Peripheral Review: LaCie Rugged SSD (For Photographers On The Go)

The LaCie Rugged SSD is a speedy and robust portable option for photographers on the go in need of fast and reliable external storage

When LaCie sent over their Rugged SSD for us to test out, the opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time. As a photographer that’s constantly traveling from one assignment to the next, I spend as much time working remotely on location (if not more so) than I do working from my office. Thanks to their speedy performance, Solid State Drives have become an invaluable part of my on-location workflow, which involves my having to juggle tons of mission-critical client files. Importing, managing, and backing up thousands of raw and finished images along with plenty of Capture One sessions to boot can take a long time, so every second saved goes a long way.

Along with being significantly faster when compared to traditional magnetic disk drives, SSDs tend to be more robustly constructed as well due to their lack of moving parts. This does not make them immune to mechanical failures, however. Unfortunately for me, that’s precisely what happened to one of my external SSDs. The LaCie Rugged SSD is said to be dustproof, water-resistant up to one meter, crush-resistant by up to a two-ton vehicle, as well as being drop-proof up to three meters. Bold claims for sure, and after what happened to my last external SSD, I was eager to put the LaCie Rugged SSD to the test.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Speedy performance
  • Compact size
  • Robust build quality
  • Weather and drop resistant

Cons

  •  Pricey

Gear Used

We tested the LaCie Rugged SSD with the Razer Blade 15 Studio Editio laptop (running Windows 10 Pro, Version 1909) and an Apple MacBook Pro (running macOS 10.15 Catalina).

Tech Specs

Tech specs for the LaCie Rugged SSD taken from the Adorama product page.

Storage Capacity1 TB
Connection Interface1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (USB Type-C)
Maximum Read Speed950 MB/s
Internal InterfacePCIe
Form FactorM.2
Bus PowerThunderbolt, USB
Cooling SystemPassive
Environmental ResistanceCrush, Drop
IP RatingIP67
Dimensions (L x W x H)0.7 x 2.6 x 3.9″ (17.0 x 64.9 x 97.9mm)
Weight0.22 lb (0.1kg)

Ergonomics

The LaCie Rugged SSD is encased in the same orange rubber material that the bumpers for LaCie’s own rugged external hard drives are made of. This material is grippy and won’t easily slide around even when placed on a wet surface. The LaCie Rugged SSD features the same design language as the company’s other rugged drives, and there’s not much else to see on the exterior besides the logo.

The lone USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-C) port is the only opening you’ll find on the LaCie Rugged SSD. This port supports USB Type-C, USB 3.0, as well as Thunderbolt 3 on both computers running Windows and MacOS.

The LaCie Rugged SSD is seen here plugged into a Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition laptop using the included USB Type-C cable. A USB Type-A to USB Type-C is also included.

Size-wise, the LaCie Rugged SSD is pretty compact, seen above next to a full-sized SD card. It’s slightly larger than a standard business card and just over half an inch thick, small enough to fit into your shirt/pant pockets or tossed into just about any camera bag on the market.

Build Quality

The LaCie Rugged SSD is built like a lightweight, rubberized brick. By virtue of it being a Solid State Drive, there isn’t a single moving part internally or externally. For the last few months, it’s traveled with me through every flight that I’ve been on. Having been tossed into both carry-on and checked luggage, scanned by the X-Ray machines at every TSA checkpoint that’s it’s been through, and even fallen out of my bag on numerous occasions, I’m happy to report that the LaCie Rugged SSD is still fully functional. On one occasion, I even unknowingly placed the drive on top of a pool of condensation from my iced coffee while I was working at a cafe during a layover and the worked without incident the entire time. I didn’t even realize it was went until I went to pack everything up as I was getting ready to board my connecting flight. While I haven’t run the drive over with a car (nor do I plan to), I’m confident that the drive would survive thanks to how solid it feels in hand. While I would have preferred that the USB Type-C cable be integrated into the SSD’s enclosure like LaCie’s other external drives, the one upside is that I can replace the cable easily should I lose it or the if it gets damaged in any way. This beats having to send the drive in to have the cable replaced because the cable is broken and I’m locked out accessing the data stored on the drive.

Ease of Use

Simply connect the LaCie Rugged SSD to your computer using one of the included cables and your computer will recognize it pretty much right away. I’ve tested the drive using USB Type-A, USB Type-C, and Thunderbolt 3 ports, and never once ran into connection issues. Once the drive is connected, you can begin moving data onto it. Plug and play is the name of the game with the LaCie Rugged SSD.

The LaCie Rugged SSD’s read and write performance were quite impressive as well. I was able to import, cull, and edit massive Capture One sessions directly from the LaCie Rugged SSD without any noticeable performance bottlenecks. It felt just as fast as if I was working off of an internally installed SSD. As you can see in the CrystalDiskMark benchmarks above, the LaCie Rugged SSD actually exceeded its advertised maximum data rate of 950 MB/s.

Conclusion

Likes

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Rugged construction, as the name implies
  • Speedy performance

Dislikes

  • A tad pricey, but well worth the peace of mind to be perfectly honest

All things considered, the LaCie Rugged SSD is an external solid state storage option that’s well built and performs reliably. It’s designed to weather the elements and chances are, it’ll stand up to more abuse than your laptop would. While the MSRP of US $299.99 may be a bit hard to swallow for some, it’s a price worth paying for some much-needed peace of mind when it comes to storing and transporting priceless data safely. If you’re often absent-minded or accident-prone, this is the SSD for you.

The LaCie Rugged SSD earns Five out of Five Stars. You can pick one up for yourself for less than $300.

Pauleth Ip

Paul is a New York City based photographer, creative, and writer. His body of work includes headshots and commercial editorials for professionals, in-demand actors/performers, high net worth individuals, and corporate clients, as well as intimate lifestyle/boudoir photography with an emphasis on body positivity and empowerment. Paul also has a background in technology and higher education, and regularly teaches private photography seminars. When not working on reviews and features for The Phoblographer or shooting client work, Paul can be seen photographing personal projects around NYC, or traveling the world with his cameras in tow. You can find Paul’s latest work on his Instagram over at @thepicreative.