240GB of super fast SSD in the palm of your hand
Back in 2001, I carried a USB thumb drive around with me and I used it all the time. I used it for a vareity of reasons — dragging media around, backing up files, or even software installations. The problem back then was the sheer lack of space on the thumb drives. Nowadays, both speed and space has improved 110%. Instead of a high capacity thumb drive being 28MB now it’s 128GB.
Even with the increased speed and capacity available, flash drives still have a problem of reliability. If you are transferring basic files back and forth, it’s not the problem. But flash drives don’t really have the power to be a ‘working’ drive. What I mean by that is if you are a photo or video editor and you want to set up a portable workstation, it can be cumbersome to carry around bulky storage drives that can support active workflows. Flash drives are small enough to work for a mobile workstation, but lack the “oomph” to be able to support active editing like a standard hard drive can. Now, let me introduce you to the OWC Envoy Pro Mini. It’s the perfect combination of powerful hard drive and compact flash drive in one.
At first glance, you might describe the Envoy Pro Mini as a fancy-looking flash drive. It has a solid aluminum body, a cap that fits over the USB-A plug, and a loop on the opposite end for a lanyard. It does look a little large for a flash drive, but that’s because it’s not. On the inside of the case, you will find a full-sized SSD. What OWC has done is take the power and speed of an SSD and placed it in a convenient shell that is perfect for lightweight, mobile workstations. It has a USB 3.0 interface and will sustain speed up to 427 MB/s. It’s available in two capacities — 120GB and 240GB. The Envoy Pro Mini is strong enough to handle 4K video production, virtual machines, and even an entire operating system. This is the ideal computing tool for any type of user. I can think of a dozen applications that would make use out of this amazing device.You can load over 6,000 songs onto it; you can store applications and utilities on it for IT work, or you could use it as your working media drive for video/photo production.
The Envoy Pro Mini arrived in a standard OWC branded box. In addition to the SSD, you get a USB extension cable, lanyard, and some documentation. There is some information about the drive included on the box, but for the most part, it’s a pretty clutter-free package. When you first open the box, you will find the drive sitting in some form-fitted cardboard. It does have the appearance of a large flash drive. As I mentioned before, it does have a cap to cover the USB plug and keep it free from dust and other elements. This is probably the only feature I don’t like about the Envoy Pro Mini — the detachable cap. I’ve never been a big fan of those because they are too easily lost. The documentation and other accessories are stored beneath the drive.
Upon close inspection, you will find that the USB plug is adorned with blue on the inside of it. This indicates that it is USB 3.0. Now, I’d like to note here that I have a 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. That means that I can’t connect the Envoy Pro Mini to my computer without an adapter or hub in place since my computer only has USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports. Fortunately, I have a wonderful OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock and a small third party USB-C to USB-A adapter. For the purposes of testing endurance and file transfer speeds, I used a file folder that is 13.46GB. This folder contains various file types and has 450 items in it. I ended up transferring the file in three ways. The results of the test are listed below.
- Drobo 5D3 to MacBook Pro (Thunderbolt 3 connection): 30 seconds
- MacBook Pro to OWC Envoy Pro Mini using USB-A to USB-C Adapter: 70 seconds
- MacBook Pro to OWC Envoy Pro Mini using OWC Thunderbolt Dock (USB 3.0 port): 60 seconds
In addition to simply timing the file transfer, I also ran a speed test using SpeedTools Utilities 3. SpeedTools gives you the option to run a Standard Test, Large Test, or Extended Test. I decided to run the Standard Test. I’ve included the Graphic View of the test results below.
I was very happy about how the drive performed and how quickly files transferred. The only complaint that I have is that the drive seems to get quite warm after a file transfer of this size. Because of the high-speed data transfer and the amount of space the drive has, I’m not really to surprised about the heat. The aluminum construction of the drive does not allow for much if any airflow for the SSD. If a vent of some kind was designed into the outer case, that might alleviate some of the heat disbursement issues.
OWC has become my go to company when it comes to reliable computer hardware. They make some of the best products and the Envoy Pro Mini exceeds expectations without a doubt. You might wonder why it makes sense to invest in a premium item like this when you can get a large capacity flash drive for a much less cost. Well, reliability is key and 240GB is a lot of data to lose because you bought a sub par product. If you are in the market for a portable drive, I would advise against saving a couple of pennies and pick up the Envoy Pro Mini.
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