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OWC Envoy Pro Elektron SSD review: Small, rugged storage


It’s hard for anyone to get excited about physical storage. I mean, let’s be honest — external hard drives and solid state drives are a dime a dozen. There’s tons of options out there, and for the most part, you’re not going to find major differences between many of them.

That is, unless you take a look at the OWC Envoy Pro Elektron. This portable SSD offers storage in an ultra-compact footprint. And coupled with its speeds up to 1011MB/s, this drive not only provides a great option for anyone looking for on-the-go storage. It does so in an incredibly rugged footprint, all without costing an arm and a leg.

Note: OWC sent us the Envoy Pro Elektron to review and keep. However, all thoughts and opinions about this bag are our own. We have not been told what to say, nor have we been influenced in any way. We tell you this as we always want to be honest with you.

Pros

  • Very rugged design that has an aluminum exterior
  • IP67 rated, meaning it can withstand extreme weather
  • Crush and water resistant
  • Small and compact; perfect for travel

Cons

  • Read speeds are a bit slow compared to the competition
  • Only available up to 2TB in storage

Technical specifications — OWC Envoy Pro Elektron SSD

All of the technical specifications for the OWC Envoy Pro Elektron SSD are from the product listing on the B&H website:

  • Connection: 1x USB 3.2 / USB 3.1 Gen 2 (USB Type-C)
  • Form Factor: M.2
  • Power Source: USB Bus Power
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Noise Level: 0 dBA
  • Environmental Resistance: Crush, Water
  • Certifications: BSMI, CE, FCC, RCM, VCCI, as per Manufacturer
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Operating Temperature: 41 to 95°F / 5 to 35°C
  • Storage Temperature: -4 to 140°F / -20 to 60°C
  • Dimensions: 3.0 x 2.0 x 0.5″ / 7.6 x 5.2 x 1.2 cm
  • Weight: 3 oz / 85 g

Build quality — OWC Envoy Pro Elektron SSD

On paper, the OWC Envoy Pro Elektron is about what I expected in terms of tech specs. It offers decent speeds and a USB-C connection. It has a surprisingly small form factor. But the biggest surprise came with its exterior. This thing is rugged, able to withstand dust, water … you name it.

The compactness here is attractive, as it can easily be thrown into a small camera bag zipper, sling accessory slot or even your pocket.

The drive offers capacities at 240GB, 480GB, 1TB and 2TB. I was sent the 1TB version for review. Personally, I’d like to see a 4TB option offered here. OWC does have the Envoy Pro EX model which offers 4 and 8TB options, but it comes in much pricier ($264 for 1TB, compared to $169).

The Envoy Pro Elektron is really made for the on-the-go creator. Speeds won’t blow you away — coming in at a max of 1011MB/s — but it’s certainly suitable enough to be used as a travel or backup drive. I’ll be using it to offload images on-the-go from my iPad, in addition to making some of my favorites available for editing on-the-fly.

The drive does come with a USB-A adapter for users who haven’t been able to upgrade to a USB-C device yet. I would have liked to see this easily removable; I had to use scissors to take mine off.

Overall though, this is one of the nicer drives I’ve used. It’s got a premium build and isn’t very warm to the touch, which is a huge benefit over other SSDs I’ve tested.

First impressions — OWC Envoy Pro Elektron SSD

To match its premium build, OWC has put together a simple onboarding that helps you format your drive. This is a nice touch, as many manufacturers don’t seem to care about this step, which can force users to use system applications they might not understand. OWC makes it easy, and I appreciate that.

You’re able to quickly configure your drive in one of four ways:

  • Automatically for macOS 10.13 and later (creates a single AFPS volume)
  • Automatically for macOS (creates a single HFS+ volume)
  • Automatically for macOS and Windows (creates a single exFAT volume)
  • Manual configuration (offering options to create two volumes and other formatting)

Because I was planning to use the drive with my Mac Studio and iPad Pro, I went with the first option, which created a single AFPS volume that I could use with both devices. This option also allowed me to get the best speeds — especially with my iPad Pro — as older iPad Pro models can be riddled with slow USB-C transfers if formatted using more global options like exFAT.

The onboarding experience was definitely a nice change, and continued my thought as this SSD being a “premium” option for creatives.

Putting it to the test — OWC Envoy Pro Elektron SSD

When it came to running speed tests, I had an idea of what I would see. It’s nearly impossible to get the max speeds of any SSD connected to your computer, as there are other variables that can play into that. In my tests, I was able to achieve a write speed of around 914MB/s, with a read speed of 643MB/s.

No, that’s not the fastest drive around. OWC offers two Thunderbolt 3 drives that come in considerably faster, with the Envoy Pro FX and Envoy Pro SX. But those are also considerably more expensive, as well as being larger.

Compared to my SanDisk Extreme Portable SSDs, the Envoy Pro Elektron is about 80MB/s faster. However, the read speed on the Envoy Pro Elektron is about 70MB/s slower when compared to the SanDisk. Both drives offer suitable speeds, but the OWC offers a ruggedness that just puts it slightly ahead of SanDisk’s offerings in my book.



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Rafael Jones

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