I have to admit – perhaps I was a bit too harsh in a review I wrote three years ago. I gave only three stars to the product that I am writing about with delight today.
The Lexar SL200I was writing then,The product is ok and that’s it. Compared to almost everything else on the market, it lacks a clear advantage and its premium prices don’t help it at all.”
Well, fast forward almost three years and the price of the 2TB version of the SL200 has been reduced by a staggering 70% since it launched in June 2021, almost a year after my review. That alone means I should probably review the drive again and add at least one star to the review.
At $89.99, it’s currently the cheapest 2TB portable SSD anywhere. This is still much more than a standard portable hard drive of similar capacity, but let’s not forget why an external SSD is a better long-term storage solution for data, files and folders.
✅ Faster It’s one of the slowest external SSDs we’ve ever tested, but it’s still 3x faster than most portable hard drives.
✅ Works with smartphones A little-advertised feature is that most newer portable SSDs come with a native Type-C connector that can be plugged into any recent smartphone and used as storage for a portable device.
✅ More durable Because there are no moving parts, the SL200 is slightly more durable than any consumer external hard drive. It should survive a few feet drop onto a hard surface unscathed.
✅ Smaller The SL200 is smaller than any 2.5-inch hard drive we’ve seen, and therefore smaller than any portable hard drive. For once, you can easily slip it into the back pocket of your jeans.
✅3 years warranty Lexar offers a three-year warranty on its SSD, which is three times that of Seagate and WD for portable hard drives. Again, this is due to the fact that mechanical parts fail more often than electronics.
Is a portable hard drive slower than an external SSD?
Yes. I can’t think of any scenario where that wouldn’t be the case, and for the record, we’re talking about portable hard drives (the ones you can carry around, the smaller cousins of desktop drives or external hard drives). Hard drives are slower because they are mechanical; data is stored on physical platters and accessed via a head placed on the arm; similar to a turntable reading vinyl.
The average external hard drive like Seagate Backup Plus has a bandwidth of 140 MB/s, which means it can transfer data at that speed. The slowest external SSDs we tested would hit around 450MB/s (and that’s the SL200), which is about 3X the speed.
So a folder that takes about three minutes to transfer to a portable hard drive will take less than a minute on all but the slowest portable SSDs.
Can the internal SSD be used as a portable SSD?
The answer is – not surprisingly – yes. See that an internal SSD is just a few pieces in a case (plastic or metal), an enclosure that actually protects the electronics inside. So securing it with an external case is redundant unless you want to physically hide the drive for whatever reason or want it to look more aesthetically pleasing.
Just remember that they are no match for the best secure drives or the best rugged drives because they lack the extra protection that will prevent third parties from accessing the actual NAND chips or make them more resistant to harsh conditions.
SATA SSDs are the cheapest solid state drives, so if you want the cheapest external SSD, all you need to do is take an internal SATA SSD and plug it into an external connector such as Sabrent EC-SSHD ready! Even factoring in the cost of the latter (around $12), you’re looking at a saving of almost 20% at the time of writing. Every little help.
Note that you cannot do this with an internal PCIe NVMe SSD as its components are actually exposed. To be able to use it, you must place the module in the outer housing. They are not that expensive (around twice as expensive as EC-SSHD) and have the advantage of using USB 3.2 Gen 2 which provides speeds of up to 10Gbps, enough for a PCIe SSD which is typically faster than a SATA SSD .