Update: We are are now tracking a new all-time low on the OWC Envoy Pro Mini USB-C + USB-A 10Gb/s Portable SSD flash drive with the 1TB variant now at $149 shipped – the 500GB model is still at $99. Regularly $179 and $109, these prices are the lowest we have tracked.
After launching a few months back, we’ve now had a chance to get a closer look at OWC’s new Envoy Pro mini SSD. Delivering one of the more compact and high-performance models on the market, we couldn’t wait to get our hands-on the new Envoy. The brand has been well-known for creating some of the more notable storage devices out there for a while now, and the machined aluminum housing as well as the overall attention to aesthetic details on its latest miniature flash drive-sized solid-state immediately caught our eye. Head below for our hands-on Tested with 9to5Toys review for more details on the user experience.
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Hands-on with the OWC Envoy Pro mini SSD
The OWC Envoy Pro mini SSD launched back in May as one of the more compact solid state-based storage devices. Coming in at 0.4 by 3.1 by 0.7 inches, it’s not much larger (if at all) than most flash drives out there. It houses the “same top-tier componentry and advanced flash technology found in” the brand’s desktop SSDs to deliver a “full-fledged high-performance SSD” small enough to wear around your neck with the included lanyard strap or even to slide on a keychain.
You’re looking at a thumb drive-sized and bus-powered mini SSD with both USB-A and Thunderbolt (USB-C) connectors. The up to 946MB/s drive is wrapped in a machined aluminum housing that looks about as good as it can dissipate heat during longer transfers and sessions that require live streaming assets.
Use case scenarios here are many and varied from your typical photo, video, and music storage to Time Machine or File History backups, streaming sample libraries for your DAW, and creating a secondary/portable OS boot drive. It can even be used for creating a portable Steam game library or expanding your console game storage space.
Here’s a closer look at the spec sheet:
- USB 3.2 Gen 2-ready
- USB or Thunderbolt (USB-C) ports on Macs, PCs, iPads, Chromebooks, Android tablets, and Surface devices
- Apple Time Machine and Windows File History ready
- Game storage with PlayStation and Xbox consoles
- Bootable: Startup and launch apps in just seconds
- Heat-dissipating machined aluminum housing
- Included safety breakaway neck lanyard
- 3 Year OWC Limited Warranty
Aside from the particularly compact size here, the build quality is quite impressive for me. It boasts a solid, slightly textural machined aluminum shell that, as we mentioned above, also doubles as a heatsink of sorts. It carries a slightly beveled edge all the way around the outer exterior with a combination of sharp lines and smoother rounded edges throughout the case design making for a look and feel that I can certainly appreciate.
The USB-A connector is tucked away inside the unit itself until you slide and flip it out to expose it – it pivots around that rounded sort of lug you see above nestled into the expansion rail. The sides of this flip-out shell feature a sort of alternative texture from the rest of the unit that both looks fantastic and adds some extra grip to the experience. It should also be noted that the round lug features a subtle centrifugal beveling as well – another particularly nice touch for my eyes. Once the USB-A connector is exposed, a small plastic end nub slides nicely into place to protect the internal port the connector was once holstered in.
On the other end of the mini SSD you’ll find the USB-C connector. It is snugly capped with the same aluminum found throughout the rest of the body alongside single piece of molded rubber surrounding the connector, spanning across the strap that connects to the lid cap, and covering the holster the USB-C connector is housed in when not in use. While you’re certainly not going to want to put any excessive or undue stress on this rubber strap, it does feel quite robust especially because it extends all the way around the connector and connector housing, as opposed to just simply connecting the cap to the body.
Here’s a quick look at some speed benchmarks on Mac and PC:
The OWC Envoy Pro mini SSD is easily one of the nicest models in its price range I have had the pleasure of reviewing. There are more affordable USB 3.2 Gen 2 flash drives that can achieve these sorts of speeds, like the Kingston DataTraveler Max lineup, but you’re certainly not getting the gorgeous metal housing and Kingston will make you buy an entirely separate unit to score both USB-A and USB-C connectivity, for example. In the end, the OWC Envoy Pro mini SSD is one of the best portable flash drives out there if you’re looking for some serious transfer speeds, a solid build quality, and versatile application, never mind the fact that it also looks about as good on your keychain (or elsewhere) as it performs.
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