Ample low-cost flash that outpaces demand brings more than just cheap SSDs. Companies have used these periods to explore other avenues to sell flash and one of the most popular has been portable SSDs.
With so much flash available for new device categories, we get companies building different designs for specialized purposes. Some portable drives meet demands for ruggedness while others look pretty or take the shape of other objects that are not even PC related.
The Silicon Power Bolt B80 we have under the spotlight today takes the shape of a UFO while combining high style with rugged features. The B80 looks nice enough to set on your desk fulltime, is small enough to fit in your pocket, and strong enough to take on location or the road while you travel. It's also water and dusk proof with a proven IP68 rating (dust and waterproof beyond splash).
Silicon Power released the Bolt B80 in three capacities, 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB. The series features a USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface even though the maximum performance only reaches the upper limits of USB 3.1 Gen 1. The company claims the same level of performance for all three sizes, 500 MB/s sequential read and 450 MB/s sequential write speeds.
As we mentioned, the drive looks a bit like a silver UFO. It's made of aluminum and measures 75mm, or just under three inches. The edges are sloped, so don't use it as a coaster.
- Unique shape and sophisticated design
- Robust aluminum casing for high durability
- Extremely compact and lightweight for easy transport and storage
- Indicator LED
- Uses the new USB Type-C connector
- USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface for ultra-fast data transfer with up to 500 MB/s read and 450 MB/s write
- IP68 dust-and waterproof
- Smoothly textured Type-A to Type-C premium nylon braided cable with SR(Strain Relief)-enforced connections
- Free download of SP Widget software for data backup & restore, AES 256-bit encryption, and cloud storage
If the rubber door is in the closed position, the B80 is IP68 rated for water submersion. This is the strongest rating IP rating code for these products. We often see portable SSDs rated for IP65. The first number is for particle resistance and the six means Dust Light, or resistant to fine particles. The second number relates to water. IP65 products are splash resistant, but you can't drop them in water for a split second or even spray them. The 5 in the second number means light splashes, more like something that may fall out of your mouth when brushing your teeth. There really isn't a specific instance in the ratings, so I'm just making up my own here.
That changes when you move to the IP68. With this rating, it is clear - you can soak the sucker! The exact terminology is "Protected Against Continuous Immersion In Water."
Pricing, Warranty, And Endurance
Pricing the Silicon Power Bolt B80 portable SSD has been difficult. The 240GB model was on Amazon in the US and selling for $104.99. The 120BG and 480GB were never on Amazon or Newegg even though we suspect both would be competitive in the market.
Silicon Power covers this series with a three-year warranty and doesn't seem to limit it through a specific endurance rating.
A Closer Look
The Bolt B80 takes the award for the most difficult portable SSD to take pictures of against a white background.
The drive itself uses a USB Type-C connector, but the only cable supplied forces a USB Type-A to your host device. We often see companies ship drives with two cables or an adapter for Type-C to Type-A on the host side.
The drive is right around 11mm thick in the middle and 75mm around. It's small enough to fit in your pocket or purse without taking up a lot of room. A rubber ring on the bottom keeps the drive from slipping on your desk or airline tray, a nice touch for travelers.
With the rubber door closed, the drive is virtually impervious to liquids, and that includes submersion. You can drop it in, but I wouldn't make it a habit. It's a nice feature that you never want to use.
PRICING: You can find the product discussed for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
United States: The Silicon Power Bolt B80 Portable SSD - Subtle Style retails for $XXX at Amazon.
United Kingdom: The Silicon Power Bolt B80 Portable SSD - Subtle Style retails for £ at Amazon UK.