The OWC Envoy Pro Elektron is a small, very portable external solid-state drive with an attractive design (starts at $99.99 for 240GB; $399.99 for 2TB as tested). It’s also one of the most durable general-purpose drives we’ve seen, able to endure being submerged in water or being exposed to a sandy or dusty environment. It performed admirably in performance tests, as is usual with USB 3.2 Gen 2 SSDs. The Envoy Pro Elektron is expensive, and the warranty could be longer, but it’s money well spent if you abuse your gear more than it should be.
OWC ENVOY PRO ELEKTRON SPECS
|Internal or External||external|
|Interface (Computer Side)||USB-C|
|Internal Form Factor||M.2 Type-2280|
|Capacity (Tested)||2 TB|
|Rated Maximum Sequential Read||1011 MBps|
|Rated Maximum Sequential Write||1011 MBps|
|Warranty Length||3 years|
Elegant and ingenious design
The Elektron is small and light, measuring 0.5 by 3 by 2 inches (HWD) and weighing 3 ounces, but it feels quite sturdy. It’s not nearly as small and light as two Editors’ Choice award winners: the Kingston XS2000, which measures 0.5 by 2.7 by 1.3 inches (HWD) and weighs less than an ounce, and the ADATA SE800, which measures 0.5 by 2.7 by 1.3 inches (HWD) and weighs scarcely a (0.4 by 2.8 by 1.7 inches, 1.4 ounces). The frame is matte silver in color and features rounded corners. The top is longer and wider than the bottom and features the OWC Elektron name and logo. Three of the edges are beveled inward halfway down to the base, which includes a narrow rubber traction strip on both ends.
A status LED, a thin stripe that illuminates blue when the drive is attached and pulses while a data transfer or other operation is in progress, is located on one of the Elektron’s short sides. The USB Type-C port on the other short side is labeled “USB 3.2 10Gb/s” and conveniently identifiable as supporting USB 3.2 Gen 2. The OWC Aura P13 Pro is a small (Type-2242, 42mm long) M.2 NVMe solid-state drive that uses an ASMedia ASM2362 bridge chip to connect to the USB interface. To receive the speed benefit of this USB flavor, you’ll need a compatible PC. If your computer doesn’t have a USB-C connection, the Elektron comes with a two-foot USB-C cable with a removable USB Type-C-to-A adapter for the computer end.
The Elektron is preformatted with the exFAT file system, making it compatible with Windows, macOS, and Android PCs right out of the box. The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD is even more Mac-friendly, having HFS+ (also known as macOS Extended or Journaled) as one of two formats for Time Machine backups (the other being APFS). However, because Windows cannot read HFS+ and it can be difficult to reformat if you don’t have a Mac, exFAT is a preferable option unless you plan to use the drive exclusively with a Mac.
Built to Survive the Weather
The robust Elektron has an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of IP67, which means it’s dustproof and waterproof for up to 30 minutes at a depth of three feet. This matches the SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD’s IP rating. Only the ADATA SE800, a consumer-level SSD we evaluated, has a higher (IP68) rating since it is somewhat more watertight.
As of this writing, the costs for the various capacities of the Elektron remain the same whether purchased through Amazon or directly from OWC. The Elektron matches the SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD’s 23 cents per gigabyte in the 1TB size, but is somewhat more expensive than the SanDisk’s 18 cents per gigabyte in the 2TB capacity. The ADATA SE800 has a maximum capacity of 1TB, with a retail price of 26 cents per gigabyte (although it is sometimes discounted to half that price). The 1TB SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2 is priced at 25 cents per gigabyte, while the 2TB version is priced at 23 cents per gigabyte.
The Elektron comes with a three-year warranty from OWC. This equals the three years provided by the ADATA SE800 and the Samsung Portable SSD T7, but falls short of the five years provided by the two SanDisk SSDs, the WD My Passport SSD 2020 edition, and many other drives.
No Surprises in Testing the OWC Elektron
PC Labs’ main storage testbed, which is based on an Asus Prime X299 Deluxe motherboard with an Intel Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition CPU, is used to test external SSDs. The system features 16GB of 3,600MHz DDR4 Corsair Dominator RAM and an Nvidia GeForce discrete graphics card.
OWC Envoy Pro Elektron Configurations
|Capacity||MSRP||Cost per Gigabyte||Max. Throughput (Read/Write)|
|240GB||$99.99||42 cents||1,011MBps / 1,011MBps|
|480GB||$149.99||31 cents||1,011MBps / 1,011MBps|
|1TB||$229.99||23 cents||1,011MBps / 1,011MBps|
|2TB||$399.99||20 cents||1,011MBps / 1,011MBps|
Crystal DiskMark 6.0, PCMark 10 Storage, BlackMagic’s Disk Speed Test, and our own folder transfer test were used to put the Elektron through its paces. The first two are performed on a PC with an NTFS drive, while the later two are performed on a 2016 MacBook Pro with exFAT. The sequential speed tests in Crystal DiskMark simulate best-case, straight-line transfers of big data, providing a standard measure of drive throughput. The PCMark 10 Storage test assesses an SSD’s suitability for a variety of common workloads.
The Elektron’s sequential read and write scores, as tested by Crystal DiskMark, fall just short of its advertised speeds and are typical of USB 3.2 Gen 2 external drives, which often fall within a tight range of 1,000MBps for both read and write. The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2 had the highest read and write scores in this test, but the difference between its and the OWC‘s scores is negligible when compared to any USB 3.2 Gen 2 drive and any SATA drive—with read and write speeds of 500MBps or less—or any USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 drive, with read and write speeds of 2,000MBps. A quick peek at our Crystal DiskMark table should reveal which bus each driver is on. In fact, the ADATA SE800’s abnormally low write score was the sole oddity among the USB 3.2 Gen 2 drives in our test group. (Thankfully, it had a saving grace in the form of its extraordinary endurance and robustness, which helped it receive Editors’ Choice honors.)
The BlackMagic read and write tests were in a similar predicament (although since our Mac testbed only supports USB 3.2 Gen 2, all the scores except for the SATA-based HP P500 are clustered a bit below 1,000MBps). The Envoy Pro Elektron’s BlackMagic scores were slightly lower than its Crystal DiskMark findings, as is common of USB 3.2 Gen 2 SSDs.
The Elektron’s total PCMark 10 score is low, falling behind six of our nine comparison drives, which include both USB 3.2 Gen 2 and Gen 2×2 devices. (The other comparison drives in this review’s charts were tested with an older version of PCMark 10 and aren’t included in this chart since the findings are incompatible.) Nonetheless, it scored within normal limits.
In our stopwatch transfer test, it scored two seconds, which is average; all of our comparison drives, except the HP P500, scored within a second of it.
Compare with similar items
|OWC Envoy Pro Elektron||SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD||SanDisk Professional 2TB G-DRIVE SSD||SanDisk 1TB Extreme PRO Portable SSD||SAMSUNG T7 Portable SSD 500GB||OWC 0GB Envoy Pro Ex|
|Customer Rating||4.9 out of 5||4.7 out of 5||4.6 out of 5||4.8 out of 5||4.8 out of 5||4.2 out of 5|
|Hard Disk Size||240.00 GB||1.0 TB||2.0 TB||1.0 TB||—||—|
|Hardware Interface||Solid State Drive, USB Type C, Thunderbolt||USB Type C||USB 3.2 Gen 2||USB Type C||Solid State Drive||USB|
|Item Dimensions||2.17 x 5.12 x 3.54 inches||0.38 x 2.07 x 3.97 inches||3.74 x 1.97 x 0.59 inches||0.41 x 2.28 x 4.36 inches||3.3 x 2.2 x 0.3 inches||1.97 x 5.91 x 3.94 inches|
An SSD for Nature Lovers
The OWC Envoy Pro Elektron has a lot to offer, including easy portability and a metal frame that protects against water, dust, and sand. During our testing, it performed admirably. We wish it came with a five-year warranty like the SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD and some of its competitors, but even without it, it’s a stylish and compact drive that’s an excellent pick, especially for folks whose profession or lifestyle requires them to be outside frequently.