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CalDigit Tuff 2TB USB 3.1 Type-C External HDD Review

CalDigit Tuff 2TB USB 3.1 Type-C External HDD Review

CalDigit's Tuff 2TB USB 3.1 Type-C external HDD deserves your attention for it looks, performance, and durability. It's definitely one to consider.

By: Tyler Bernath from Jul 17, 2016 @ 11:20 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: CalDigit

While there are many 2.5-inch external solutions on the market, not all are created equal. CalDigit, while mostly known for their high-performance desktop solutions, also explores the depths of designing and building some of the toughest drives. The latest incarnation is dubbed the Tuff and is a direct competitor to devices such as the Rugged from LaCie and G-Drive eV ATC from G-Technology.

The Tuff is an IP57 certified solution meaning it is dust protected and can be immersed in water at a depth of 1M for thirty minutes. Additionally, this is only the second device, next to the SanDisk Extreme 900 that has come through with the Gen 2 USB-C connection. This gives this solution and more importantly the SSD model greater throughput for increased productivity. At this time, CalDigit is shipping only 2TB HDD models but does have plans to launch a 1TB SSD solution in the coming month. There are five color choices; Blue, Green, Orange, Grey, and Black.

Compatibility includes Windows 7+ and OS X 10.8.4+ support. The MSRP of the 2TB CalDigit Tuff comes in at $179.99 with a two-year warranty.


Packaging for the Tuff carries an image of the drive in the center with plenty of marketing info below. Capacity is at the top right.


On the edge of the box, we have a quick specification list that gives dimensions along with supported platforms.


As with many CalDigit solutions, the Tuff comes with an archive box.


The scope of delivery includes both a male to male USB-C cable along with a Type-A to Type-C cable.


On the edge of the protective rubber, we find a CalDigit logo while the enclosure itself uses a heat sink fin design.


Pulling the rubber cover off, we can get a better look at the USB C port.


To get an idea of what drive was used inside, I loaded up CDI. As you can see, it's an ST2000LM003 HDD from Seagate.


Moving over to testing, I ran this drive through a number of times and came up with 141.1 MB/s read and 141.5 MB/s write, making it the quickest 2.5-inch external hard drive I have tested.


Price/Performance landed the Tuff right in the middle of the pack at 87.71%.

From the moment you have the CalDigit Tuff in your hands, you can tell it's strong - and with it being IP57 certified, you should have no issues with dirt, dust or water. As a matter of fact, I have a few ideas spinning around in my head as I write this on how I can test the durability of the drive. Many of these ideas go well beyond what a typical user would do to a drive like this through its lifetime, but if I can get everything cleared up, I may be shooting some video soon or perhaps do it live via Facebook.

Performance, as I briefly mentioned above, is the best I have seen for a 2.5-inch external HDD in the four years I have been writing for TweakTown. I reached a stable 141 MB/s read and write in testing and while I didn't make up a chart for it, this drive tested at 134 MB/read and 128 MB/s write on OS X 10.11.5 as well.

Overall, the Tuff is the perfect drive for holding backups or even media you want to take with you on your travels.

Tyler's Test System Specifications

TweakTown award
Quality including Design and Build95%
General Features95%
Bundle and Packaging92%
Value for Money90%
Overall TweakTown Rating93%

The Bottom Line: CalDigit has a sure winner with the Tuff. This solution is not only IP57 certified for dust and water, but it also carries aesthetics through the use of colored rubber surround and performance I have yet to see from a HDD-based external solution.

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