Design and Features
While USB flash drives all serve the same basic function -- data storage on a device no bigger than a small cigarette lighter -- each has a certain feature to distinguish it from the competition. With Lexar's JumpDrive Mercury, that distinguishing feature is an "E ink" meter, which shows you how much space is left on the drive in real-time -- even when it's not plugged in. At first this is little more than a novelty feature, but it soon becomes indispensable.
The Mercury features Lexar's answer to SanDisk's U3 platform, dubbed PowerToGo. PowerToGo is similar to U3 in that it transforms your USB key into a device that does much more than simply carrying data. With PowerToGo, you're able to store your favourite software applications (e-mail, Web browser, word processor, music playback software, etc) -- including all software and Windows preferences -- and launch them directly from the drive, on any Windows 2000, XP or Vista machine. This is done without modifying any files on the host PC whatsoever, and once you remove the USB key from the machine, all of your data leaves with you.
PowerToGo is bound to come in super-handy for those that use more than one computer on a regular basis, share a computer with other people or are using a machine without access to admin privileges. The last case is particularly poignant, as when you're on a machine without admin access you're unable to install any software whatsoever.