Most of our readers wouldn’t buy or build a new computer today without an SSD inside. SSDs have come a long way over the past decade and once you’d had one you don’t want to go back to rotational media. Portable SSDs are also streaming ahead in the external storage drive market by bringing the breakthrough performance of an SSD to a tiny rugged enclosure that fits in the palm of your hand. The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD series was introduced in Q1 2018 with the hopes of becoming the external drive of choice for those needing to move around a good deal of data, quickly and safely. SanDisk Extreme Portable SSDs are available in capacities of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB with speeds of up to 550MB/s read and 500 MB/s write. Pricing starts under $100 and all of the drives are backed by a 3-year warranty.
The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD supports the USB 3.1 Gen 2 at 10Gbps (1250 MB/s) standard and comes with a USB Type-C connector that is compatible with Windows and Mac systems. A single USB cable is all this drive needs, which is great news for those that hate to carry around an external power brick.
For this review we will be taking a closer look at the SanDisk Extreme 1TB Portable SSD that runs $299.99 shipped under part number SDSSDE60-1T00-G25. The retail packaging looks great, but let’s take a look inside.
Inside the retail box we found the drive, safety & warranty guide, USB Type-C to Type-C cable and a USB Type-A to USB Type-C adapter. This drive is tiny as it measures in at 8.85 x 49.55 x 96.20 mm and weighs just 78.9g or 0.17lbs.
The Type-C to Type-A adapter is not reversible and there is a plastic extrusion that needs to be lined up for the adapter to properly fit. This is primarily done to save costs as no controller is needed to figure out what orientation. This ensures you are getting the best performance possible as long as the cables are fitted properly.
The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD looks great and has a place to hook a carabiner or lanyard, although one is not included. This makes it easy to attach the drive to your backpack, purse or anything else your heard desires. We also discovered that this drive is IP55-rated, which means it’s built to withstand water and dust. It has also been certified to live after 2-meter drops, so you can drop it from roughly 6.6 feet up and not have to worry about it. We should note that passing the the IP55 test showed that this drive can withstand a 3 minute water flow water flow (30 kPa) and that limited dust contact does not interfere with operation. The key point that must be made clear is that the drive isn’t plugged in and being used during this test and that the drive must be dry before use. So, if you accidentally wash your SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD it shouldn’t be a big deal, but you’ll need to make sure it has had a couple days to dry out before powering it up again.
Besides being IP55 certified for water and dust resistance, it is also shock-resistant (up to 1500G) and vibration resistant (5g RMS, 10-2000HZ). It’s pretty rugged, but should only be operated in temperatures of 32ºF to 113ºF (0ºC to 45ºC). So, keep it above freezing folks!
The outer edges and the back of the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD are covered with a ‘soft touch’ material that leaves the drive feeling velvety soft. It feels great, but everything sticks to it. Portable SSDs usually are carried in a bag or your pocket, so you’ll be picking dust, hair and other crud off the drive.
Here is a closer look at the Type-C connector that located along the bottom edge of drive.
The drive comes with software already on it, so if you want to encrypt your data you can fire up SanDisk SecureAccess to create a password. Just be sure this is something you want to do as if you ever forget the password you’ll find it pretty tough to break 128-bit AES encryption. There are no secret back doors than SanDisk can access, so if you forget your password and want to recover your data the tech support hotline will only have bad news.
When it comes to file system support, the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD comes formatted with exFAT and will work on Windows and Mac systems straight out of the box. If you ever reformat the drive and use default settings it will use the NTFS file system.
Our 1TB portable SSD had a capacity of 931GB according to the properties menu of the drive. Please remember that 1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes; 1TB=1,000,000,000,000 bytes. A certain portion of capacity may be used for system file and maintenance use, thus the actual available capacity may differ from the labeled total capacity.
This is a pretty straight external drive, so let’s take a look at some performance tests to see how fast portable SSD is on our Dell XPS 13 laptop.