When it comes to portable storage drives, most of us will probably think of portable hard disk drives (HDD). After all, they are inexpensive, and they offer a lot of storage capacity for the money. But if you want something that is far more durable and compact, consider the new Crucial X8 Portable SSD.
I’ve spent a brief time with a retail unit of the Crucial X8 at Micron Insight 2019, and it’s really quite an impressive portable drive. The best part is, it’s not as costly as you might have thought either.
What surprised me the most about the Crucial X8 when I first held it in hands is its sheer portability; official images of the drive really don’t do it justice. In fact, it’s compact enough to slip into my jeans pocket with absolutely no trouble. Try doing that with a portable HDD.
On top of that, the Crucial X8 has solid build quality as well. The unibody core itself is made out of anodised aluminium, which feels robust and really nice to the touch. It’s worth noting that the aluminium chassis also lets this portable SSD dissipate heat more efficiently in order to maximise performance.
Aside from that, either ends of the X8 have rubberised textures in order to improve grip. Did we mention that it can also survive drops up to 7.5 feet? Granted, that’s only on carpeted floors. Drops onto hard surfaces, on the other hand, is limited to 3 feet.
This being an SSD, the Crucial X8 has blazing fast sequential read speeds of up to 1,050MBps. This level of performance should be more than good enough for consumers, especially for those who plan to use it with gaming consoles like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One to store their games.
That’s right, the X8 is compatible with a wide range of devices. Besides the aforementioned gaming consoles, this portable SSD also works with a Windows PC, macOS, Chromebook, Android, and even the 2018 iPad Pro with USB-C. The X8 can be connected to these devices either via USB-C or USB-A; an adapter is provided with the portable drive.
Of course, the Crucial X8 does have some shortcomings. For one, it uses QLC NAND with a dynamic SLC cache, so the transfer speed will drop dramatically once the cache is filled up. While this isn’t great, it will only happen if you’re transferring bigger file sizes. The threshold is about 90GB for the 500GB model, or 180GB for the 1TB drive.
The Crucial X8 Portable SSD is available in two capacities: 500GB and 1TB. The former retails at $120 (about RM500) while the much more generous 1TB variant goes for $190 (approximately RM795). Not surprisingly, the 1TB model offers much better value for money, and the X8 comes with a three-year limited warranty to boot.
These prices are definitely a lot steeper than what you’d have to pay for a portable HDD, but to certain consumers, it’s worth the extra penny. Not only does the X8 offer much faster transfer speeds, it’s also a lot more durable than spinning drives, given that it doesn’t have any moving parts. Plus, it’s packaged in a sleek, compact form factor too.
Unfortunately, Malaysian availability of the Crucial X8 still remains to be seen. But given that some Micron products are available in our market – which include Crucial SSD storage and Ballistix RAM sticks – it wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that the X8 will eventually arrive here. Hopefully, it will still carry a competitive price tag on our shores.