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|Esynic USB Floppy Drive|
|Portable External Floppy Disk Drive|
|Sabrent External USB Floppy Drive|
|Newstyle USB External Floppy Drive|
|3.5inch USB Floppy Drive|
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The floppy disk was with us for a long time and, at one point, looked like becoming the established form of data storage. Games, data, and all programs could be loaded onto your computer with a floppy, and you could also use them for recording data. They effectively replaced the cassette tape – who remembers those now – and were effectively replaced by integral hard drives, yet nostalgia played a part in keeping them, in their neatly filed boxes, alive for the future. That’s why we have decided it’s time to take a closer look at the best USB floppy drives, and why they might just be a lifeline for your seemingly redundant disks. Before we go into detail, let’s talk a little about what these things are, and how they work.
Best USB Floppy Disk Drives
Before we begin, be aware that we feel this review may become a little repetitive; after all, a USB floppy drive is just that, and nothing more. We doubt we will find any exciting or exclusive features, and we reckon they will all look pretty much the same. Why go on, then? Because there are differences, and there are some that are distinctly better than others. This one, from Esynic, is absolutely typical of the breed – enough so that we could even call it average. It’s small, black, rectangular, and comes with the usual USB docking port.
It is a very slim and light model, weighing just 350g so is suitable for carrying around, and it handles the usual 3.5inch 1.44MB floppy discs. It works with Mac and all Windows operating systems, has a data transfer rate of as much as 500 Kbits, and its 40cm cable is a more than adequate. It is a high-quality device that is well-built and durable, and it does the job very well. The price is around £12, so it’s also affordable, and would make a great gift for anyone with a bunch of old disks lying around.
You might be wondering why you need a USB floppy drive; unless you have a load of old disks lying around, you don’t! But, for those of us who wonder just what it was we have on those long-forgotten floppies, these cheap and usable devices are a must. This one is very similar to the above model; it even looks almost identical. It comes in a neat and durable casing, so is fine for carrying around, and supports the standard size and type of floppy disk. It is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems, and performs at the usual speeds.
As with all of these, no power source is required as it uses the USB port, and it does not require any external drivers as it is a plug and play device that will sort its drivers out automatically. What more can we say about it? This is where it starts to get difficult, and we’re only on number 2! It’s a neat little device, very slim and easy to carry around, and is perfect for unlocking the secrets of your old floppy disks, and at somewhere around £10 is very cheap.
With a sturdy plastic enclosure, this USB floppy drive is durable and also easy on the eye. This model from eSynic is highly versatile and ideal for carrying around with a laptop, as well as for using with a desktop in a fixed location.
It is USB 1.1/2.0 compatible and gives you read and write access to 1.44 MB floppy disks. It is powered directly from the computer’s USB port, meaning that no external power supply is needed to get it up and running.
The 18 month UK warranty is a terrific advantage with this portable, lightweight floppy drive. It weighs 350g and has the following dimensions; 11.7cm (L) x 10.6cm (W) x 1.9cm (H).
As a Plug and Play floppy drive, this product from HusDow just needs to be connected to a USB port to get it started, with no need for a CD driver. This makes it perfect for someone who has important data on old floppy disks that they need to access quickly and easily.
It has an ultra-slim design that makes it ideal for carrying around and for use with a laptop, with a weight of just 340g. It is powered by any USB 2.0 or USB 1.0 port without any external power needs.
You can use this portable floppy drive with Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10. It allow you to read and write floppy disks of up to 1.44 MB. There is an 18 month warranty with this product but if you get years of use out of it then it will prove to be a very smart purchase for recovering old files.
This is one of the best USB floppy drive options for getting back your access to data on old 3.5” floppy disks that you may have thought was lost forever. It is compatible with PCs running Windows 7/8/98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/MAC.
The sleek, black design is attractive and it is small and light enough to be easy to move around with you wherever you might need to use it. Despite its compact size, the hard plastic case feels tough and durable enough to stand up to a lot of use as well as years of normal wear and tear.
As is typical with this kind of external floppy drive, you can simply plug it into the computer’s USB and you are ready to go. There is no need to waste time installing a driver or inserting a CD before you start re-discovering the contents of your old floppy disks.
This is a highly practical option for anyone who wants to look through files on their old floppy disks but who no longer has a built-in floppy disk drive on their PC. It works on the following systems; Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000 | Mac OSx , Linux.
This is a simple Plug and Play device that is powered by USB and works with USB 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0 versions. It is compatible with 3.5 floppy disks with a capacity of 1.44MB. The clean lines and black plastic finish give it an elegant but unobtrusive look that should suit most users.
The compact size means that it is probably most useful as a portable device, although it is also a good option for an office or home study that doesn’t have a lot of space for equipment in it. It measures 14 x 10 x 1.7 cm and weighs only 300g.
The first thing that stands out about this USB floppy drive is that it is white rather than the typical black colour usually seen in these devices. This fact alone means that many people will immediately see it as being either more or less suitable for fitting in with their office or home.
In term of how it works, this white floppy drive isn’t really any different from the more commonly seen black models. It is compatible with many different versions of Windows, as well as for Macs and is a Plug and Play device.
Ultimately, this is an external drive that most people will choose because of its looks rather than because it offers anything different from others on the market. One point to bear in mind is that USB floppy readers like this are always best plugged directly into the computer rather than through a USB hub.
With the help of this Neoteck USB Floppy Disk Reader you can use floppy disks that you perhaps haven’t been able to access in years. It works with 3.5 floppy disks with 1.44MB capacity, which is standard with this sort of portable device.
You can hook it up to a desktop PC or laptop through USB 1.1 or USB 2.0. This connection gives it all the power that it needs to run smoothly on a range of the most popular operating systems.
The USB cable is 40cm long and the unit itself has dimensions measuring in at 11.7(L) x 10.6(W) x 1.9(H) cm. As it weighs 350g it is easy enough to move around, with the robust casing helping to avoid any mishaps.
At a slightly higher price than many rivals, this 3.5″ USB Floppy Disk Drive is a decent option for recovering information or photos from old disks. It is said to be compatible with Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7, although a few reviewers have had problems in getting it to work for them.
It works with all of the old 3.5 floppy disks that you may have lying around the house or stored in drawers at the house. As you would expect from this sort of device, it is powered by the USB cable, meaning that there is no messy power supply to deal with.
This small floppy drive is light and portable enough to be used pretty much anywhere you take your laptop, meaning that breathing new life into your old floppy disks is incredibly simple.
So, there you have it: the top 10 USB floppy disk drives, and all of them are pretty much the same! Before we go on, to sum up, let’s have a quick recap of the features to consider when choosing one of these.
Important Features to Look For
The problem with this review is that every single one of these, with only a couple or rare exceptions, is pretty much identical. There are a few features to consider when looking for the best floppy disk drive, so let’s have a look at them before we get to our conclusion:
- Operating System – not all of these are compatible with Mac operating systems, and not all with Windows 10 (or in some cases even Windows 8) so check before you buy or you could end up with a machine that is of no use.
- Size – if you are planning on carrying your USB floppy drive from place to place you need it to be small and light, and most of these weigh in at only a few ounces. They are also surprisingly thin, so will take up little space in your luggage or backpack.
- Speed – the data transfer speed of these devices varies, often quite considerably, so you need to make sure you have the device with the most capable speed. Check the specs before you choose your model.
- Price – if it’s much more than £10 you are paying too much.
That’s about it, so all that is left is to wrap it up!
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How USB Floppy Disk Drives Work
So rapid has the development of personal – and business – computers been, it seems that things that were commonplace just a few years ago are now a distant memory. It’s an oft-quoted fact that the then president of IBM, back in the days before personal computers were omnipresent, declared that there was a world market for half a dozen, and no more. He couldn’t have been more wrong! If you’re a similar age to me, you probably remember loading games onto your Sinclair Spectrum using a cassette tape. A few years later, and you may have graduated to a Commodore 64, with a floppy disk drive – the absolute height of technology in its day!
The development of powerful and compact hard drives put paid to the floppy – you don’t need external storage when you can save everything on your PC – and soon they were superseded by the DVD. Now, of course, we have cloud storage, which takes things a step further, so even the internal hard drive is becoming redundant. What we are looking here are essentially mundane products; they are external drives for floppy disks, and they are powered by – and use to upload – the USB port on your PC or laptop. They allow you to access data that you may still have stored on floppy disks, so you can take a walk back into the past! Let’s have a look at the top 10 floppy disk drives, and see if we can find one for you.
Let’s Wrap It Up!
To be honest, this has been one of the most difficult of all reviews, simply because the basics of a USB floppy drive are the same throughout. There’s very little in terms of variation – even in price – and finding something different about each of them was pretty much impossible!
The thing about these devices is that, to buy one, you really have got to want – or need – one; they are not the sort of object you buy on a whim and are only of any use if you have old floppy disks containing data you need to access. Frankly, we can’t see a reason to use the write function, as there are many more practical data storage systems available nowadays.
So, which is the best USB floppy drive? There’s no one item that stands out, but we recommend you choose the cheapest one that is compatible with your operating system, as they all do the same thing in the end. That’s it from us, so have fun finding out what is on those old floppy disks, and reliving the past via your computer!