others that would work. Charging is supported if the drive is connected to a charger although it appears limited to 1amp without simultaneous data transfer capabilities, although this is a tad disappointing(and limits options for backup and charge tasker profiles and similar) having the option to charge in a pinch is handy still.

Performance

Overall It’s fast without question faster than any dedicated USB device we’ve tested so far, coming in faster than the olala drive we tested earlier as well as most of the microSD devices we’ve looked at as well as our usb reference drive this is fantastic for moving large data sets such as large photo collection or sets of music and videos as a device for backups or loading on the phone initially. moving large videos off the phone or this months DGN files if you shoot in raw mode is quick and painless.

File format

 Fat32ExFatNTFSEXT3EXT4HFS+
Maximum File Size4Gb16 EiB16 EiB16 GiB to 2 TiB16 GiB to 16 TiB8EiB
Maximum Volume Size512 MiB to 8 TiB64 ZiB16 EiB2 TiB to 32 TiB1 EiB8 EiB
Name length limit255 characters255 characters255 chars255 bytes255 bytes255 UTF-16 characters
WindowsYes7 and higher natively, XP and vista via patchYesPartialPartialPartial
LinuxYesFUSE based due to liscensingYes with ntfs-3gYesYesPartial
OSxYes10.6.6 and aboveYes with ntfs-3gPartialPartialYes
AndroidYesYes(5.0 and higher tested on htc m8/10)Yes(5.0 and higher tested on htc m8/10)YesYesUnknown

The default file format however leaves something to be desired, especially with larger files such as long videos FAT32 falls short fortunately reformatting a drive is trivial in windows and most other modern operating systems, ExFAT and NTFS are actually the only choices windows will present by default, although NTFS is readable and writable with some android devices(my HTC10 has no issue with it but i wouldn’t count on it across the board) I would advise users pick ExFAT for broadest comparability.

Closing thoughts

The limited charging capabilities are a bit of a disappointment although a nice value add overall, Outside of that it is a fast drive and at 128gb useful both as a backup device and for simple data transfer between android devices and pc’s, I hope to see a larger(256gb+) variant in the near future as phones ship with larger internal storage and microSD cards. Overall though it’s fast, it’s big enough for most users and offers the option to use as a charge cable in a pinch if necessary. It’s an impressive product and I look forward to full availability when it is, a quick glance shows it as coming soon a few places in the 50-60 dollar price range, a good deal for such a large and flexible device if that holds once it’s available.

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Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith is a full time IT administrator at a medium sized private business former FRC coach and technology enthusiast.