At a glanceExpert’s Rating
ProsFits in a shirt pocketFast 20Gbps USB performanceGood lookingShock-reducing silicone jacketConsUSB cover isn’t captiveOur Verdict
The LaCie Rugged Mini SSD offers good performance plus style to spare. There’s also a software bundle, a longer than average warranty, as well as free data recovery should you need it.
LaCie has vended some of the most stylish external storage on the market. The Rugged Mini SSD reviewed here follows suit with a Neil Poulton designed shock-absorbing sleeve that’s the larger part of a distinctive, attractive look. The Rugged Mini is fast, fits in your pocket, and looks good doing it!
Further reading: See our roundup of the best portable SSDs to learn about competing products.
Design & Features
The LaCie Rugged Mini SSD is a 20Gbps USB external SSD sporting a Type-C connector, so it’s compatible with all Windows and Mac computer, and most other devices. The internals are NVMe, and no doubt Seagate, as that’s the parent company to LaCie.
The drive measures just over 4-inches long, by 2.61-inches wide, by 0.675-inches thick with its bright orange, shock-absorbing cover on, and 3.7-inches long, by 2.32-inches wide, by a hair under 0.5-inches thick without it. The weight is 3.6 ounces (cover on).
As for the sleeve/cover, SSDs are already extremely rugged in terms of g-forces, so the jacket isn’t as beneficial a feature as it might be on a hard drive. In other words, it’s primarily for looks. As for that…
You probably won’t want to remove the sleeve, since without it, the drive is a rather bland silver rectangle with putty-colored end caps and a large sticker denoting its place of manufacture and assembly (Taiwan and Thailand). In other words, not so attractive.
LaCie Rugged Mini SSD
Jon L. Jacobi
Which brings me to my only complaint — the cover for the Type-C port isn’t captive. Unless you’re more consistent than I am with where you place things, this is a sure recipe for losing said cap.
There’s no IP (Ingress Protection, aka weatherproofing) rating claim so that’s not an issue. Also, we’ve also seen a number of uncovered Type-C ports on IP-rated Bluetooth speakers, so the cover might not be needed. Regardless, if a plug is included, it should be captive.
The LaCie Rugged Mini SSD carries a three-year limited warranty, but LaCie didn’t say what the limits were. Severe physical damage no doubt and probably excessive amounts of data written to the drive, though the company didn’t provide any TBW (terabytes that may be written) ratings.
The backup page in the LaCie software.
What LaCie does provide is useful software (backup and security) and a free recovery service should you need it (heaven forbid!). Beyond that, the company also touts construction that uses at least 30 percent recycled materials. Every little bit helps!
The Rugged Mini is the third-fastest 20Gbps SSD we’ve tested, right behind the amazing USB4 OWC 1M2 and the Crucial X10. It placed 5th overall among external SSDs when you factor in the Thunderbolt 3 Sandisk Pro-G40 and OWC Envoy Pro FX.
The CrystalDiskMark 8 sequential tests shown bear out its placement in the upper echelon.
The Rugged Mini’s sequential test scores were quite good, if not quite up to the OWC 1M2’s.
CrystalDiskMark 8 also showed the Rugged Mini’s random performance to be quite good — depending on the test.
Overall, these CrystalDiskMark 8 4K results from the Rugged Mini are very good.
The Rugged Mini fell a bit off the pace in our 48GB copies. This is not a bad time, as you can see from the Samsung T9, but it’s not a great time like that delivered by the OWC 1M2.
We wouldn’t call the Rugged Mini slothful in our 48GB transfers, but we were slightly disappointed it took the drive so long to write the folder of smaller files.
The Rugged Mini redeemed itself with an outstanding 450GB write time. It did eventually run out of steam (aka secondary cache) at which point the write speed dropped to around 200MBps. Not fantastic, though few people will ever write a terabyte of solid data in one sitting.
The Rugged Mini delivered an outstanding performance in the 450GB write. But it will eventually slow to 200MBps if you throw another 450GB at it. So do most drives.
While not the fastest of the fast, the Rugged Mini can at least claim a seat at the table. Subjectively, you’ll no doubt find it quite speedy.
Price & Availability
The Rugged Mini SSD retails for £69.99/$80 for the 500GB capacity, £109.99/$120 for the 1TB, £179.99/$190 for 2TB, and £329.99/$350 for the 4TB model. That’s fairly reasonable given the nice styling and the cost of NVMe SSDs these days.
We can only find it at Amazon at the time of writing but expect wider availability soon.
Should you buy the LaCie Rugged Mini SSD?
The Rugged Mini SSD should absolutely be on your short list of small USB SSDs. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s among the best, and hey… it’s orange!
This review originally appeared on PCWorld.