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LaCie and Porsche team up for new USB 3.0 thumb drive

USB drives are as commonplace as loose change, and about as exciting, too. But for all those plastic pieces and sliding mechanisms, there is at least one sleek, design-heavy drive that puts them all to shame.

LaCie and Porsche Design have teamed up to build the new USB Key — an ultra-portable device with up to 32GB of storage and USB 3.0 speed that also serves as a stylish accessory.

Despite the key's tiny stature — it is one of the smallest on the market — it carries a big punch, with performance up to 95MB per second. It also sports a steel casing and scratch-resistant connector durable enough to withstand daily wear and tear.

"While on a business trip, users can conveniently access, securely store and easily share large documents or media files in seconds," the companies said in a joint news release.

The Porsche Design USB Key is more than a pretty face and big muscles, though. LaCie's Private/Public software gives the drive an additional layer of security to protect data with ultra-secure AES 256-bit encryption technology.

Customers can also benefit from built-in Wuala Secure Cloud Storage, which makes storing and sharing files easier. The thumb drive comes with a year of storage, making it easier to back up the key's content or even double its storage capacity.

Available now for purchase on the LaCie website, the USB Key comes in two flavours: $29.99 (£18) for 16GB or $49.99 (£31) for 32GB, both with a two-year limited warranty.

This isn't the companies' first dance: a 2003 partnership between LaCie and Porsche Design led to a line of USB 3.0 hard drives, built in the same brushed-metal design as the new keychain-sized device.

Like any good Porsche product, the USB Key gets the full fast-and-furious treatment in the first-look video below.