When we first clapped eyes on the Kingston HyperX Max 3.0, we mistook it for a business card holder. We've certainly seen sillier things adorned with company logos, but this is no mere device for storing professional details in an archaic way. Measuring in at 73.49x118.6x12mm, it's quite small and will easily slip into a pocket or bag. There's a single activity indicator light and a micro B male-type USB socket at the back of the drive. It feels solid in the hand and well-built, unlike many external drives that sport a distinctly cheap plastic feel. Then again, at the price point the Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 commands, "cheap" isn't a word that'll be used around it all that much. Aside from the drive, the only other accessory included with the Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 is a standard USB 3.0 micro B to A-type cable for connecting the drive to a compatible PC.
Underneath the funky aluminium casing of the Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 lies an SSD (solid-state drive; if that's got you scratching your head, this article should clear things up: Five reasons SSDs are great). The Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 is sold in three sizes: 64GB (AU$249), 128GB (AU$389) and 256GB (AU$819). We were supplied with the entry-level 64GB model for testing. The 3.0 in its name betrays its other key selling point: it's USB 3.0 compatible, and will even let you know if it's plugged into a USB 3.0 port or a USB 2.0 port by the colour in which the drive lights up. If it's lit up in blue, you're connected at full USB 3.0 speed; if it's green, you're toddling along with USB 2.0.
Kingston's product page for the HyperX Max 3.0 states that it offers read speeds of up to 195MBps and write speeds of up to 160MBps. Naturally enough, that's with USB 3.0; don't expect these kinds of speeds if you're plugging it into a USB 2.0 port. The short USB 3.0 cable is a minor annoyance, as most of the systems (including our test rig) with USB 3.0 will be desktops with an additional USB 3.0 card at the rear of the drive rather than front-mounted ports, making the drive itself a little tricky to plug in.
One thing you won't get with the Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 is any additional software for backup duties. Some folks will see this as a blessing, but we'd rather have it, and format it away, than be left without — especially at this price point.
In order to get the most out of the HyperX Max 3.0, you'll need a system with USB 3.0 capabilities, either by adding a card to a desktop machine or by utilising one of the relatively few notebook systems that come with USB 3.0 pre-installed. For the purposes of this review, we used a Gigabyte GA-USB 3.0 card, which was supplied to us by Kingston for testing the HyperX Max 3.0 drive.