While Samsung is going for tiny with their line of portable SSDs, SanDisk is emphasizing ruggedness. Their new SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD is built to survive extremes while featuring most of the premium features usually found in external SSDs — but not quite all of them.
The Extreme 510 is a USB 3.0 drive, so it doesn’t have the new Type-C connector and it doesn’t use the faster USB 3.1 standard. Still, it’ll be a fast enough performer for most with read speeds of up to 430 MB/s and write speeds of up to 400 MB/s. You can use preloaded software to password-protect the drive, but the 128-bit AES encryption isn’t as robust as what’s on Samsung’s portable SSDs, so you’ll have to weigh data security with ruggedness if you’re deciding between the two.
Physically, it’s a tough drive. It’s rated IP55 for water and dust resistance and has a rubber bumper that goes all the way around that protects against falls from up to about six feet. Granted, shock protection isn’t as important for SSDs as it was for older external hard drives because SSDs have no moving parts, but the rubber could prevent the casing from becoming damaged, which could in turn damage the drive. Besides, it’s always better to have more protection than less.
The SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD is available now only with 480 GB storage. It costs $250 and comes with a two-year warranty — a bit low for external hard drives.