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Originally posted by Lysis
Brands aren't always indicative of quality.
An actual specifications that indicates quality, reliability, and speed is class. The higher the class, the better the quality and faster the data transfer rate. For example, a Class 4 USB drive will have a transfer rate of ~4 MB/sec. Class 6 = ~6 MB/sec. Usually it isn't easy to find this information about a USB drive. However, the same information is given as "Read/Write Speeds" (although in a different not so obvious way). All of this also applies to SD cards.
Another indicator of USB drive quality is the actual construction of it. If it feels/looks cheap and flimsy, it probably won't withstand much abuse.
Here is a good starting place to search for USB drives: Newegg.com.
Hope this helps.