SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD Review
Review of the SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD for photographers. Is this the fastest, smallest, and most durable SSD in 2023?
Portable storage really has come quite a long way since I first got into computers. I remember being in high school when USB sticks were first introduced – it was an incredible invention to nerdy kids like myself.
They were super small and way more convenient than waiting upwards of an hour to burn a CD! Fast forward to today and here I am holding 1TB of storage in my hand that can transfer 50 GB of data in just over 1 minute. What a world we live in!
When it comes to portable storage, there are cheap solutions and there are some quite expensive ones. If speed and portability are important to you, then an SSD (solid-state drive) should definitely be on your radar.
Supercharge your transfer speeds with this nifty, pocket-sized external drive.
With no small intricate moving parts, physically losing the whole thing is probably the biggest risk that you’ll face during ownership of a portable SSD.
So if you’re always on the move and looking for an incredibly fast and durable storage solution, take a look at my newest flame – the SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD.
These drives are available in a range of capacities that can be confidently tossed into your bag and exposed to the elements (within reason) without the fear of damaging any internal moving parts… because unlike traditional hard drives, there are none!
Let’s take a closer look.
SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD Specs
- Incredibly fast
- Small and very lightweight
- Rugged and durable giving confidence of not damaging it in transit
- It’s quite expensive for the budget-conscious
- Could do with a protective cover for the USB-C port and a case for both cables
- Capacity available: 500 GB | 1TB | 2TB
- Interface: USB 3.1 Gen 2
- Connector: USB-C
- System Compatibility: PC & Mac computers — no driver needed
- OS Compatibility: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows® 7 and Mac OS 10.9+
- Dimensions: 57.34 x 110.26 x 10.2 mm (4.34″ x 2.26″ x 0.4″)
- Weight: 0.77kg (1.6lbs)
- Sequential Read Performance: 1050MB/s
- Materials: Built from a forged aluminium body with a silicon rubber coating
- Hard Drive: Solid State Drive
- Resistance: IP55 rating for water and dust resistance (IEC 60529 IP55: Can withstand water flow (30kPa) at 3 min.; limited dust contact would not interfere with operation.)
- Warranty: 5 years limited warranty
- 1x SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD
- 1x USB Type C to USB Type C cable
- 1x USB Type C to USB Type A cable
- 1x SanDisk SSD Safety and Warranty Guide
The SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD is a pocket-sized, lightweight and incredibly fast portable storage solution that’s made from a super rugged and sturdy forged aluminium body.
It’s coated and wrapped in a durable silicon rubber coating to help with grip and to better withstand accidental drops and impacts while also protecting it from the elements.
It features an IP55 rating for both water and dust resistance making it a fantastic and convenient travel and work solution for your data storage needs while on the move.
Whether you plan to throw it into your adventure pack, transport data between shoots, or keep it securely in your pocket, the Extreme PRO Portable SSD is ready to join you wherever you decide to take it.
It comes in 500 GB, 1TB, and 2TB varieties and its slim and sleek profile allows it to easily pack up or slip into your pocket.
The hook shape built into the body gives you enough space to attach it to a carabiner clip or tie a lanyard through it. That way you can secure it around your neck or to a bag, belt or pouch.
Designed for work, adventure, and play, the Extreme PRO Portable SSD is not in any way heavy or bulky.
In fact, it feels very nicely weighted and does not give the impression of being flimsy or delicate at all, giving you confidence in using it while on the move or visiting the occasional remote and wild badlands.
Perhaps the only thing that could possibly be added to the Extreme PRO is a protective cap to place over the USB-C port, as I feel that is the only possible vulnerable point on this mighty little pocket rocket of digital data excellence.
Software & Accessories
Included in the package along with the drive are two USB cables allowing for USB-C to USB-C data transfer or USB-C to USB-A usage.
There’s no carry case included in the package, which I have found is quite common for most portable drives. That said, you don’t really need a protective case with the Extreme PRO Portable SSD due to its rugged classification. Just don’t go and lose your cables!
The drive itself is a literal “plug and play” situation straight out of the box. There is no set up necessary to get it to work on any of the compatible operating systems.
However, if you want to secure and password-protect your data, SanDisk have also pre-loaded a free copy of SanDisk SecureAccess™ on to the SSD for your convenience.
SanDisk SecureAccess™ provides you with a quick and easy way to store and protect your data on any of SanDisk’s USB storage devices.
It allows you to create an encrypted and password-protected directory to store your files inside, preventing sneaky people from peeking and poking around inside.
Now, this is where the SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD truly shines and where it absolutely blew me away! The read and write speeds are incredibly fast on this little device, especially while using a computer with an inbuilt SSD hard drive too.
I’ve been so used to the speeds offered by normal USB Portable HDDs, and now I think they’re so slow in comparison!
SanDisk Extreme Pro SD cards have always been my choice throughout my time as a photographer due to their high speeds and reliability (I’ve never encountered a failure), so I had a lot of faith with the Extreme PRO living up to my expectations.
The read speeds are rated up to 1050MB/s (in manufacturer controlled conditions), however as one would expect, the write speeds may be lower due to a number of potential factors dependant on the host machine such as hard disk speed and type, software running at the same time, etc.
But I’ll tell you what, this thing is fast! It’s so great not having to wait extended amounts of time to copy hundreds or thousands of photos from a trip across from one machine to transport it to another.
The Extreme PRO Portable SSD also works wonderfully as an expanded storage device for a light travel system such as a Microsoft Surface Pro, Macbook Air, or similar low-storage travel and work laptops.
I found it’s also quick enough to run Lightroom catalogues directly from it or using it to source files from in Luminar 4 without suffering massive performance losses (experience paired with my laptop).
Here are some examples that I experimented with while transferring three different sets of data from both my gaming laptop and my Microsoft Surface Pro to the Extreme PRO Portable SSD and back.
I ran the transfer back and forth multiple times and recorded the time using the stopwatch feature on my phone.
I also ran different software in the background during the tests to see if I’d get drops in speed and, if so, how badly the transfer speeds would be affected.
1080 photos (50 GB) – Gaming Laptop to and from the Extreme PRO Portable SSD:
Fastest time: 1.5 minutes | Slowest time: 6 minutes
300 photos (12 GB) – Microsoft Surface Pro to and from the Extreme PRO Portable SSD:
Fastest time: 2 minutes | Slowest time: 3 minutes
Uncompressed video file (3.6 GB) – Gaming Laptop & Microsoft Surface Pro to and from the Extreme PRO Portable SSD:
- Fastest time: 10 seconds / 15 seconds (Laptop / Surface)
- Slowest time: 25 seconds / 34 seconds (Laptop / Surface)
Throughout all of this transferring back and forth, the drive itself did noticeably warm up, but it never felt as though it’d meltdown and liquefy.
Even with the forged aluminium frame helping disperse the heat, it still gets pretty warm while running through its paces!
Value for Money
The SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD is certainly not a “cheap and easy” storage solution by any means, but I recommend you look at the incredible transfer speeds, and weight up the price per GB for Portable SSDs in general.
On top of that, factor in the IP55 rating for water and dust resistance along with its small and convenient size.
There’s certainly added value for the avid traveller or professional who’s potentially going to end up in situations the casual user may not.
As a safety measure, if a device is being passed through multiple hands on shoots, or travelling with you through mixed conditions, you don’t want someone to accidentally drop it and lose a day or week’s worth of work in an instant.
The IP55 rating on the Extreme PRO will definitely come in handy, and only has to protect you from that one unfortunate moment in order to pay for itself.
Portable SSDs do cost more in general when compared to traditional hard drives, but I’m sure many photographers (professional or casual) will certainly reap the benefits offered by the transfer rates the Extreme PRO Portable SSD offers.
Transferring huge amounts of data regularly from device to device will be made much quicker with the Extreme PRO. Complete catalogues of 4K footage or raw photos captured from a shoot can be copied and backed up across in a matter of a few short minutes instead of a half an hour or more.
If it’s still out of your budget you can take a look at the SanDisk Extreme Portable External SSD instead. It’s not as fast as the PRO (550mb/s vs 1050mb/s), but it’s in no way a slug in the speed department!
It features the same IP55 rating but at a lower price point if you’re willing to forego the speeds the SanDisk Extreme PRO offers. Much like the Extreme vs Extreme Pro SD Cards you may have looked up at one point for your camera, it’s not as fast but still quite capable in a lot of ways.
If you do have the budget, I’d maintain that the Extreme PRO is well worth the spend.
SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD Review | Conclusion
I’ve been very impressed with the SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD, and with 1TB of storage space I never run out of capacity while travelling with it either.
It’s a great companion to my Surface Pro (which only has 128 GB of internal storage), so while on the road I can back up all of my photos and videos quickly.
Not to mention that the Extreme PRO’s incredible read/write speeds are a huge benefit when it comes to running my Lightroom catalogues straight from the device!
Although it’s initially an expensive outlay, I’ve found great value in using it – and I can envisage it would have many benefits for a wide range of users.
Sometimes you just have to dive right in to learn that it’s right for you!
Supercharge your transfer speeds with this nifty, pocket-sized external drive.