gadgets/swissmemory.jpg Looking for a unique gift for the computer buff on your list? Look no further than the Victorinox SwissMemory pocketknife.

Yes, this is from Victorinox, the renowned Swiss manufacturer of the Swiss Army Knife who has been supplying knives to the Swiss army from more than 100 years. This little gadget is a Swiss Army Knife that is also a data storage device, which contains a fully functioning USB hard drive. The USB drive is made by Swissbit AG, a Swiss data storage company.

This amazing device is small and lightweight. At 2 ¼” long, ½” wide, and about 5/8” deep, it is not much bigger than many dedicated USB hard drive devices. Yet, it also contains a pair of scissors, a small knife, a file, a screwdriver, and a pen. When you press the red cross logo, it emanates a handy small red LED light for emergency illumination.

As with most other USB drive devices, no drivers are needed for any of the newer operating systems. The SwissMemory device works with Windows and Mac alike. Just plug it into a USB drive and a new drive letter will appear on your computer desktop. You can copy files to and from the device by using the copy command and also by simply dragging and dropping the files to and/or from the new drive that represents the SwissMemory device. When plugged into the computer, the clear housing of the USB drive shows a blinking green light. The light blinks quickly during data transfers so you can see that the drive is working.

You know that this entire device is well engineered just by the heavy red plastic housing and the number of individual tools that it contains. The USB drive is also well designed. With a simple twist, it can be removed completely from the knife. This is convenient when you might want to insert the USB drive into the computer and use the knife for other endeavors at the same time. You can also remove the USB drive when traveling by plane, allowing you to leave the knife part at home and still take your computer files with you. Another version of the SwissMemory device that is made for frequent fliers comes with only the USB drive, pen, and light. It would be useful to have both casings (the one with the knife and other tools as well as the travel version) available with the USB device. I would love to be able to slip the USB drive into the travel version when I need to get through airport security and to slide it back into the regular knife when I return home or when I retrieve the other casing from my checked luggage. Alternately, I would be happy if Victorinox would include some type of plastic casing or cover for the drive to protect it when it is removed from the knife for travel. The USB device itself has a gold plated USB head to help resist corrosion. The SwissMemory device comes with USB extension cable and instruction guides and also has a key chain loop.

The SwissMemory device comes with Swissbit’s SecureLOCK software pre-installed. You can use this software to create private password protected partitions on the device. This software also has a useful repair utility for erasing and repairing the drive.

The SwissBit is a USB 2 device that also works with USB 1.1. It comes in 64MB, 128 MB and 512 MB versions. It’s portable, lightweight, rugged and multifunctional. It’s a cool computer gadget and a real Swiss Army Knife all in one. It doesn’t get much better than that!


Manufacturer:  Victorinox

Price:  $80.95 128 MB version. Others from $63.95 to $159.95.