Plugable Portable Thunderbolt 3 1TB NVMe SSD Review

Plugable increases the top capacity of its popular portable SSD with its Thunderbolt 3 1TB NVMe model.

Published Wed, Nov 27 2019 1:14 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:57 PM CST
Rating: 89%Manufacturer: Plugable (TBT3-NVME1TB)
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A little under two years ago, we reviewed the first iteration of the Plugable Portable NVMe SSD. With the time that has passed since, SSD prices have come down considerably, allowing more vendors the opportunity to increase capacity options without the high price tags.

Plugable came onto the scene rather quickly with their Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD. It ended up being one of the quickest drives we tested in 2018, and they hope to keep that going for 2019 and beyond.

The enclosure has mostly stayed the same for the Plugable solution with a full aluminum design top to bottom and cooling built-in. The Thunderbolt 3 cable is captured into the device, and the new capacity options include 1TB and 2TB models. Marketing performance has stayed steady at 2400 MB/s read and 1800 MB/s write using a PCIe Gen3 x4 link over Thunderbolt 3.

Compatibility includes Windows 10 and macOS 10.14+, with the 1TB model carrying an MSRP of $299.99 and 2TB coming in at $499.99. Both models have a 3-year warranty.

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Among other things, the packaging has not changed either for the Plugable SSD. On the front, we have ample branding along with performance and compatibility listed along the bottom.

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The back goes into more detail with a full specification list.

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Unboxing, we have reading materials, the drive, and a velvet bag.

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As mentioned, the enclosure design hasn't changed, full aluminum body with cooling slots milled into the side. Thunderbolt 3 cable captured at the top and LED for activity just above the Thunderbolt logo.

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The backside offers model identification and QRCode.

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Factory formatting prefers exFAT for broader compatibility. Usable capacity is 953GB.

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To start testing, we used CDM and saw 2714 MB/s read and 1470 MB/s write. 4K performance at Q1 offers 46 MB/s read and 128 MB/s write.

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Over to Anvils, we see 4817 for the read score and 5285 for the write score. Overall, the Plugable comes in at 10102.

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For those that can use Thunderbolt 3, price/performance for the Plugable NVMe is rather good and beats out everything in our current chart, by a considerable margin.

Recycling the original enclosure, Plugable has maintained the same level of build quality as the first units launched a few years back. The all-aluminum design, while not certified, is ridged enough to handle drops and unforeseen accidents quite well. In my testing, I was able to observe the drive after falls from 5 and 10ft onto a hardwood floor with no noticeable damage.

Internally, the Plugable NVMe takes advantage of a Phison E12, allowing full throughput over Thunderbolt 3. In our testing, we were able to hit 2714 MB/s read and 1470 MB/s write, nearly spot on to the marketing claimed performance numbers. Price/Performance for those taking advantage of the TB3 interface is top-notch but does box you into a single interface as the Plugable does not support USB-C or USB-A ports.

Pricing for the Plugable NVMe in the 1TB capacity is spot on and comes in under the cost of the 480GB model when reviewed a few years back. For Thunderbolt 3 SSDs, the Plugable undercuts the comparable Samsung X5 by $100, making it a solid value option.

Tyler's Test System Specifications

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The Bottom Line

With solid pricing and top performance, the latest Plugable NVMe portable SSD solution is a contender for best portable drive of 2019!

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Plugable Thunderbolt 3 1TB NVMe SSD

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* Prices last scanned on 1/22/2021 at 8:28 am CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

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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