Flash drives are all the same, right? And cheap too — hey, they give them out at trade shows and events like they were balloons these days. But the fact remains that for convenient and portable storage, you can not beat a solid-state flash drive. Of course that presupposes that the drive won’t have any failure issues because it’s been built to a high standard using top notch components. See the fallacy right there? That cheap flash drive can’t be counted on because it’s so inexpensive — even if it outwardly looks like it will do the job, there’s no guarantee for safety for your files, whether it’s for traveling, using it as a backup or for storage. That’s why you should turn away in disgust from such drives and embrace OWC’s Envoy Pro Mini Desktop Class SSD Drive
The Envoy Pro Mini isn’t teeny, in size or storage. There’s 128 GBs of solid-state built in (there’s also a 256 option), with all contained inside a metal shell who’s heft screams out that’s it is a desktop-class performer, not a geegaw given out indiscriminately. Of course it’s powered by the USB 3.0 drive, but when it’s inserted into a port it stands out, both due to its physical size but also it’s candy-bar design that catches the eye with an elegance that plastic drives just can’t match.
Now as a result of flash drives having become so mainstream, people tend to discount that the “guts” of drives aren’t all made the same. In the Envoy Pro Mini’s case, the aluminum body contains the same quality solid-state memory and controller electronics as found in OWC’s desktop-class SSD drives.
The simplest way to test the Envoy Pro Mini was to do a “real world” test — a comparison with a similar-sized drive. This drive, of plastic composition, was first inserted into a USB 2.0 port and a program run designed to measure file transfer status as it relates to video files being used for a video editing program. The results were as follows: a “write” of 10.4 MB/s and a read of 36. Putting the drive into a USB 3.0 port and repeating the process upped the results to 16.6 and 113.3 — so it’s easy to see that USB 3.0 is faster for “writing” and much, much faster for “reading.” Then the Envoy was inserted into the USB 3.0 port — the program now reported a “write” of 301.7, which is a huge increase, and a “read” of 333 which again is huge. So by definition this means that files used with the Envoy (in a USB 3.0 port of course) will take a lot less time to make their way through the drive.
But the most realistic way to test the drive is to just use it normally over time — which was done. The speed at which it performed became something to take for granted — it’s not that you “save” time but that you aren’t spending time waiting for transferring files or doing any of the things that one would do with a flash drive. Also the physical size keeps it from being ignored (and lost amidst the inevitable clutter on a desk). About the only negative encountered is that it heats up significantly during extended use — but this was found to be no different than any other 3.0 USB drive running (and metal will obviously take the heat better than the usual plastic comprising most flash drives nowadays). OWC also includes (on the drive, natch) two groups of programs — a set of shareware/freeware for Windows/Macs but also programs that normally would cost $$, being Backup programs (NovaBACKUP and Prosoft Engineering Data Backup 3 for Windows/Macs).
The Envoy Pro Mini Desktop Class SSD Drive costs $119.00 retail and may seem costly when compared to the vast majority of drives which are cheaper by a factor of as much as 5X. But to be fair — and realistic — if the files being transferred/used are of any importance, then the combination of storage space and physical construction ensures safety as well as a speedy process. That makes it a valuable addition to anyone’s computer system and usage workflow.