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If you don’t already own one of these you may have seen one. Twister USB memory sticks are popular as branded merchandise – compaies will give them away with their logos printed on them.

They’re called Twister simply because they have a rotating metal clip that cover up the USB connector when not in use. The coloured section is rubberised and there’s a small activity light at the end. They’re available in all sorts of capacities and colours. But, if you’re given one, are they any good?

I ran CrystalDiskMark against a 256MB version. Although read speeds were relatively poor compared to the other USB memory sticks that I own the write speeds were better – 512 KB random writes were at 3.6MB/s which puts it in the “average” category.

Capacities may not be huge but they are ReadyBoost compatible. The ReadyBoost minimum speeds are 2.5 MB/s read speeds for 4 KB random reads and 1.75 MB/s write speeds for 512 KB random writes. The read speed of this device just gets through, but the write speed is more than enough. Unfortunately, Microsoft recommends a ReadyBoost capacity of 1-3 times your RAM. As I’m writing this on a PC with 6GB, that would require me to have a 6 – 18GB memory stick. 256MB isn’t going to cut it.

[review]As most of these are given out as corporate promotions they’re usually quite stingy on the capacity – I was surprised to get 256MB, as in the past I’ve usually received USB keys with128MB capacity. As that size they’re not going to hold much these days and they’re going to be useful for ReadyBoost either. Speeds are average to low. All-in-all, yes, it’s free but unless you have some need for a low capacity device they’re not worth picking up from that trade table.[/review]