PNY Duo-Link 3.0 full review

It might look like a USB flash drive – and it is – but there’s not too much difference between the flash storage used in most portable SSDs and the Duo-Link. 

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Quite obviously, the big benefit here is not the almost impossibly tiny size, but the fact this there are two connectors: full-size USB 3.0 and Lightning. Hence the Duo-Link name. There’s a list of compatible iOS devices on PNY’s site. Also see: Best portable hard drives

PNY Duo-Link 3.0 128GB review: Price 

It should come as no surprise that the Duo-Link is expensive. At 60p per GB, it’s one of the priciest flash drives around. One reason is that you’re paying extra for the Lightning connector since Apple charges companies to use its technology. You can find it on Amazon UK for around £76 and on Insight for £70.79. Note: prices do fluctuate.

PNY Duo-Link 3.0 128GB review: Design and features 

The design is slightly different from PNY’s older Duo-Link, but it still works in the same way: slide one way to expose the Lightning connector and the other for the full-size USB port. 

That USB connector supports USB 3.0 for faster transfers than the previous model, another reason to opt for this one.

PNY Duo-Link 3.0 128GB - Windows 10  

When you plug it into your iPhone or iPad, it will bring up a message telling you it works with an app you don’t have installed and there’s a link to go straight to the Duo-Link 3.0 app in the App Store. Once installed, you can view files on the drive. 

Its primary purpose is to offer additional storage for your iPhone or iPad, although this is completely separate from the device’s internal storage. Also see: Best NAS drives.

PNY Duo-Link 3.0 128GB - App

The app lets you watch movies and listen to music stored on the drive, as long as they’re in a supported format – it played MP4 files fine, but refused to play AVI. The video player is ok once you’ve figured out the controls, but it doesn’t remember your position in a video. 

The app can access your iOS Camera Roll and back up your photos and videos to the Duo-Link drive and offers the option to delete them from your phone or tablet, freeing up space.

PNY Duo-Link 3.0 128GB - Security  

It’s just a shame that the app is almost impenetrable. The interface is completely unintuitive and there’s very little help or guidance. It took a lot of trial and error, hampered by the poorly worded buttons and notifications, to figure out how to do anything. 

It’s also possible to copy files between the drive and the app, although the only real benefit is that it offers an easy way (which doesn’t involve iTunes) to copy films, TV shows and music to your phone. Don’t forget, though, that you can access them only in the Duo-Link app. 

PNY Duo-Link 3.0 128GB review: Performance 

PNY Duo-Link 3.0 128GB - CrystalDiskMark

The drive is formatted with exFAT for compatibility with iOS devices, Macs and PCs. We found performance was relatively poor, reading files at 90MB/s and writing them at a lowly 26.2MB/s. That’s with large files. With small files – the type you’re unlikely to store on the drive – it was also poor, reading them at 2.9MB/s and writing at 1.2MB/s. Also see: How to build a PC.

Specs

PNY Duo-Link 3.0: Specs

  • Price per GB (at tested capacity): 60p
  • Capacity tested: 128GB
  • Capacity range: 32-, 64-, 128GB
  • Storage Type: NAND Flash
  • Sequential performance: 89.9/26.2MB/s
  • 4K performance: 2.9/1.2MB/s
  • Interfaces: USB 3.0, Lightning
  • Encryption: None
  • Software: PNY Duo-Link
  • Dimensions: 28x51x8mm
  • Weight: 20g
  • Warranty: 2 years