With the rise of NVMe SSD and the evolution of the USB protocol, it becomes easy to have an external storage device, compact and very fast. SanDisk has increased the number of announcements in this area in recent years, we have tested its Extreme 1 TB model. A few years ago, the external storage sector was organized into two large families. First of all USB keys using flash, compact but not always very fast. Then external hard drives, with a much larger capacity, but larger and sometimes requiring additional power.

Then saw the SSD. Fast, more and more compact (especially in M.2), they gradually gain in capacity and are therefore more and more affordable. Their use as external storage is favored by the increase in speed of USB which has increased in recent years from 5 Gb/s (Gen 1) to 10 Gb/s (Gen 2) then 20 Gb/s (Gen 2×2).

We have already seen how it was possible to create a USB key that is at the same time compact, very fast and inexpensive. But what about when you want a turnkey product, even more compact and why not resistant? SanDisk has been offering its Extreme Portable SSD range for several years in this segment. We tested its latest 1TB model, available on market for 225 euros.

1 TB at 10 Gb/s in a compact and rugged form factor

In their “v1”, the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSDs were offered in a 5 Gb/s version and then a 10 Gb/s “Pro” version. The v2 announced a few weeks ago has doubled these speeds. The first use USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gb/s), the second Gen 2×2 can reach 20 Gb/s. Our copy is a classic 1TB model.

All share the same appearance: a rectangle of 10 x 5 cm and 9 mm thick for a weight of 61 grams according to our scale. If its outer shell is plastic, it is stiffened. SanDisk suggests resistance to drops (up to 2 meters), vibrations (5 gRMS, from 10 to 2000 Hz), water and dust (IP55). The product thus fits easily in a pocket to be transported. Its look is sober, but pleasant.

We performed drop tests from a height of 1 to 2 meters and other dives of the SSD in a tank filled with water without noticing the slightest malfunction. Neither of the consequences of the shocks. It would probably be different if it was passed under a car on gravely terrain, but it should be sufficient in many situations.

However, we could do without the soft touch coating on the underside which tends to collect hair and dust a little too easily. However, we appreciate the large opening on the top allows it to be hung wherever you want. However, no such accessory is delivered in the bundle.

This is satisfied with the minimum: a 10 cm USB Type-C cable (only) and a Type-A adapter. Good news all the same: the warranty is guaranteed for a period of 5 years.

Good performance

Inside, this external SSD is based on an SN500E model from Western Digital and a PCIe 3.0 (NVMe 1.4) connector with management of the TRIM command. Its USB 3.2 controller is Type-C, which can reach 10 Gb/s. SanDisk promises speeds of 1,050 MB/s read and 1,000 MB/s write.

As is often the case with such cases, we have obtained inferior results in practice when copying large files to or from the SSD. The results are stable, even on large amounts of data (over 100 GB), full SSD. Around 835MB/s read, 720MB/s write (peak) but 660MB/s (average).

Finally, note that a SanDisk Security encryption solution protects access to data with a password. A “clue” can be specified to help you if you forget. It is also possible to activate an automatic unlocking. This tool is not open source, it is only available for macOS and Windows.

Little but strong

This SanDisk external SSD keeps its promises. It is resistant, compact, practical, the announced speeds are typical of a USB peripheral announced at 10 Gb/s. There is ultimately only one point to reproach it: its price.

As often with this type of device, you have to deal with the constraints of a turnkey external device, and the additional cost compared to a 1 TB M.2 SSD from Western Digital (SN500) is significant since the latter is offered at 100 euros against 225 euros for its USB 3.2 version (private copying fee included).

SanDisk also seems to be aware of this. This is why the manufacturer relies on the qualities of its product and its five-year warranty. So many elements that can be such as to make you forget the doubled price. They may be of interest to those who want to play with security and the turnkey external SSD, but not those who are primarily looking for a price. The latter should therefore rather turn to a box sold for around forty euros.