Peripheral Review: LaCie Rugged SSD Pro (This Thing Is a Speed Demon!)

Photographers on the go who need of hyper-fast, darn tough external storage will want to consider the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro.

When the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro arrived for review, our expectations for the Thunderbolt 3 equipped external SSD were high. We previously reviewed LaCie’s non-pro version of the Rugged SSD (which utilizes USB-C rather than Thunderbolt 3) and were impressed by its performance and durability. Thunderbolt 3 has four times the maximum throughput of USB-C (40 Gbps vs 10 Gbps), so it stands to reason that the performance gains of the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro over its non-pro counterpart would be significant. Does the addition of Thunderbolt 3 justify the US $100 MSRP premium though?

Solid State Drives are significantly faster than traditional magnetic disk drives and can stand up to more physical abuse thanks to their lack of moving components. Like the non-pro version we previously reviewed, the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is also said to be IP67 rated against water and dust, drop-resistant up to three meters, and crush-resistant by up to a two-ton vehicle.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Blazing fast performance
  • Robustly constructed
  • Weather and drop resistant
  • Small footprint

Cons

  •  Pricey

Gear Used

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

“…the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is also said to be IP67 rated against water and dust, drop-resistant up to three meters, as well as crush-resistant by up to a two-ton vehicle.”

Tech Specs

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

Storage Capacity1 TB
Connection Interface1x Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C)
Maximum Read Speed2800 MB/s
Internal InterfacePCIe
TypeSolid-State Drive
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 x 64.9 x 97.9mm)
Weight0.22 lbs (0.1kg)

Ergonomics

While the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is encased in the same grippy rubber material that the bumpers for LaCie’s own rugged external hard drives are made of, the Pro version of the Rugged SSD comes in black rather than bright LaCie orange.

The design of the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is functional and minimalist. Other than the logo on top, the only other thing you’ll find on the exterior is the Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) port. It’s important to note that, while Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3 share the USB Type-C connector, the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro will only work when plugged into a Thunderbolt 3 compatible Type-C port on a computer running Windows or MacOS.

The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is seen here connected to a Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition laptop via the included Thunderbolt 3 cable. No external power cable is needed.

Measuring at about half an inch thick and slightly larger than a standard business card, the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro has a small footprint (as seen above next to a full-sized SD card). It’ll fit easily in most pockets, and won’t take up much room when tossed into your camera bag.

Build Quality

The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro feels like a smaller and lighter version of a hockey puck (albeit rectangular in shape rather than circular). Not that we’re recommending to use it as one, but it’s built solidly enough that you probably could. Thanks to it being a Solid State Drive, the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro doesn’t contain any moving parts. You can shake the drive until kingdom come without having to worry about rattling the drive’s internal components. I’ve carried the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro pretty much everywhere for the past month: it has continued to work flawlessly. It has survived being tossed into various camera bags which were in turn tossed into the trunk of my car or overhead storage compartments on trains. Unless you purposely try to damage the drive by throwing it off a tall building, taking it deep-sea diving, or running it over with a tank, I have no doubts the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro will stand up to the everyday abuses of a professional photographer.

I’ve carried the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro with me to pretty much everywhere for the past month: it has continued to work flawlessly. It survived being tossed into various camera bags which were in turn tossed into the trunk of my car or overhead storage compartments on trains.

Ease of Use

Using the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is straightforward. It functions just like any other external hard drive or a flash drive. Simply connect the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro to your computer using the included Thunderbolt 3 cable and it should be recognized by your computer immediately. Once connected, you can start dragging files over onto the drive. It’s honestly that simple.

During real-world tests, the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro performed blazingly fast. Importing SD cards filled with massive raw files from my Sony A7R IV into Capture One sessions took just minutes, and I was able to cull and edit them directly from the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro without any performance hiccups. What really sets the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro apart from its non-pro cousin is its read performance. As you can see in the CrystalDiskMark benchmark results above, the maximum read speeds of the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro exceeded the advertised 2800 MB/s, which is nearly three times that of the LaCie Rugged SSD.

Conclusion

Likes

  • Blindingly fast performance
  • Ease of use
  • Compact form factor
  • Lightweight
  • Stands up to a ton of abuse

Dislikes

  • High price tag, but you get what you pay for

As photographers, the last thing we want is to lose images we work hard to create. Capable of withstanding considerable abuse from the elements, the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is a robustly constructed external solid-state storage option we can rely on to safeguard our priceless images. As added peace of mind, LaCie even includes data recovery services should the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro sustain any damage within five years of purchase. With an MSRP of US $399.99, the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro carries a US $100 premium over it’s non-pro but still capable cousin. While this may be too high for some, photographers who work on location frequently and require external storage with the fastest possible performance and protection from the elements will want to give the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro serious consideration.

The LaCie Rugged SSD earns five out of five stars. You can pick one up from Amazon.

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.