Transcend ESD220C 120GB Portable SSD Review

The ESD220C portable SSD drive from Transcend arrives in the lab. Let's see what it can do.

Published Wed, Jul 19 2017 11:20 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST
Rating: 85%Manufacturer: Transcend
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Most of the products we have reviewed over the years from Transcend have been portable hard drives and SD cards. While those are still very much a part of Transcends portfolio, they are branching out to portable SSDs with devices like the small form factor ESD220C.

With the current wave of SSDs following a custom small form factor design, Transcend has followed suit with a device at 77x55mm. This solution weighs in at 52g offering USB-C connectivity. Not to worry for those of you that haven't upgraded to the latest connector as Transcend supplies in the box a Type-C to C Cable with this solution. Capacity options range from the 120GB model I have next to me all the way up to 240 and 480GB.

Compatibility includes Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms, with an MSRP of $69.99 for the 120GB model, $129.99 for the 240GB, and $224.99 for the 480GB. Warranty is listed at three years across all capacities.

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Packaging across most of Transcends portable drive lineup looks the same; we have the red on white box design with the model number and capacity along the bottom.

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On the backside, we have a full specifications list and package contents listed to the left.

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The scope of delivery gives us a few pamphlets to browse through, warranty card, user manual, and, of course, the Type-C to C Cable.

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The drive itself has an almost stealth look to it. The branding sits back in the center of the drive with a knurled feel to the enclosure.

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On the end, you will find the USB-C connection electrically USB 3.1 Gen 1 and the one touch backup button to the right.

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Internally, the ESD220C is a custom designed PCB. We have an SM2258 controller paired with SanDisk TLC NAND. Towards the connector, we have the ASMedia USB 3.0 controller and USB-C switch in front of that. Way to the back, we have DRAM that appears to be from Samsung.

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On the working side of things, this device is formatted with the exFAT file system. It gives you about 111GB of space once formatted.

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Benchmarks start with CDM. 438 read and 401 write at QD32 and 405 MB/s read and 351 MB/s write QD1. 4K wasn't bad either reaching 40 MB/s QD1 and 164 MB/s QD32.

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My second staple is FBM; here we see 420 MB/s read from 16M to 4M than a gradual slide down. Write performance starts near 400 MB/s holding through 4M as well.

The portable SSD market is really booming. In the last six months, we have had six new drives hit the lab with the Transcend making it seven. Out of those only a few are custom designs like the ESD220C. Custom designs allow the vendor to pack everything in the tighter making for a lighter more portable and sometimes an even more durable solution for the end-user.

The ESD220C has most of those features with the inherent nature of NAND flash giving it shock protection. The plastics aren't the greatest as far as feel is concerned but do seem very rigid. I think the finish of the drive could be much better but overall it does incorporate some great features such as the one touch backup using the included Transcend Elite software.

Performance stuck us with a 410MB/s read that we aimed to achieve. In my testing that was quite easy considering and I was able to reach 440 MB/s read with ease. Write performance topped 375 MB/s in FBM and CDM showed similar peaking at 351 MB/s.

The ESD220C hit all the marks for me; it is very compact, offers both Type-C and C connectivity with the included cable and has several capacity options. I do think to Transcend should increase capacity upwards of 1 or 2TB but as of this time they are focused on the core consumer wanting a slight bit more than a flash drive can offer at a solid price point, and that is what the ESD220C does.

Tyler's Test System Specifications


The Bottom Line: Taking all the many factors into account, the ESD220C offers a solid option for consumers wanting more than a flash drive at a solid price point.

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Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

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