by Adam Armstrong

SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1 Flash Drive Review (256GB)

Earlier this year SanDisk launched yet another massive portable flash drive with the SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1. The latest version comes with capacities as high as 256GB (there is also a 128GB version available). The drive has also made a major leap in potential performance, this time with quoted speeds of 420MB/s read and 380MB/s write in a small package with retractable USB port.

The new Extreme Pro is ideal for professionals or enthusiasts that need to transfer large files and take them on the go, and files seem to be getting larger and larger. The drive is quick too, it can transfer a full-length 4K in under 15 seconds. It also has an aluminum case to help protect it from bumps and bangs along the way. For further data protection, the drive comes with 128-bit AES encrypted SanDisk SecureAccess software and RescuePRO Deluxe to recover any loss files.

The SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1 Flash Drive comes with a limited lifetime warranty and is available now for $130 for the 256GB and $75 for the 128GB model.

SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1 specifications:

  • Capacity: 256GB, 128GB
  • Performance
    • Read Speed: up to 420MB/s
    • Write Speed: up to 380MB/s
  • Dimensions: 11.0 x 21.0 x 71.0 mm (0.45 x 0.84 x 2.79 in)
  • Temperature
    • Operating: 32° - 95° F (0° - 35°C)
    • Storage: 14° - 158° F (-10°C - 70°C)
  • Compatibility: USB 3.1 Gen 1 (backward compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0)

Build and Design

Aside from the color scheme, the new Pro looks pretty much the same as the last version. The drive has a dark aluminum casing. The SanDisk logo is branded just below the USB connector along the black strip that goes through the middle of the stick.

The connector can be extended and retracted with a switch on the middle of the drive just like its predecessor. The bottom of the device contains information such as name and capacity.

Performance

For performance we ran IOMeter on our HP Z2 Mini workstation as well as BlackMagic on a previous generation MacBook Pro For this review we will be comparing the SanDisk Extreme PRO 3.1 to the following drives:

The Mac-specific BlackMagic disk speed test is used to see how well drives are able to handle high-quality video. Here we compared the new Extreme PRO to the portable SSD, SanDisk Extreme 510, as they flash drive claims SSD speeds. The thumb drive was able to hit 340.7MB/s write and 376.8MB/s read. Not as good as the 510 (408MB/s write and 430.8MB/s read) but impressive nonetheless for a thumb drive compared to a full-fledged SSD.

With IOMeter, we start with our 2MB read/write benchmarks. For sequential speeds the new Extreme PRO was able to hit 353.7MB/s write and 415.4MB/s read. This was substantial improvement over the previous Extreme PRO (211MB/s write and 229MB/s read) and it beat out the 510 (159MB/s write and 322MB/s read). For 2MB random the new Extreme PRO hit 187.19MB/s write and 321.92MB/s read. Again the thumb drive beat our both the 510 (159MB/s write and 270MB/s read) and the previous version (66.4MB/s write and 229MB/s read).

Conclusion

SanDisk has another winner with the Extreme Pro flash drive; this time they have upped the maximum capacity to whopping 256GB. The performance has also been increased to a quoted 420MB/s read and 380MB/s write. The drive has an aluminum case for physical protection as well as SecureAccess and RescurePRO Deluxe software to protect users’ data. It remains as a leader in design in this category with the sturdy case design and retractable USB port that clicks reassuringly into place.

Looking at performance, the SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1 delivers on its promise of higher speeds. As it makes performance claims close to SSDs we compared it to the SanDisk Extreme 510 portable SSD. In BlackMagic the thumb drive was beat out by the portable SSD, 340.7MB/s write and 376.8MB/s read compared to 408MB/s write and 430.8MB/s read. In our IOMeter the new thumb drive performed far better than its predecessor as well as the Extreme 510. The new SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1 was able to hit 353.7MB/s write and 415.4MB/s read in 2MB sequential and 187.19MB/s write and 321.92MB/s read in 2MB random. Overall a very impressive performance profile in a category that's filled with less impressive technology.

The Bottom Line

The SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1 provides fast performance and high capacity in an easy to use and very well constructed portable form factor. 

SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1 Flash Drive on Amazon

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