As the cost of food, gas, energy, housing, and pretty much everything else has skyrocketed, it becomes extra noticeable when something goes in the other direction. And if you haven’t looked lately, you may have missed that some external data storage devices have been dropping in price. Costco has been offering a Seagate 2TB portable hard drive for $65, for instance. And I’m sure it works fine. But if you need something of this capacity – and are willing to spend $269 – I came across a really great product.
The OWC 2TB Envoy Pro Elektron USB-C is billed as “the fastest, toughest mini-sized USB-C bus powered SSD in the universe”. And you know what? I believe it. First of all, it weighs just 3 ounces. Secondly, it’s tiny. It has a smaller length (3”) and width (2”) than a credit card, with maybe five times the thickness. Third of all, it’s lightning fast – as in uploading files to it nearly instantaneously. The company says that if you’re using the included USB 3.2 Gen 2 plus cable, you’ll get up to 10 Gb/s (or 1250 MB/s) speed. And as an added bonus, it comes armed with security encryption software that makes it difficult to break into.
Now the thing is, the security software only works if you’re using a Windows or Mac machine. I don’t. To get the drive compatible with my Chromebook, I connected the drive to a borrowed Mac and essentially reformatted the drive into two 1TB partitions. Then I simply plugged it into my Chromebook and it worked instantly. I could just leave it perpetually attached and let it act as a 2TB external hard drive. Think about what it can hold at that capacity: 400,000 photos; 500,000 standard quality or 76,000 high-quality songs, 400 HD movies, 83 hours of GoPro footage, 8.6 million documents, or roughly 50 PS4/Xbox games – according to the company. As much data as I’ve accumulated over the years, I’m sure I will never fill it up.
So far, I’ve just been backing up home videos onto it. A lot of them. In fact, I’ve been digitizing all of our 100+ home movies from DVDs and uploading them onto YouTube – didn’t even know I could do that until I randomly tried it a few weeks ago. Then I simply store a copy of them in MP4 format on the OWC drive for easy backup. I’ve been able to shred dozens of DVDs that were starting to go bad, and replace them collectively with this tiny SSD. Best of all, our family has been able to relive many moments from the past two decades, during the process. It’s given us a lot of happiness.
OWC officials claim you can also plug and play the unit with Thunderbolt and USB Macs or PCs, as well as an iPad Pro or Android device. And the silent, cool running, aircraft-grade aluminum housing can apparently handle dirty and wet environments. Plus it’s crushproof and can be rolled over multiple times by a car without damage. I can’t speak to competing products, but I can definitely say this one is everything it promises to be.