Transcend SSD18M (128GB) review: Transcend SSD18M (128GB)

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.3
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 9.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Small footprint; lightweight; fast transfer speeds; eSATA and USB 2.0 connectivity.

The Bad Expensive; traditional external hard drives offer four times the storage space for 13 times less; proprietary cord required for eSATA connection.

The Bottom Line Although the Transcend SSD18M solid-state drive is astronomically expensive, the price is balanced with its tiny footprint and impressive transfer speeds. It's easy to geek out on the beauty of the design, and even though hardcore nerds will love its versatility, the simple fact is that bargain-hunting consumers can get much higher capacities for a lot less, at least for now.

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The Transcend SSD18M is an external storage device that uses a solid-state hard drive with no moving parts to keep data. The Intel X-25M internal drive came through the CNET labs last October and proved the benefits of SSD--faster access and boot times--but the Transcend SSD18M adds the extra bonus of portability. Our main gripe with the Intel was definitely the price, and while the 128GB Transcend sets you back $440, we think it's worth it for the small footprint, eSata/USB combo, and improved transfer speed.

Design and features
The design of Transcend's SSD18M is so subtle and unassuming that others will likely have no idea what it is. The black plastic is finished with a glossy diamond pattern with a tiny Transcend logo in the corner. The entire device, including the eSATA and USB port on the side, is a tiny 80-millimeters long by 12.5-millimeters wide by 50-millimeters tall, and weighs just 50 grams--a benefit to SSDs that lack spinning plates and other moving parts that add significant bulk to hard-disk drives. Instead, SSDs like the SSD18M save data to more reliable NAND flash memory that also provides faster throughput and power consumption. Transcend offers the 1.8-inch SSD18M drive in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities.

Drive type External USB flash hard drive
Connector options USB 2.0, eSATA
Available capacities 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Product Dimensions (LWH) 80mm x 12.5mm x 50mm
Capacity of test unit 128GB
OSes supported Windows XP/Vista and Mac OS X
Software included None

In addition to its light weight, the Transcend SSD18M is also durable; it recently achieved the U.S. Military's top drop-test standard, withstanding rigorous direct impact and fall tests. Even though we don't advocate the abuse of any device, you shouldn't worry about the dangers of throwing the drive into your bag with keys and other stuff rolling around inside. You can cover the larger eSATA port with a rubber foot to prevent dust and grime from entering, but the USB port remains exposed.

One drawback to the design of the drive is that the eSATA port isn't self-powered like the USB 2.0 port. To transfer data through eSATA, you have to use the proprietary cord that comes with it that features an additional USB prong on both ends to ensure adequate power to the drive. It's a bit of a hassle to use and you have to order a replacement off the Transcend Web site if you happen to lose it.

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Where to Buy

Transcend SSD18M (128GB)

Part Number: TS128GSSD18SM

MSRP: $525.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Form Factor 1.8" x 1/6H
  • Capacity 128 GB
  • Hard Drive Type external hard drive
  • Interface Type Hi-Speed USB / eSATA