Extremely fast performance that you pay a premium for.
There are two things in today’s world that I can’t seem to have enough of — battery power and storage. This review focuses on solving the latter of the two problems. Portable storage is tricky. You want to make sure you have a hard drive that can handle daily travel abuse while still providing top-notch performance. You get both of these features covered with the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD.
The SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD is designed to leverage SanDisk’s in-house NVMe technology so that users have the fastest speeds possible (up to 1050 MB/s). The case is rugged (made with an aluminum body covered in silicon rubber) and protects its contents no matter where it goes. The SanDisk Pro Extreme has an IP55 rating for water and dust resistance and is shock-resistant up to 1500G. The SSD comes in three different capacities — 500GB, 1TB, or 2TB — and it’s compatible with Mac or PC computers. Along with its built-in hardware features, the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD also gives users access to SecureAccess, software that allows you to create a password-protected folder for private data.
Capacity: 1 TB
Interface: USB 3.1 Gen 2
Compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows® 7 and Mac OS 10.9+ — no driver needed
Dimensions (L X W X H): 4.34″ x 2.26″ x 0.4″
Sequential Read Performance: 1050MB/s
Shock Resistant: up to 1500G
Vibration Resistant: 5 gRMS, 10–2000 Hz
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
SanDisk does a nice job with their packaging. It’s eye-appealing and finished in the striking red and black SanDisk brand colors. There is a photo of the product on the front with the main details highlighted around the box. One thing I want to note is that the box is quite large in comparison to the product it protects. There is a large interior cardboard-like container for the hard drive, two cables, and a warranty/safety guide. I think SanDisk could greatly reduce waste by shrinking the retail packaging to better fit the product. One thing that was missing from the package was a carabiner. I found this to be odd considering part of the form of the hard drive is the cutout for a keychain or carabiner.
PRO OR STANDARD
- Under the Hood: The Pro version features the NVMe technology within the SSD. This makes the hard drive almost twice as fast as the Standard version, which is a SATA-based flash SSD. Computer Weekly outlined the benefits of NVMe-based SSDs and highlights the fact that it’s much faster than older types of SSDs. This is a big upgrade and a very good reason why this device is labeled as “Pro.”
- Size: When you set the two versions of the drive side-by-side there is a noticeable size difference. In reality the Pro is 4.34″ x 2.26″ x 0.4″ inches while the Standard is 3.787″ x 1.951″ x 0.348″ inches. It’s not much of a difference, but the difference is visible when the two drives are held next to each other. It doesn’t matter too much as both versions are still pocket-sized.
- Case Materials: While both versions of the device have rubberized external cases, the Pro version is called out as having an internal aluminum case. This provides better thermal performance for the higher-end NVMe SSD, which can run a bit warmer than other types of SSDs.
- What’s Included: As I mentioned, the SSD is shipped with two cables — a USB-C to USB-C and a USB-C to USB-A cable. The Standard version actually shipped with a single USB-C cable that came with an adapter to convert the USB-C to USB-A.
A couple of years ago, we reviewed the original (Standard) SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD. We deemed it “perfect” for photographers. It’s a tiny, rugged storage device that’s very easy to take along on outdoor adventures without worrying if it could be damaged. The same is true for the form factor of the Pro version. So, what is the difference between the two versions?
After reviewing the differences between the two versions of the Extreme-series SSDs from SanDisk, I wanted to complete some real-world tests of the Pro version. I ran two main types of tests. The first type is Drag-n-Drop and the second is Benchmarking.
This test consists of dragging a file from the connected computer onto the connected hard drive and timing (via a stopwatch) how long it takes the file to transfer. For this test, I used a file that was 6.11GB in size and drag/dropped it to the Pro version of the SSD. The transfer took 11.63 seconds. I repeated the test with the Standard version of the SSD and the transfer took 19.95 seconds. The resulting transfer rates end up being 525.4 MB/s (Pro) and 306.3 MB/s (Standard).
For Benchmarking, I used the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, which is made for Mac computers. Since a MacBook Pro is my main daily-driver computer, I found this to be an appropriate option for testing. SanDisk claims that the SSD can reach up to 1050 MB/s for read/write speeds. The Standard version only had a spec that had its read/write speeds up to 550 MB/s. So, I expected to see a much faster test run from the Pro SSD. I have included a screenshot of the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test I completed of the Extreme Pro below. As expected, the Pro was much faster than the Standard model. While my testing didn’t quite reach the peak of 1050 MB/s it did reach over 900 MB/s for the read/write speeds. The Standard model only had a 475.9 MB/s write and 518.9 MB/s read speed when I tested it using the same benchmarking software.
The SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD is definitely a worthy investment. It provides super-fast performance in a tough shell. Do I see room for improvement? Sure. For example, there is no LED indicator on the device. With it being an SSD, you can’t just tell if the drive is reading or writing data by the sound or vibration because it doesn’t make any. With that in mind, it would be nice to have an LED to let you know when the drive is functioning. Another thing SanDisk should look into is covering the USB-C port. As it stands right now, the port is open, and therefore, it could still be infiltrated by water or other environmental elements. If the port were covered, this ‘rugged’ hard drive would actually by water and dustproof, which would improve its IP-rating. At the time of this review, the SSD is priced at $199.99 on sale from $279.99. While this might seem high, the pricing is actually in line with other devices that are similar.
All that said, the SanDisk Extreme Pro is a solid storage device and definitely earns the title “Pro” because of its performance. I’m eager to see what SanDisk comes out with next.