USB 3 External Solid-State Drive

Solid-State Drives (SSDs) are finally improving in quality and dropping in price to bring stunningly fast performance in a small package (not too different in size than an iPhone 5). Even after testing a number of storage brands and models that feature SSD drives, I wasn't prepared for the unreal speed of OWC's Envoy Pro EX: It's a portable SSD solution that outperforms the desktop SSDs.

The Envoy Pro EX is not only fast and remarkably small, but it also has a simplicity and ultrasleek appearance that only added to my amazement. When I tested the drive, the transfer of full-size, 1080p DV files—ranging from a few megabytes to nearly 30 GB—moved incredibly quickly to and from the Envoy Pro EX. The read-and-write speeds ran just below 400 MB/s via the USB 3-only, bus-powered drive. This is a testament to both the drive interface and OWC's outstanding Aura Pro 6G SSD quality. Even after extensive use, the drive was barely warm, and the tests were consistent.

So, it runs well and it looks cool, but it's also solid, with an anodized aluminum casing that simply feels like what it is: a first-class product. Since the Envoy Pro EX is bus-powered via the USB 3 connection, it doesn't require a power cable or any adapters; however, it's not backward compatible, as is typical with older USB connections.

The OWC Envoy Pro EX is a whole lot of speed that fits in any briefcase or pocket. You can even use it as a desktop solution. Welcome to the future of portable storage.

Company: Other World Computing
Price: $349 (240 GB); $629.99 (480 GB)
Rating: 5
Hot: Fast, fastest