Portable SSDs are rather plentiful in the market with many vendors taking part, but the cost of these solutions hasn't reflected the near 0.50 cent per GB the market has been at for a while now.
We last looked at portable solutions from ADATA at the beginning of the year with the HD720, and with their last portable SSD way back in 2013. However, ADATA has recently launched three new portable SSDs, and since we had them all in house, a roll of the dice has us starting off the with the SE730.
The 730, if you remember, was a drive we previewed way back in June of 2015, well before USB 3.1 became mainstream. Now with the retail version hitting the shelves, it's time to see if the performance has changed because the exterior design certainly has. Coming from the white and silver aesthetic of the preview, the retail version of the SE730 features a gold exterior with black endcaps and is IP68 certified. Using a Gen 2 USB-C interface, the SE730 is capable of 500 MB/s read and write based on marketing and comes in a single 250GB capacity.
Compatibility is pretty broad with this solution with Windows XP through 10 support along with OS X 10.6, Linux 2.6+, and Android 5.0 support. The MSRP of the 250GB ADATA SE730 portable SSD comes in at $139.99 with a three-year warranty.
Packaging is simple for the SE730. A centered window gives a look at the drive while capacity and model are in the bottom right.
The back side provides specifications of the drive along with compatible operating systems.
Delivery included a Type-C to C cable and reading materials.
The body of the drive is aluminum possibly powder coated gold with subtle branding on the top. The ends are a nylon type material complete with rubber gaskets to seal against water and dust.
On the end of the USB-C connection, you can see they have doubled up the plastic seal with an inner that houses the connector and an outer that houses the gasket.
To start testing of performance, I started with three runs of the flash benchmark. Peak write performance came in at 460 MB/s with read around 368 MB/s.
Moving to CDM, performance was a bit different with read topping out at 378 MB/s and write at 432 MB/s at QD32 while standard sequential showed 411 MB/s read and 455 MB/s write.
Above, I took a snap to see if this is a ground up purpose built solution or if they used an mSATA SSD with a bridge. It appears ADATA has designed the SE730 to be its own device from the start with firmware version 6.0SE on our unit.
I was able to use the SE730 for a few days moving data from the desktop to laptop a number of times, and I was actually quite pleased with the performance. On top of this, I even took it to the field with me one day full of MP3s to play while working and came away happy that even all the bouncing around in a dust filled cab I had no issues with the drive. One thing I didn't get a chance to do was a water test, but I do have some ideas for future drives that are certified.
Moving on, performance wasn't completely as expected. I thought we would see more performance on the read side of the drive where I peaked at 411 MB/s in CDM as opposed to write performance that topped 458 MB/s. When looking at the CDI for the SE730, we did find it is a custom design PCB for this solution, but it does appear to use a SATA interface.
Overall, it's a hard sell for the ADATA SE730 with just one capacity option. The Samsung T3 in the same 250GB capacity is selling for $35 USD cheaper at several online retailers, but with that, ADATA has expanded the warranty of this device to three years, and coupling that with its IP68 certification, there is certainly some comfort there for potential buyers.
UPDATE: ADATA alerted us that the SE730 250GB is now selling for $120 on Amazon, now just $9 more expensive than the Samsung T3 250GB.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Z170 Premium - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i5 6500 - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Noctua NH-U12S - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: Klevv CRAS 16GB (4x4) DDR4 3000 - Read our review
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS Storage: Intel 730 480GB SSD - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Secondary Storage: Intel 750 400GB U.2 SSD - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: Thermaltake P5 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200 - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 - Buy from Amazon
|Quality including Design and Build||90%|
|Bundle and Packaging||85%|
|Value for Money||88%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||88%|
The Bottom Line: ADATA's SE730 external drive is one of the most compact portable SSDs on the market yet retains durability with its IP68 certification.
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