VisionTek 128GB USB 3.0 Portable SSD Review

On the test bench today we have the VisionTek 128GB USB 3.0 Portable SSD.

Why use a device like the VisionTek 128GB USB 3.0 Portable SSD when there are popular services such as Google Drive and Dropbox out there? Well, if you ask us, speed and convenience are the first things to come to mind. The ability to safely and securely move large files without having to rely on access to the internet is a huge benefit over popular cloud based storage options.
Speed is another factor that weighs heavily on the decision to use a portable SSD over cloud based storage options. This drive features sequential read / write performance rated at 450MB /150MB per second. Compare that to the average internet speed in the United States (if and when internet access is available), and the advantage is clear. I know what you are thinking. Why not just use a flash drive? While traditional flash drives offer large capacities in a small form factor, once again, speed is the deciding factor here. VisionTek claims sequential read / write speeds of 450MB /150MB per second respectively, far above that of a traditional flash drive. This means that you will spend less time on waiting for files to transfer and more time looking at photos, watching movies, and listening to music. Okay then, what about an external SSD? That brings up the issue of size which, despite what some may say, does matter. We believe that, when given the option, most people would opt to have all the speed and storage capacity of an external solid state drive without all the bulk that comes with it. And that’s just what the VisionTek 128GB USB 3.0 portable SSD brings to the table. At less than a quarter of the size of a traditional external SSD, this drive is truly the definition of "portable." Finally, that brings us to cost. Flash drives are less expensive but offer far less performance. Some external SSDs offer slightly better performance but at a much higher price point. Cloud storage plans run anywhere from $1.99 per month for Google Drive (100GB), to $3.99 per month for iCloud and Dropbox (200GB). The downsides with most popular cloud storage services is that they charge you a monthly / annual fee, regardless whether or not you use the service and, making matters worse, your personal data is now subject to the terms and service agreement of your cloud storage service provider. For those reasons, it is easy to see why we feel a storage device like the VisionTek USB 3.0 portable SSD is a great choice compared to flash drives, external SSDs and cloud storage offerings. Now that you know the “why,” let’s take a look at the drive itself shall we?

As you can see from the pictures, this drive features a very sleek and stylish design. We feel this drive will have a broad appeal to PC enthusiast and gamers as well as the average consumer. The case itself has a gloss black powder coated finish and is constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum that protects the drive from damage and accidental drops. Another cool feature is that you can store the rubber cap for the USB connector on the opposite end of the drive.

On the inside of the drive, you will notice that, unlike a standard thumb drive, there are two separate PCB’s, one for the SSD hardware of the device and one for the USB 3.0 bridge and the USB connector. This design explains how the VisionTek USB 3.0 portable SSD is so much faster than a USB 3.0 flash drive because, to put it simply, this is a compact SSD inside a flash drive sized package. VisionTek employs the use thermal compound to transfer heat from the memory chips to the aluminum case (removed for photos).

Thanks to USB Attached SCSI Protocol, this drive is capable of reaching speeds closer to the theoretical maximum throughput of the USB bus, in part because commands no longer have to wait in a single queue. Before USASP, drives based on the USB Bulk-Only Transport method consisted of command / wait / response / I/O / wait / status / response. UASP separates commands, status, input, and output into four separate I/O lanes. If that explanation is too technical, think of it like this; a grocery store with four checkout lanes can move groceries (data) four times faster than a single checkout lane. What does that mean in terms of performance? We are glad you asked. To start things off, let’s take a look at the advertised 450MB /150MB per second sequential read and write speeds. To verify that claim, we fired up ATTO Disk Benchmark, an industry standard when it comes to testing disk read/write speeds.
As you can see from the test results, the VisionTek USB 3.0 portable SSD offered better than advertised write speeds and read speeds that consistently meet or exceed 450MB per second. To make sure these results were accurate, we also ran the latest version of the AS SSD benchmark, only to be met with the same results.

Using the latest version of CrystalDiskMark, we retested the VisionTek USB 3.0 portable SSD against a handful of drives including a Corsair Force Series LS 120GB SATA 3 internal SSD, Corsair's Survivor 128GB USB 3.0 flash drive and a PNY USB 2.0 flash drive.

First up, the VisionTek USB 3.0 portable SSD performed very well. Once again this test demonstrates the product's rock solid performance and consistency.
We then tested the Corsair Force Series LS 120GB SATA 3 internal SSD to give you an idea how well this USB solid state drive stacks up against an internal SATA 3 SSD.
As you can see, read speeds of the VisionTek drive are right up there with an internal SSD.
Even though Corsair's Survivor is one of the toughest USB 3.0 flash drives out there, it's performance is tripled by that of the VisionTek drive.
Finally, just to demonstrate the extreme difference between an inexpensive USB 2.0 flash drive and the VisionTek drive for the "why would anyone need all that speed" crowd, we threw a 128GB PNY thumb drive in the mix. The results weren't pretty to say the least. The VisionTek USB 3.0 portable SSD is compatible with Windows XP and higher, Mac OS X 10.4 and higher, Linux, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles. We streamed a high definition digital version of The Fate of the Furious without any issues.

So there you have it, the VisionTek USB 3.0 portable SSD offers you far better performance than a flash drive, a much smaller form factor than an external SSD and the ability to safely and securely move large files without having to rely on internet access. How can you beat that? The answer? You can't. We think this drive is perfect for anyone in need of Ultrabook storage expansion, Xbox One or PS4 storage, system back-ups and portable storage for HD movies, music and photos. The VisionTek 128GB USB 3.0 Portable SSD is available from Amazon for $57.95 with free shipping!.