External SSDs have been getting smaller, with higher capacities, and cheaper. The new RAVPower Portable SSD is the smallest and most portable I've used yet.
Portable SSD drives have been getting smaller, cheaper, and coming in higher capacities in recent years. More resilient against bumps and knocks than traditional magnetic hard drives, and much faster as well, solid flash drives are especially well suited to taking on the road. I use them routinely for backing up my photos on the road or providing fallback backup storage for my laptop. And I rely on them quite a lot—on work shoots, I often end up taking many more photos than I can safely store on memory cards alone.
For a while, SSDs didn’t have the kind of storage capacities that made them practical for me for this kind of use—at least, none that were reasonably priced. But in the last few years, the price of 512GB, 1TB, and even 2TB drives have been falling markedly. I’ve been using mainly Samsung and Western Digital external SSDs, but for the past few weeks I’ve been trying out a new model from RAVPower.
The first thing you notice is that it’s tiny. Much smaller than the other drives of similar storage capacity I’ve used. The long, thin shape also helps. Just the thing to include in my kit when I travel light (i.e. most of the time).
It’s a standalone drive, meaning that it draws its power from the device you plug it into and doesn’t require its own separate power supply. It comes in 1TB and 512GB versions; the one that the folks at RAVPower sent me to try out is the 512GB version. I’ve been using with a MacBook, iMac, RAVPower 6-Port USB FileHub, and RAVPower FileHub. It works with Windows and Mac. It’s also designed to work with Android and iOS; I haven’t tried those interfaces.
I’m most concerned with its performance in real-world, practical use than milking speed data in lab conditions, so the most important things I expect out of an external SSD are that it’s small, fast enough, and reliable. Having been using for a while when traveling, the RAVPower Portable SSD has been ticking those boxes comfortable for me.
It comes with an encryption app (Windows and Mac). You’re not required to use it, and it’s not enabled by default. You can use it as a regular non-encrypted drive out of the box, which is how I’ve mainly been using it.
It’s a RAVPower-branded encryption app. The package is named WDEnSSD, but it’s not the same as the much more feature-rich app WD SSD Dashboard for Western Digital drives.
It uses an ATA security lock with a password lock. I’m no expert on encryption and can’t speak to the level of security it provides against a determined snooper, but at a minimum, it provides a useful layer of defense against your files falling into the wrong hands if you accidentally misplace the drive.
Dimensions: 3.9 x 1.2 x 0.4 inches / 9.9 x 3.1 x 1 cm
Interface: 1 x Type-C port that supports USB 3.1 Gen2 and Gen1
File Formats Supported: NTFS / FAT32 / exFAT; supports SATA III Data Transmission
Speed: Rated for up to 540Mbps when connected via USB 3.1 Gen2 interface
Made in: China
In addition to the SSD, there’s a small fabric pouch, a USB-C to USB-C cable, and a USB-A to USB-C cable.
I haven’t run into any overheating issues even with large data transfer operations. RAVPower’s marketing materials boast of its efficient heat sink, and so far it has performed well for me.
You can find them at Amazon.
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