Move over Prada, Gucci and Calvin Klein, the SanDisk Cruzer Contour flash drive, "is a unique fashion statement".

We know this because SanDisk says so. What it actually means, once you parse out the Web 2.0 idiom, is that the SanDisk Cruzer Contour doesn't look like a pack of bubble gum.

Instead, the SanDisk Cruzer Contour slopes downward at the back and there's no cap for its USB connector, which is stowed away inside the housing.

To access the connector you press down slightly on the SanDisk Cruzer Contour's top panel with your thumb, slide it back to expose the connector, and then slide it forward so the connector is extended. You do exactly the reverse to retract it. (Any questions as to why they call it a "thumb drive?")

Our only complaint is that while the tip of the SanDisk Cruzer Contour's USB connector has a spring-loaded metal flap to cover it, it often doesn't work - unintentionally exposing the opening of the connector to the most dreaded of all contaminants, pocket lint.

The SanDisk Cruzer Contour's literature contains some impressive performance claims - principally that it has a write speed of 18Mbps (megabits per second) and reads at 25Mbps. Both of these rates, according to SanDisk, are substantially better (double and two-thirds better, respectively) than "SanDisk's previous top-of-the-line model".

That's nice for SanDisk, but there are other flash drives and flash drive makers in the world. We tested the SanDisk Cruzer Contour against two Corsair contemporaries, the Flash ReadOut and the Flash Voyager GT using Simpli Software's HDTach benchmark.

The SanDisk Cruzer Contour's resulting 0.5ms random access speed is half that of the GT's and well below the ReadOut's 7.8ms. CPU utilisation for the three units was just about equal, all being within the test's margin of error. It was the Corsair, however, that pulled ahead in average reads, scoring 29.8Mbps to the Contour's 25.5Mbps.