A lot of power in a small package.

There are few things more important than data storage. Since our whole worlds are in the digital space these days we must be able to contain it somewhere. Computer hard drives fill up quickly as do mobile devices. So how do we back up our most precious information? I used to pick up portable hard drives to make sure that I could keep my data safe. Today, portable hard drives are much smaller than they used to be. I’m a big fan of this because it means I can always have a hard drive with me — even in my pocket. This USB-C Portable SSD from Pioneer fits the bill as far as I’m concerned and it even connects using USB-C, which means it fits perfectly with my MacBook Pro.

Pioneer P1 240GB USB-C External SSD REVIEW


This SSD is small, slim, and is ultra fast. It uses bus power and does not require external power separate from the USB-C connection to your computer. The drive is backward compatible with USB 2.0. The P1 uses USB-C gen 2 to connect to your computer. You can use the hard drive with Windows (7 or later) and Mac (10.8.4 or later) operating systems. It measures 66 x 46 x 10.5 mm and only weighs 29.5 grams (cable not included in weight). The SSD is available in two capacities — 120 GB and 240 GB. I am fortunate enough to have the larger of the two sizes. The specs show a read/write speed of 480/400 MB/s.

The P1 is packaged in a glossy black box with Pioneer branding on it. The front is labeled with the P1 name, the capacity of the hard drive, and a short description. The back has scattered details of the hard drive including its basic description. The box is comprised of an outer sleeve and inner packaging. The inner package opens up to reveal the SSD. Beneath the SSD you will find a bilingual quick reference guide, a USB-C to USB-A cable, a USB-A to USB-C adapter, and a travel pouch.

User Experience

The first thing I noticed about the P1 SSD was its size. It’s tiny. It literally fits in the palm of your hand. I love that Pioneer packaged it with a travel pouch. The pouch is just large enough to fit the SSD, its cable, and the adapter. When you first plug it in, you will find that it’s formatted as a Windows-only drive. I decided to reformat it as FAT 32 so that it could be read by both Mac and Windows machines.

Even though it’s an external hard drive and pretty much plug and play, I still reviewed the instructions. Pioneer provided a small booklet with basic instructions that are written in both English and Chinese. The instructions are side-by-side instead of all English and all Chinese. So it makes it a little hard to read through the notes. I also found that there were some syntax errors in the English version of the guide. For example, under the ‘Notification’ section of the instructions, it’s suggested to users to keep the SSD away from places/situations that might be hazardous for it. Here is how the hazards are listed.

extreme heat and humidity, direct sunlight, uneven temperatures, heat sources, strong magnetic fields or radiation, vibration and tilt, corrosive gases, strong static, electricity, poor ventilation, dusty and humidity

The same is true of the instructions. Here is how it’s listed to use the SSD:

  • Power on your PC
  • Connecting the APS-XS02/PC
  • APS-XS02 is ready to use

As it turns out, even though the hard drive comes with a USB-C/USB-A adapter, if you plug that end into the hard drive, it will not power on. The SDD must have the native USB-C connection plugged into it in order to power on. When I switched which end of the cable was connected to the drive, it turned on and mounted to my computer easily.  It does not have to be the original cable though. I also tested the powering of the hard drive with my Apple USB-C charge cable that shipped with my MacBook Pro. It did successfully power on and mount the Pioneer SSD to my MacBook Pro. I did attempt to use the Apple charging cable to transfer data and while it did technically work, it was abysmally slow. The Blackmagic speed test I ran returned a read/write time of 40.6/39.2 MB/s. I then transferred a sizeable file to the drive using the Apple cable and it took 5.5 minutes to copy 11.09 GB of data.

After testing the Apple USB-C cable, I switched back to the USB-C cable that came with the SSD. I transferred the same batch of files over and it only took 54 seconds. The Blackmagic speed test also revealed a MUCH faster connection and the results were in line with the specs that Pioneer offered in their product description. The screenshot below shows the SSD’s speed using its primary data transfer cable.


This SSD from Pioneer is a very handy little drive to carry around. It’s tough, lightweight, and packs a powerful storage punch. I was completely ‘wowed’ by its speed and surprised at how much difference cable choice can make. I would recommend this drive to anyone who ends up working remotely frequently. It’s perfect for photographers, videographers, and other creative professionals. With its high-speed capabilities, it’s easy to work with and use as a backup drive.

For more information, visit pioneer-iot.com.
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