SanDisk Extreme 500 Portable SSD
£70 inc VAT (31p per GB) • www.sandisk.co.uk
SanDisk is well known for its flash memory, and the Extreme 500 is a portable SSD which joins the ranks of the company’s SD cards and USB flash drives. Unlike many portable drives, it should withstand life on the road as it’s both dust and water (well, splash) resistant.
The price of flash memory is slowly dropping, but we’re still a long way from a time when solid-state storage is as cheap as traditional hard drives. The Extreme 500 costs around 30p per GB and is available in 120-, 240- and 480GB capacities. We tested the 240GB model, which costs £70. That might seem expensive, but it wasn’t long ago that SSDs were twice as costly as this.
If you need a drive that’s properly waterproof, there’s the Extreme 510, but this is only available in a 480GB capacity for £199 (slightly over 40p per GB).
Features and design
SanDisk’s portable SSD is so light, it almost feels almost like a toy. Its diamond-shape casing is unconventional, as is the position of the USB port on one corner. That socket itself is unusual because – rather than using a modern, reversible USB-C – Samsung has gone for an older Micro-USB 3.0 connector.
This is protected from the elements by a rubber cover and on the opposite side is a loop so you can attach it to a lanyard, your keys or even your camera. It comes with SanDisk SecureAccess. This is easy to set up and allows you to encrypt files with 128-bit AES encryption. By default, the drive is formatted with exFAT, which means it’s compatible with most devices. Note, though, that it comes with only a standard USB cable, so it’s not easy to connect to a phone.
Performance is in line with our expectations, and only slightly behind its competitors. In CrystalDiskMark’s sequential read test, it managed just shy of 400MB/s, and then roughly half that in the read test. Only Adata’s SE730 is significantly quicker at writing. The Extreme 500’s 4KB performance isn’t too bad either, writing at 3.7MB/s and reading at almost 20MB/s. Again, it was outperformed in the write test by the Adata, but that drive also costs a lot more per GB.
For those that need high-speed portable storage, the SanDisk Extreme 500 is a solid choice. Capacities extend to 480GB, which should be fine for most people. If you need more, look no further than the Samsung T3.