Mobile working storage has long been an issue: while there's been plenty of options finding a portable hard drive that mixes speed and capacity has been difficult.
The SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD provides both and features a tough, rugged design from the outset there's little not to like.
There's little not to like, so if you require a high-quality portable HD, then look no further.
Fast transfer speeds
What is the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD
Utilising the latest Nvme technology and featuring a rugged go-anywhere design, the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD looks to be the ultimate working storage solution.
Nvme technology and USB Type-C connectivity means that this hard drive is both secure and fast. Ideal for backing up footage and images in the field, as well as being used as a working drive.
Portable Hard Drive / westerndigital.com / 2TB Version £349 / $349 at time of review
Storage can be a real issue, and as file sizes get larger, the demands on our storage become ever more complex.
The issue is exasperated when it comes to portability, that was until now. SanDisk has just launched the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD a drive that utilises the latest ultra-fast Nvme technology and USB Type-C connectivity.
What’s more, that USB connection provides the power, a must for portability. Part of the beauty of solid-state is that there are no moving parts that can get jolted and broken, like so many portable optical drives.
It also comes in a variety of capacities from 500GB through to 2TB which should see you through a days shoot.
All of these features combined mean that you have a portable hard drive with the capacity and speed to be used as a proper working drive.
We put it to the test with a few hours of 4K video and then used it as the working drive for video editing in FCPX.
The major question that arose at the outset is; we know the drive has the capacity and speed, but can it maintain this performance when used as a working drive?
Nvme as with all solid-state memory gets hot, so is the cooling and design enough to keep this drive going through the thick end of an edit?
Lets quickly take a look at the features. The SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD is available as a 500GB, 1TB or 2TB capacity. Connectivity is through USB Type-C, and there’s a Type-C to Type-C and a Type-C to Type-A (Standard) cable in the box.
The Hard Drive is compatible with both Mac, PC and Linux systems.
The drive utilises Nvme drive technology and can deliver transfer speeds of up to 1050MB/s; this is the quoted Read speed of the drive.
As a portable drive, it’s good to see that SanDisk has thought about how the drive will be used out in the field. The body of the drive is made from forged aluminium to help protect the inner workings and also to dissipate heat when in use.
The exterior of the drive is also covered by durable hard silicon which acts as an impact barrier, further protecting the drive from knocks and scrapes.
Finally, on the physical protection, the drive is rated as IP55 meaning that it is dust and water-resistant.
Making sure that the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD is as portable as possible it weighs in at 79g plus the weight of the cables, and measures just 110mm x 57mm x 10mm.
On top of all this, it comes with a 5-year guarantee.
Build and Handling
It has to be said that the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD is one of the nicest looking drives available. It’s slender, with an accent of orange aluminium through the silicon rubber outer.
The tough silicon is hard to the touch with a fine dot texture that makes the drive tactile, more importantly, this outer means that it grips to most surfaces you put in on, including a car roof.
The connection comes through a single USB port at one end, and although dangling the drive by the cable is not ideal, it’s light enough for you not to worry too much about the cable taking the full weight of the drive.
That’s really bad practice, and I really wouldn’t recommend doing it.
The design features a large triangular hole in one corner, I think the triangle is just a bit of design flair, but the hole itself is useful.
In the past, I’ve looped some climbing cord through the old SanDisk Extreme 500, and had this as a permanent feature in my kit bag.
The old-style drive was excellent once I’d gaffer taped and glued the cable permanently in place. The USB 3.1 Micro-B 10 pin was one of the worst designs I’ve ever come across.
Thankfully here on the new Extreme Pro, the Micro-B 10-Pin has been replaced with a Type-C. This has so far proved an excellent connection type, I like it a lot, and it’s far more secure. Still not 100% for those who have a tendency to trip and pull cables out, but good enough.
In use on a Mac Pro and MacBook Pro, plug in the cable and off you go, it couldn’t be easier.
As ever when the drive arrived, I reformatted into APFS to ensure the best security and file integrity for Mac. Once done, the drive appears to work perfectly for both storage and as a working drive.
The first tests are to use the drive as I would with any other drive. Attached to the MacBook Pro 15-inch 2018 and copying files from an SD Card across. It was instantly obvious that speed was well above that of a standard optical drive.
For an SD Card with 178 images both in JPEG and RAW with a combined file size of 5.2GB, the transfer time was 7 seconds. A transfer rate of 782MB/s.
Next test was to do the same with video files 37GB worth. The large file size should mean a slightly quicker transfer rate. Again the speeds were impressive at 45 seconds, 822MB/s transfer speed.
The next test looked at the working ability of the drive. It can store files but is it any good as a working drive. When it came to opening and working on files in Photoshop, there wasn’t an issue. It worked as if the files were on the internal hard drive.
Switching over to editing 4K video in FCPX and this should put the drive to the test. I have other drives which should be more than fast enough to handle 4K video editing but put a bit of pressure on them, and they start bottleneck and fall.
Here again, the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD seemed to keep up with the action and although my major worry was the heat, again the small SSD seemed to keep itself cool and running at speed.
In the practical tests, the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD kept up with the action and proved itself an excellent solution all-round.
With the practice tests out of the way, it was time to hand the drive over to the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. The drive was tested on the MacBook Pro using USB Type-C and the Mac Pro 2013 through Thunderbolt 2.
Through the MacBook Pro, the results were impressive at around 900MB/s for both read and write.
I’ve been looking for a while for a decent portable hard drive and one that’s able to keep up with the demands of 4K video editing in the field.
The 2TB version of the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD, that I had on test, provided plenty of capacity and speed.
At the start of the test, I was a little worried about the amount of heat that would be generated by the ultra-fast Nvme hardware when video editing.
But, through the test, the temperature of the enclosure while warm never got to the scolding temperatures that I’ve felt from other Nvme drives and the MacBook Pro.
The design is also slim and lightweight, and the silicon outer provides just enough grip to sit and stay on most surfaces happily. If it does fall, and I did drop it several times to test how robust it was, the rugged design seemed to hold out well. At least it’s still working fine.
Likewise, I left the drive on a table in light rain, left it to dry and again its stills working fine.
Overall I’m highly impressed with the small drive, it lives up to the claims from SanDisk and is the best portable solution that I have come across to date.
If you need portable working storage, then look no further than the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD.