VisionTek 120GB USB 3.0 Pocket SSD Drive Review


VisionTek USB 3.0 Pocket SSD Drive

Late last year VisionTek released a USB 3.0 Flash drive called the Visiontek USB 3.0 Pocket SSD Drive that offers up to 455MB/s read and 440MB/s write on sequential file transfers when used on a system that supports the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP). The drive is also rated at up to 39,000 IOPS for random 4K performance, so you could actually use this USB 3.0 drive as a Windows To Go bootable USB drive if you wanted to! VisionTek was able to get these speeds by pairing the time tested and proven SandForce SF-2281 controller along with “Tier 1” high quality NAND Flash memory components. Basically, VisionTek has basically placed all the components of a Solid-State Drive (SSD) in pocket-sized USB storage drive.

VisionTek USB Pocket SSD 120GB

The VisionTek USB 3.0 Pocket SSD is available in 120GB and 240GB capacities. Keep in mind that these drives feature 7% over provisioning, so they actually contain 128GB and 256GB of NAND Flash on each drive. You won’t be able to ever access this reserved space though as it is used for real-time redundancy and error correction.

When it comes to pricing you are looking at about $100 for the 120GB drive ($0.83 per Gigabyte) or $175 for the 240GB drive ($0.73 per Gigabyte). To be 100% transparent with our readers there is a drive that looks exactly like this one on the market from Mushkin called the Ventura Ultra. The Mushkin Ventura Ultra boasts the same controller, has similar performance specifications and costs less. Right now the Mushkin Ventura Ultra 120GB runs $75.89 shipped and the 240GB runs $131.89 shipped. These prices are about 25% lower than VisionTek and both have the same 2-year warranty term. We quizzed VisionTek about what the differences are and were told that while they do use the same housing that VisionTek, but they changed a number of things to improve the heat management/mitigation of the drive. Having all those components stored in such a small housing causes them to get rather hot, so Visiontek uses thermal adhesive to help transfer the heat from the components to the metal case for better thermal dissipation and refined the firmware to throttle the drive down if it begins to overheat. VisionTek also stated to Legit Reviews that the only use the highest quality Tier 1 NAND Flash memory on their drive. The NAND Flash can vary depending on pricing and supplies and the exact type of NAND is not listed due to this reason. VisionTek will always use the SandForce SF-2281 along with NAND Flash that meets the drives rated speeds of 455 MB/s read and 440 MB/s write.

VisionTek USB 3.0 Pocket SSD 120GB

The VisionTek USB 3.0 120GB Solid State Drive measures in at roughly 93 x 13 x 24 mm in size and weighs in at 1.3 ounces or 38 grams, both of these measurements are with the cap! At nearly 3.7-inches in length we certainly wouldn’t classify this USB drive as being small, but it will easily fit in your pocket. The overall appearance of drive was found to be a bit underwhelming. The body of the drive housing is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and has sharp-90 degree corners on it. The removable cap is made from black rubber and features rounded corners. The two just don’t look like they are supposed to go together. We also noticed that the design on the side of the casing don’t perfectly line up where they meet and that there was a small gap on one side of our drive that was big enough to fit in a piece of paper that was folded in half. The one good thing about this case is that there is a lanyard hook on one end of the drive that is all metal, so there should be no one complaining about the lanyard loop breaking on this drive.

VisionTek USB 3.0 Pocket SSD Cap

The cap of the VisionTek can be stored on the end of the drive if you aren’t using the lanyard loop on a keychain or something thick like that. The cap design is something personal, so we’ll let you decide if you love it or hate it.

VisionTek USB 3.0 Pocket SSD Connector

On the business end you’ll find a single USB 3.0 drive header. The VisionTek USB 3.0 Pocket SSD gets all the power it needs from the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface and is also backwards compatible with USB 3.0 ports. Just above the USB 3.0 connector there is an LED light that glows green when the drive is powered up and flashes green when the drive is actively being used and transferring data. The overall thickness of this drive means that it is a tight fit to use on some USB ports.

VisionTek USB 3.0 Pocket SSD Metal Housing

On the back side of the drive there really isn’t much going on, although you can see the arrow pattern goes around the entirety of the drive and it helps improve ones grip of the drive. These deep grooves along with the rather substantial length/weight of this drive makes it hard to drop!

Let’s take a look at the test system and move along to the benchmarks!