When the Going Gets Tough. We Review the Exascend Explorer Portable Solid State Drive


The model identify Exascend is synonymous with high-quality merchandise. So, will their award-winning Explorer SSD, designed for difficult environments, dwell as much as its identify? When the going will get powerful, will the powerful get going?

There’s a lesson I’ve discovered the laborious method over my a few years within the images world, and that’s high quality merchandise are definitely worth the funding. A short time in the past, I reviewed the Exascend Catalyst SDXC playing cards and was very impressed. Consequently, I now have their 2 TB 20 Gbps Explorer Portable Solid State Drive (PSSD). I’ve been placing it by its paces.

The Exascend Explorer PSSD received the Pink Dot Design Award 2023 and never with out good purpose: the design is great.

It arrived neatly packaged in a cardboard field, that had a sturdy, lidded plastic tray inside. I’m not a fan of plastic in packaging, however this tray is strong sufficient to retailer the machine in, so there isn’t a want to instantly discard it.

The SSD definitely seems nice. It has a modern, trendy design with a end that oozes high quality. Do seems matter? I consider so. Firstly, I consider all artists ought to encompass themselves with issues that encourage them. Moreover, you recognize that if a producer has put effort into the ending of a product, then it’s prone to be well-made in its entirety. Take Rolls Royce, Apple, and Rolex as examples to show my level.

This can be a moveable solid-state drive made for excessive circumstances. So, eradicating it from the packaging, it felt reassuringly strong.

The drive itself is surprisingly small, smaller than different exterior SSDs I personal, in regards to the measurement of a small smartphone. The case of the drive housing is strong aluminum. It’s mounted inside a silicone rubber sheath that protects its corners. The highest of the case is ridged and has the Exascend emblem at one finish that lights with blue LEDs when it’s linked. The underside is easy, which makes it doable to stay a label.

It measures roughly 4.3” x 2.46” x 0.6” (110 mm x 62.6 mm x 1.55 mm), and with the provided USB cable, weighs 7.83 oz (222 g).

It’s constructed to be powerful sufficient to face up to most issues that adventurers can throw it at. When you learn my articles earlier than, you’ll in all probability know that one of many causes I’m enthusiastic in regards to the digital camera system I take advantage of is its distinctive and industry-leading IP53 climate sealing. Just like the OM-1, the Exascend Explorer is weather-sealed, Nonetheless, it’s to a fair greater degree. After I began scripting this, it met the IP67 normal.

IP means Ingress Safety. The “6” in that IP code is the best doable rating, that means it will possibly completely shield from mud, whereas the “7” signifies that it’s protected in opposition to the consequences of non permanent immersion in water between 15 cm and 1 m for half-hour. So, this IP67 score signifies that this may stand the hardest circumstances that photographers and filmmakers are prone to expose it to.

Nonetheless, simply earlier than sending this text for publication, it was introduced that the water immersion take a look at had been upgraded to IPX8. An IPX8 machine could be repeatedly immersed in 3 meters of water for as much as half-hour. When you drop it in a river and retrieve it, the chances are that it’ll proceed working.

The safety doesn’t simply apply to the case. Internally, there isconformal coating. That may be a water and particle-resistant layer utilized to the printed circuit board and all embedded parts. It protects the whole Exascend Explorer SSD in opposition to environmental injury.

The Explorer PSSD has an working temperature vary of -10–70 °C and a storage temperature vary of -40–85 °C; it will possibly survive in far higher extremes than most of us will ever face.

It will possibly additionally take 50 g of shock and has a writing capability of 12,000 terabytes written (TBW). TBW tells you what number of terabytes you may write to the drive over its guarantee interval earlier than its reminiscence cells begin to degrade; 12,000 terabytes is lots and way over I’ll ever use.

It’s provided with a 20 Gb USB-C to USB-C, and that cable has an built-in USB-3 adaptor. That is nice information as a result of many individuals who use exterior laborious drives as of late achieve this to hook up with laptops which have minimal inner storage, one thing I discover an pointless annoyance, as reminiscence could be made bodily small. With the USB-C connection, it claims a whizzing 20 Gb/sec switch velocity. With USB-3, the switch charges are nonetheless greater than respectable. See the take a look at outcomes under.

Just like the SDXC playing cards I examined, the Explorer comes with a really beneficiant five-year assure. It additionally has Exascend’s industry-leading manufacturing unit knowledge restoration, which suggests which you could relaxation simple that your knowledge is in protected arms. Ought to issues go improper, then Exascend will get well it for you.

There are 1 TB, 2 TB, 4 TB, and eight TB capability choices of this drive.

Different attention-grabbing, superior options embody RAID ECC, which is Exascend’s expertise that mixes the facility of RAID with NAND flash block granularity. In brief, this enables the storage machine to rebuild even after struggling severely corrupted knowledge.

SuperCruise™ is one other Exascend expertise that optimizes write efficiency for stability. They declare unbeatable steady write efficiency even within the highest demanding purposes.

Placing the Exascend Explorer Via Its Paces

I really like a problem, and I wished to know that the drive would stand as much as intensive environmental assessments.

I by chance dropped it from my kitchen desk onto my very unforgiving quarry-tiled kitchen flooring. I then purposefully ran it below sizzling working water for 2 minutes. Days later, it nonetheless works, and there’s no signal of injury.

Pace Efficiency Checks

Exascend quotes a most learn and write velocity of two,000 Mb/s (20 Gbps) utilizing a USB-C connection.

I transferred a big folder of images from my laptop utilizing USB-3, and it maintained a gentle 270 MB/S. That’s greater than 3 times sooner than my Seagate USB-3 backup HDD, and a 3rd sooner than one other solid-state drive I recovered from my outdated laptop and mounted in an exterior case.

Sadly, I don’t have a USB-C drive on my laptop to check the desktop velocity. Nonetheless, when connecting it to a laptop computer with USB-C, file transfers have been instantaneous. The laptop computer didn’t have sufficient inner laborious disk to switch something for lengthy sufficient to measure the velocity.

In fact, the switch charge will fluctuate from laptop to laptop relying upon the chipset, inner laborious drive, RAID mode, host controller, RAM, and drivers so, fortunately, there are applications that try this for us.

Listed below are the efficiency measurements offered by Exascend that they carried out on the 4 TB model.

They first examined utilizing a desktop with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps enlargement card

We examined the theoretical efficiency of the Explorer PSSD on this desktop laptop with a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 interface. On CrystalDiskMark, we achieved a wonderful results of writing 2,101 MB/s sequentially and studying 2,036 MB/s sequentially.

On HDTune and AIDA64 DiskBenchmark, the previous achieved a steady learn/write velocity of about 100 GB, whereas the latter achieved a median write velocity of 1,905.6 MB/s.

We selected the M1 Max model of Mac Studio with three ports: USB-A 5 Gbps, USB-C10 Gbps, and suitable USB-C 10 Gbps Thunderbolt 4. (There isn’t any good USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 resolution on Apple merchandise). We examined the efficiency of the EXFAT file format on totally different interfaces (USB-C 10 Gbps obtained by the thunderbolt interface dock), and the conclusion is that plugging the laborious drive into the thunderbolt dock first is really useful.

What I Appreciated and What Could be Improved With the Exascend Explorer PSSD


  • The Explorer’s strong construct makes it appropriate for all environments a photographer, videographer, or cinematographer is prone to throw at it.
  • It’s compact, really easy to journey with.
  • It’s lightning quick.
  • The USB cable matches the standard of the drive.
  • The design is nice.
  • The exterior packaging is recyclable.
  • It has a five-year guarantee.
  • It’s made in Taiwan, which has the perfect human rights file in Asia.
  • The corporate has pleasant, useful workers.


  • It was a bit fiddly inserting the integral protecting silicone USB socket cowl when the cable is eliminated.
  • The interior packaging is plastic, however that is strong and price preserving for storing the drive.
  • It’s expensive in comparison with another drives. Nonetheless, you get what you pay for, and you might be paying for excellent construct high quality, velocity, reliability, and longevity.

My Conclusions Concerning the Exascend Explorer

I’ve received some touring deliberate sooner or later, and I will likely be roughing it. That is going to be the proper instrument for backing up my images whereas I’m away and with out an web connection. Sufficiently small to slide right into a pocket, it’s good for being deep within the rainforest, up mountains, on Arctic expeditions, and within the desert.

It’s value noting that Exascend additionally produces one other portable SSD called Gecko. It’s a equally strong product with a 1,700 Mbps switch velocity that may be fitted to a digital camera’s hotshoe.

However the Explorer Portable Solid State Drive is one other Exascend product I can extremely advocate. When the going will get powerful, this powerful little drive will get going and leaves the competitors behind.

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