LaCie Rugged SSDs are Impressively Small and Fast


LaCie turns 30 this year, and I want to celebrate the company’s newest arrivals: the Rugged SSD and Rugged SSD Pro. These join a now 15-year legacy of bright orange drives that are “as tough as a basketball” and are my new favorite portable hard drives. Tiny, tough, and fast, the Rugged SSD drives are the perfect mobile drive for photographers and videographers who want to take off on nearly any adventure without worrying about whether their data will be safe.

Over the last six months, I have worked to pare down my everyday carry kit (EDC). If you follow that link, you’ll notice that I already have a LaCie Rugged RAID Pro drive in my bag. It’s still great. However, my new bag is much smaller, so I have been looking for a lightweight drive to replace it for EDC. That is why the new Rugged SSDs are perfect. They are ultra-tiny—I would describe them as a slim deck of cards—and don’t make any sacrifices when it comes to performance. Arguably, they perform better than any of my older drives.

The drives fit easily in the palm of your hand.

This performance is granted by the use of Seagate FireCuda NVMe M.2 SSDs and the latest interfaces. The standard orange Rugged SSD uses a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C connection while the Rugged SSD Pro has the even better Thunderbolt™ 3 which have transfer speeds of up to 950 MB/s and 2800 MB/s, respectively. These are box speeds, so I don’t want to promise anyone that they will hit these numbers, but the true measurements are nearly as impressive.

My testing got me read speeds of more than 935 MB/s on the standard Rugged SSD and above 2250 MB/s with the Pro and its Thunderbolt™ 3 connection. As the intended audience is video editors and DITs working on the go, these speeds should be plenty to keep your NLE from buffering or stuttering. As for writing, these speeds were very surprising. The standard Rugged SSD managed to match its read speeds, hitting the same 935 MB/s. The Thunderbolt™ 3-equipped Pro was a little slower than its read speed at a still astounding 1800 MB/s.

Disk speeds were tested using Blackmagic Design’s Disk Speed Test software. On the left you will see the standard Rugged SSD and on the right is the Rugged SSD Pro.

One thing that will probably go underappreciated is that the Rugged SSD Pro has a controller than can interface with either Thunderbolt™ 3 or USB devices. Speeds won’t be the same, but the fact that the drive will work with nearly all your devices is a huge plus. Today that means a lot more with the rise of tablets alongside laptops. Sometimes I will have my laptop on me for serious editing, and I can benefit from the faster speed. Other days, however, I will only have an iPad on me, and the latest with USB-C ports will allow me to access the files I need.

The drives are nearly identical, with the sole difference being the choice of interface. On the left is the USB-C Rugged SSD and on the right is the Thunderbolt™ 3 Rugged SSD Pro.

Don’t forget that the bright orange colorway signifies a rugged drive. Both models are IP67 rated—a solid spec for a portable drive. This means it is dust resistant, can withstand a drop from 9.8', will handle being run over by a two-ton car, and can even survive 30 minutes of submersion in 3.3' of water. Even the worst accidents won’t put a dent in your data. It’s hard for me to test all these drives to the limit, but it most certainly survived the usual drops from a desk onto a carpeted floor, as well as a sample drop from a backpack onto concrete. I don’t think I’ve ever been as confident in the ruggedness of a drive as I am with these.

LaCie’s classic rubber bumper helps a lot with absorbing impacts. It will scuff up relatively easily if you drop it one too many times. This is more true with the Pro model and its black finish. Also, if you are particular about color, note that the standard Rugged SSD is only available in orange, while the Pro’s finish is black. Both look smart, and it is all about performance, anyway. At least Pros can be happy with black to go with all their other black accessories.

Now, as much as I would love to keep on talking about these tiny tough drives, I can only write so much about something that is, at its most basic, just a storage device. Be sure to check back on B&H Explora for more of Adventure Week—and don't forget to follow B&H on Twitter @BHPhotoVideo for up-to-the-minute #adventureweek news.

If you have any questions or want to share your own LaCie Rugged stories, please do so in the Comments section, below.