Review: SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD (1TB)

The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is a super fast external SSD card for the photographer on the go.

In my time using the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD, I’ve learned just how incredibly fast technology and transfer rates have become. Despite being satisfied with my 2015 MacBook Pro and iMac computers, their Thunderbolt ports were always more than adequate for me. But when using the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD and recently moving gigabytes of data between computers, I saw first hand at just how fast a few gigabytes could be transferred. It floored me, and for the photographer who needs those types of speeds all the time, the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is a great data storage solution.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Fast
  • Really fast
  • Compact
  • Super portable

Cons

  • I wish that it had a self-contained cable for easier transport.

Gear Used

We tested the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD with 2015 Macbooks and 2015 iMacs.

Tech Specs

You’re honestly better off getting the specs from their website.

Ergonomics

When you look at the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD what you see is essentially a stick. It’s a thin, sort of wide stick. But it’s more or less a stick and a hard drive put together. What we should mention is the spot for the carabiner: it’s obviously meant to be toted around.

Here’s how thin it is. I’d equate it to being thinner than a fat wallet.

Here is the only connection port on the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD. It’s a USB port that has become more common in the past few years.

Build Quality

There isn’t a single moving part on the outside of the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD. It’s a solid piece of data storage; I’ve dropped it a few feet and it kept working. I’ve taken it through TSA, X rays, etc and it continued to have no problems at all. I can’t complain about the build quality. For what the product is, it simply works. I would’ve loved a self-contained cord, and perhaps this is the biggest problem with the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD. But either way, it’s designed like a brick — a really lightweight brick.

Ease of Use

I’m a lay person when it comes to hard drives. I’ve never totally understood them despite working in the tech world many years ago, and I’ve genuinely never needed to use the most special features of some. But what I often need are rugged drives that are portable, reliable, have the ports and cables I need, and that are simple to use. In the case of the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD I get all of that. It comes with a carabiner for you to attach to your camera bag, belt, or anything else. I’ve taken it to Hawaii where it survived the fondling of the TSA, rain, and to presentations. It’s fast. I used it to transfer gigs of data from my iMac to my Macbook and the speed is faster than anything I’ve used thus far.

In all honesty, I think that most photographers are the same: we can geek out about cameras and lenses, but when it comes to computing we don’t care. We just want something that works and that’s why so many of us use Macs. If you’re a gear-head who adores tech, then you’re obviously in that camp. But the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD doesn’t seem like it was totally designed for that. Instead, it was designed to be simple. And that’s what you get: no buttons, no special lights, etc.

What I will say: I would’ve loved a self contained cable built in the way that LaCie does with their rugged drives. But in my travels, the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD didn’t suffer any problems.

Conclusions

I like the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD. I’m not too technical when it comes to drives, but it works. It’s reliable. I’ve taken it through thick and thin and that’s all that I typically ask for. It’s also so incredibly small. But what I really want is a version with a self-contained cable. LaCie has spoiled me in that way.

Is it worth $224.99? That’s pricey. That’s pretty darned pricey. But if you’re the person who needs the fast transfer rates and the reliability, then I’m sure it’s much better than paying for data recovery on a corrupted drive. And so the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD earns five out of five stars.