by Alexandra Haskell

Brinell Drive SSD Review

Brinell left no corner unexplored when designing the flawless appearance of the Brinell Drive portable SSD. This drive is for the mainstream consumer who prefers the luxury appeal, as much as performance, of this portable storage device. The Cadillac of SSDs (or perhaps Mercedes), this drive’s attention to detail is unrivaled in the industry. The German company is known for it’s personal selection of high-end materials and award winning design.

Preformatted for Windows and Mac, the Brinell Drive SSD claims read and write speeds of up to 420MB/s and 300MB/s respectively (using UAS-mode). Brinell has embedded the Samsung 840 Evo SSD inside, a low cost alternative that packs plenty of punch, especially when it comes to the sequential workloads most portable drives face. 

Offering 28 different capacity/material/color combinations on the Brinell website, street pricing for the Brinell Drive SSD ranges from roughly $215 to $1,353 (converted from Euro). The 500GB capacity goes for $489.62 on Amazon at the time of this review. Our review unit is the 250GB engineered black carbon version.

Specifications

  • Capacities
    • 120GB
    • 250GB
    • 500GB
    • 1000GB
  • Form Factor: 2.5"
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 115 x 86 x 9mm
  • Weight: 120g (4.23oz)
  • Serial Interface: SuperSpeed USB 3.0, compatible with USB 2.0
  • File Transfer: up to 420MB/s read, 300MB/s write
  • Extras: comes with USB 3.0 cable, manual, protective leather pouch, cleaning cloth and a software package
  • Warranty: 2 years

Design and Build

This is arguably the best portable drive design we’ve seen on the market. While many of the Mac-focused portable drives in full aluminum body are lovely, the inlays Brinell offers are unique and expertly crafted. Brinell provides a choice between three hand-selected materials: an elegant Makassar wood, stainless steal with carbon fiber design or brushed metal, or the inviting Nappa leather in 3 colors. Our unit, the stainless steal version with black carbon fiber detail, gives the distinct impression of edginess and durability. This drive looks and feels as good as it performs.

From the side-view, you’ll notice the USB port centered in the middle of the long side of the drive which we haven’t seen anyone do yet, normally the port is located on one of the narrow sides. The rest of the sides are entirely bare. The top of the drive of course features the carbon inlay with subtle Brinell branding, the bottom has the inlay with no markings. 

Beyond the product, the packaging is clean and minimalist. Included in the box is a Brinell branded USB cable, a protective leather pouch, and a jewelry grade cleaning cloth.

Performance

For our first test, we took measurements on a current generation MacBook Air connected over USB 3.0. The Brinell Drive SSD gave read/write speeds of 432.8MB/s and 233.5MB/s: an impressive performance, outpacing Brinell's quoted 420MB/s read speed.

Running on a Windows 7 desktop, the Brinell Drive SSD clocked in at 262.6MB/s read and 272.4MB/s write speed for sequential performance. Random performance showed 255.7MB/s read and 264.4MB/s write. Turning to 4K random IOPS, the drive posted 6400IOPS read and 11,000IOPS write. With the Windows platform there are a number of reasons that performance could have dipped. Ultimately the drive will perform very well so long as the USB interface doesn't get hung up with any systematic issues as we may have seen. 

Conclusion

The Brinell Drive SSD is for the design-centric consumer who places as much value on styling as performance. The avant-garde style of this drive is some of the best quality we have seen in a portable SSD, rivaling typical industry leaders who leverage the all-aluminum body. There's certainly no mistaking these drives out in the wild as truly unique, something that's difficult in tech products like this. While we only had hands on time with the carbon fiber design, it's easy to assume any of their other designs are just as nice. 

Our testing of the Brinell Drive SSD revealed mixed performance. On the Mac side, the drive posted numbers a little better than quoted, on the Windows 7 side, they were lower. There are a lot of reasons that could be and we're guessing most buyers will be Mac-centric anyway. Either way, it is a capable drive with considerable performance and durability.

Pros

  • Flawless design
  • Hand-selected materials, excellent construction
  • Quality Samsung Evo inside

Cons

  • Carries premium price tag

Bottom Line

The Brinell Drive SSD is a portable storage solution with industry-leading design for users seeking a unique high-end appearance blended with performance and rugged reliability.

Brinell SSD Drive at Amazon

Brinell Product Page

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