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Peripherals

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is a pocket storage powerhouse

SanDisk's speedy new rugged SSD is water-resistant and comes in capacities up to 2TB.

The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD starts at $105 for the 250GB version.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sarah Tew, CNET's photographer here in New York, shoots tons of products for me. But rarely have I seen her as excited about a product as San Disk's new Extreme Portable SSD.

That's because the 38.9-gram Extreme Portable SSD is designed for photographers looking to back up and move around large numbers of image and video files quickly. Pocket-sized and rugged (with an IP55 rating, it can withstand a rain shower) it delivers transfers of up to 550 megabytes per second and comes in capacities up to 2 terabytes. That's the model Sarah was shooting -- and she wanted it.

Its list price: $650 (£600). Yes, tiny, high-capacity portable SSDs don't come cheap. The 250GB version is $105; the 500GB costs $160; and the 1TB is $315 (£100, £145 and £300 respectively). The sweet spot for many people will be the 500GB, which seems like the best value. No Australian pricing is available at this time but I'll add it as soon as I get it (for comparison, £600 is about AU$1,075).

To give you an idea of the difference in speed between this and a non-SSD drive, I transferred a 2.56GB video file stored on a 12-inch MacBook to a Western Digital My Passport drive with a USB-C adapter. It took around 25 seconds. Transferring the same 2.56GB file to the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD took 5 seconds. (The drive comes with a USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB-A adapter.)

SanDisk is now owned by Western Digital, which makes a mini SSD of its own: the WD My Passport SSD. Online the prices for the two drives are similar. At the time of this writing, the 1TB SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD costs $310 on Amazon while the 1TB WD My Passport SSD costs $314.  Another competitor, the Samsung T5 SSD, costs $310 for the 1TB version. All of them feature password options to protect file access.

You get a USB-C cable along with a USB-C to USB-A adapter.

Sarah Tew/CNET

In other words, there isn't much difference between these portable SSDs. They're all highly compact and deliver excellent transfer speeds. The SanDisk just gives you that extra bit of ruggedness.

It should hold up well over time, if you don't manage to lose it first. With that fear in mind, I do like that it has a hole that lets you attach the Extreme Portable SSD to your bag with the carabiner. Alas, no carabiner is included in the box. But if you can afford this drive, you can afford a $3 carabiner. 

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