There's a huge choice in USB drives these days. The most common thing that people overlook is that beyond fancy packaging and memory size, not all USB drives are created equal. Most USB drives read/write at rates of 10mb/5mb. If you don't transfer large numbers of files or multi-gigabyte files, this is perfectly fine. However, if you do find yourself wanting better performance, then it's time to upgrade to the R500.
The general pricing of standard Kingston 16Gb USB drives is about $8-$10 cheaper than the R500, yet, the R500 is 3 to 4 times faster, reading at 30Mb and writing at 20Mb. This makes an ENORMOUS difference if transferring many files or very large ones. Last but not least, if you utilize the ReadyBoost* feature in Windows, you'll have much better performance with a faster USB device. The price difference really ends up paying back in the long run, as you'll be more productive every time you use it. It's a no-brainer choice!
Some of the casings on USB drives are hard plastic that will crack/chip if dropped or struck hard. Some are also made of a flimsy rubberized casing that will bend under force and fail to protect the circuitry. The R500 has a thick firm rubberized casing that is slightly flexible. This makes it very easy to drop and bang the drive without causing damage. I loaded mine with a bunch of files, picked it up and then slammed it down on a hard floor (with cap on). The R500 survive without a scratch and all files were still present. The cap is a little loose when placed on the back end, but it's not so bad that it'll easily fall off when the drive is mounted.
-- Very fast; nearly 3 to 4 times faster than standard USB drives
-- Reliable; Kingston makes quality products that last and last (I have never had one fail, oldest being 8 years).
-- Rugged; Very tough casing, better than most.
-- Tasteful lighting; there is a small blue LED that clearly indicates usage--better than the enormous or anemic ones you'll see on other USB drives.
-- The adapter cover fits on pretty well and allows the USB drive to stand upright when not in use.
-- Casing design is very cool, orange on black graphic design embedded in the rubber surface (won't rub off).
-- 5 year warranty
-- It is slightly wider than your average USB drive and may interfere with other USB devices if your USB ports are very close together
-- The end cap does not fit tightly on the back, but it is very secure on the front.
-- The rubberized material is a little slick; I'd rather it have more of a gripping texture.
-- There is a loop hole for the lanyard, but no grooves to help tighten and secure the cord; the rubberized surface allows it to easily loosen and move around.
*ReadyBoost is an option available in Windows Vista and 7 anytime you insert a USB drive. In the properties, a "ReadyBoost" tab appears. Selecting to activate it allows Windows to use the USB drive for disk cache. This is MUCH faster than using the hard drive, so a faster USB drive will be a plus.