Manufacturer:Transcend UK Price: £103 US Price: $148
These days your options for external storage are vast, with just about every speed and capacity readily available, generally at a reasonable price too. Whether you’re after something that’ll fit on your keyring or carry your entire movie collection and fit in your backpack. So what makes today’s candidate standout from the crowd?
Well, the crucial appeal of the Transcend ESD200 is that it offers full desktop SSD performance in a compact, portable package. Available in 128GB and 256GB capacities, it should offer far greater performance and capacity than a typical USB 3.0 thumb drive yet be more portable than either a portable hard drive or a 2.5in SSD coupled with a USB 3.0 adapter.
Transcend has certainly got the small part of the equation right. While the drive is still about the same thickness as a 2.5in SSD, it is some 10mm shorter and narrower. That may not sound like a huge amount but bear in mind this is a protected, fully encased drive, unlike a bare SSD.
That said, because the drive requires a USB 3.0 cable – supplied – to connect to your computer, there is the bulk of that to consider. Either including a really short cable or integrating a cable into the case would’ve made for an even more convenient solution.
The case itself is a simple black plastic affair, with a grey diamond pattern on the top. It’s not exactly the most attractive portable storage solution we’ve ever encountered but it’s reasonably unobtrusive.
A slim, flock-finished protective sleeve is provided to protect the drive from light knocks and scratches. With an open section at one end, you could easily keep the drive in the sleeve all the time, leaving the end with the sockets uncovered.
As well as the micro USB 3.0 connector there’s also a backup button on the same edge, which is used to activate the included backup software.
We didn’t prize the well-sealed drive open to see exactly what was inside but we would assume it uses a standard 1.8in SATA SSD married to a USB 3.0 interface. Transcend claims read and write speeds of 260MB/s and 225MB/s, which would certainly suggest a fairly nippy drive is inside.