Lexar SL200 Portable SSD Review

Lexar LS200 Review
Review
Website: Lexar.com

Price when reviewed

£109

$73
Check current price

Our Verdict

An ultra-compact portable storage drive with sleek looks and quality build. Our 512GB review sample is light on capacity for video storage, but it's perfectly suited for backing up stills files in the field. It's a fantastic portable drive and videographers need not be upset by the 512GB capacity as there's also 1 and 2TB versions available; far more in tune for their storage needs. The Lexar SL200 Portable SSD performance is impressive and combines with its small size, it's the perfect field companion.

For

  • Compact design
  • USB Type-C
  • Well built

Against

  • 400mb/s just suitable for 4K
  • 512GB to small for video
What is the Lexar SL200 Portable SSD?

If you’re looking for a decent portable storage drive, the SL200 is a good allrounder. It features a fast SSD with a USB Type-C connection; this means it’s great for storing files from your camera and can also be used as a portable working drive.

The three capacities offer good scope for using the drive for both stills and video, but the max write speed of 550mb/s may limit you on some higher resolution and complex 4k edits when used as a working drive rather than just storage.

The size and weight are the real winners for the Lexar SL200, it’s ultra-slim and should fit the outward bound storage needs of most enthusiast photographers.

Specification

  • Product type: Storage drive
  • Capacity: 512GB, 1TB or 2TB
  • Interface : USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Read Speed: Up to 550mb/s
  • Write Speed: Up t0 400mb/s
  • Dimensions : 86mm x 60mm x 9.5mm
  • Weight: 40.6g
Features

A key feature of the Lexar SL200 Portable SSD is its small size, just 86mm long, 60mm wide with a 9.5mm height. And without taking the short USB Type-C cable into account it only weighs 40.6g, that’s 7.4g less than an uneaten Snickers bar.

The outer casing isn’t metal but a high-quality plastic that gives the drive a premium finish and has some rather nice design flourishes that add to the aesthetics.

Connection wise, there’s just the USB Type-C which enables a top read speed of 550mb/s and write speed of 400mb/s. While read speeds are important, a decent write speed is all-important if the SL200 is to be used as a working drive. At 400mb/s it ticks quite a few boxes for video and everything I can think of for stills.

As portable hard drives are designed to be used out in the field and away from the office, the drive itself has to be durable, and Lexar assures us that the SL200 is vibration and harsh-temperature resistant. By that it will operate between 0º and 70ºC and can be stored between -40º and 85ºC, I think that’s impressive and beyond my working temperatures which are between 19ºC and 19ºC.

A feature that used to be common but has recently disappeared from many drives is a small LED that tells you if it’s on. It may be small and seemingly insignificant, but it’s such a useful feature.

The Lexar SL200 Portable SSD is compatible with practically any system that has a USB Type-C or A port and there’s a cable for both connection generations in the box.

Also, the drive comes preloaded with software including a nifty encryption application, or you can use the one that comes with your OS.

Build and Handling

Lexar has made a nice looking drive. It’s small, well-formed, and it sits perfectly in the pocket of my camera bag.

The plastic casing is solid – I had to double-check that it isn’t metal – and the design has a nice overall aesthetic to it.

There is little to fault about the design or looks, it’s simple and understated, but then this is a portable hard drive.

Handling is much the same as any other drive, plug it in and off you go, easy.

When the drive arrives, it comes preloaded with the encryption software that you can install and use. The setup for this is simple and once in place, you need a password to unlock and access the contents of the drive.

It’s all straight forward and once the drive is reformatted for the Mac OS system, it was ready to use as a storage and working drive.

Performance

USB Type-C has revolutionised external storage. There were already plenty of decent drives out there, but the Type-C transfer speed now means that a small external drive can now be used for far more than just storage.

Lexar LS200 Review

In my test, used with Adobe Photoshop, and opening and editing several hundred images shot on a Sony A7R, there was no difference in the performance of the drive compared with my Mac’s internal Nvme drive.

I also used it for Full HD video editing and again the speed was impressive, keeping up with the flow of edits. Switching to a bit of 4K video editing and grading Log2 content and that read/write speed was tested, but still more than enough.

Bench testing the Lexar SL200 Portable SSD

Leaving the real work to the side, it was time for the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. Here the results were surprising with an average write speed of 480mb/s and read of 515mb/s.

The read speed is good, but the write speed is well above that quoted by Lexar and most other SSD drives I have tested. I checked this on two machines just to make sure, and the same result.

Verdict

First up the Lexar SL200 Portable SSD is small and lightweight so fits in a bag or pocket and doesn’t take up too much room. The cable might not be built-in, but as it’s USB Type-C, I always have one in the bag anyway. Also, I’ve found with other portable drives with integral cables that they tend to break or become obsolete, so to a certain extent this future-proofs the drive’s use.

I like the design, it feels solid, despite being plastic, it’s a premium product which is reflected in the transfer speeds and price.

The price seems hefty at over £100, although it seems to be available in the US for considerably less.

The specs and performance are good for a portable hard drive of this style. While there are cheaper alternatives out there, the overall performance and reliability make this a good choice for almost anyone looking for an external drive.

I would have liked to have seen some type of moisture protection, but this isn’t essential.

If you shoot and edit 4K video, then you really need to look at Thunderbolt 3 drives, for everyone else this drive is available with a choice of capacities and offers decent speeds across the range for both video and stills.

You may also like…