Home Consumer OWC Envoy Pro Elektron 1TB Review

OWC Envoy Pro Elektron 1TB Review

by Vince Carnevale

The OWC Envoy Pro Elektron is a small, portable NVMe SSD that is bus powered and leverages USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb/s). It also boasts being crushproof and dustproof and is IP67 rated, which means it can be submerged for up to 30 minutes in 1 meter (3.3 feet) of water. Overall the drive does exactly what you’d expect, but there are small details that really make it stand out versus its competition, like the SanDisk Extreme Portable V2 SSD. Whether or not that makes up for its price difference, well, I’ll discuss that further. I’ll be looking at the 1TB variant, though it is available in a variety of capacities. It’s the little sibling to the OWC Envoy Pro FX, which leverages Thunderbolt 3 to break the 10Gb/s limit of USB 3.2 Gen 2.

The OWC Envoy Pro Elektron is a small, portable NVMe SSD that is bus powered and leverages USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb/s). It also boasts being crushproof and dustproof and is IP67 rated, which means it can be submerged for up to 30 minutes in 1 meter (3.3 feet) of water. Overall the drive does exactly what you’d expect, but there are small details that really make it stand out versus its competition, like the SanDisk Extreme Portable V2 SSD. Whether or not that makes up for its price difference, well, I’ll discuss that further. I’ll be looking at the 1TB variant, though it is available in a variety of capacities. It’s the little sibling to the OWC Envoy Pro FX, which leverages Thunderbolt 3 to break the 10Gb/s limit of USB 3.2 Gen 2.

OWC Envoy Pro Elektron

OWC Envoy Pro Elektron Specifications 

Available Capacities 240GB, 480GB, 1TB, 2TB
Bootable Mac only
Internal Interface NVMe M.2
External Interface USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb/s, USB-C)
Ingress Protection IP67 (Dust-proof, Waterproof for up to 30 [email protected])
Dimensions (L x W x H) 3in x 2in x 0.5in (7.6cm x 5.2cm x 1.2cm)
Weight 85g (0.19lbs)
Operating Conditions 5C to 35C (41F to 95F), -304.8m to 3,048m (-1,000ft to 10,000ft)
Non-Operating Conditions -20C to 60C (-4F to 140F), -304.8m to 12,192m (-1,000ft to 40,000ft)
Warranty 3 Year OWC Limited Warranty

Design and Build

The OWC Envoy Pro Elektron is a sleek-looking little drive. Its all-aluminum enclosure is both tough and good-looking and will fit well with any Mac computer or any other aluminum-encased workstation. The drive’s main claim to fame is its tiny size, and tiny it is. With its longest dimension being only 3 inches (7.6cm), which is about 3 SD cards, it really is incredibly portable and pocketable. Being as rugged as it, it’s very easy to throw (literally) into a backpack or computer case and not have to worry about extra bulk or damaging it. The LED on the front is a nice blue, too; not the kind of blue LED that hurts your eyes and it won’t blind you when you’re working late at night.

OWC Envoy Pro Elektron sd

My favorite feature of this drive is actually the cable. As silly as that sounds, OWC really put some thought into the design. Unlike most other drives where they either provide separate type-A and type-C cables adding more bulk or a very easily losable type-C to type-A adapter (looking at you, G-Tech ArmorATD), the Type-C to Type-A adapter is tethered to the appropriately long 2-foot USB 10Gb cable. The best part is the tethered adapter can also be used as a cable loop to keep the whole ensemble nice and neat while sticking it in a bag. I really appreciate the attention to detail.

OWC Envoy Pro Elektron cord

OWC Envoy Pro Elektron Performance

The OWC Envoy Pro Elektron performs just about as well as it can, given its specifications. It very easily saturates the 10Gb USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface and under normal workloads, specifically while using it on film sets doing media management, offloading camera cards, transferring lots of large files, and transcoding footage, it never skipped a beat.

To test the performance claims, which OWC says is 1011MB/s real-world, I ran Blackmagic Disk Speed on a 2018 Mac mini via one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports and CrystalDiskmark on a Windows 10 PC via a USB Type-C 10Gb port (AMD X570 chipset).

As expected, I saw about 950MB/s write and 905MB/s read in Blackmagic. This is just about fully saturating 10Gb/s and doesn’t leave much of anything on the table. For reference, the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD posted 920.6MB/s read and 950.4MB/s write in the same test. This is below OWC’s claim of 1011MB/s, but not far off, and exactly what they show on their product page in their testing. As a brief aside, I have to give a ton of props to OWC for being one of the few, if not the only company to post real benchmark results on their product pages.

In CrystalDiskmark I saw great results, performing better than OWC’s claim and squeezing every last drop of bandwidth out of USB 3.2 Gen 2. Realistically, the difference between 950MB/s and 1022MB/s won’t really be noticeable in day-to-day use, but it’s nice to know it lives up to the manufacturer’s claims. I do want to note because its aluminum case acts as a heatsink, the drive inside stays cool, but it does get hot to the touch; not uncomfortably so, but you’ll definitely notice it under sustained workloads.

Conclusion

The OWC Envoy Pro Elektron is a great little portable SSD and gives double the performance over SATA-based portable SSDs in a package smaller than the footprint of a credit card. It’s one of the most rugged NVMe based storage solutions with its IP67 rating and aluminum housing, and performance-wise makes full use of the 10Gb/s that USB 3.2 Gen 2 offers. It’s lacking the rubber bumpers of its more ruggedized competition, such as the SanDisk Extreme SSD, G-Tech ArmorLock, or the LaCie Rugged SSD, so it may be more prone to scratches and scuffs, but I still feel confident that the data would be safe.

OWC Envoy Pro Elektron apple

My only real complaint about this drive is the price. At an MSRP of $249 for 1TB, it’s a bit of a tough sell, especially since it’s the same price as the SanDisk Extreme Pro V2, which leverages USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 for much faster performance. Both of these drives can typically be found for $229 on sale at some e-tailers. The selling point really comes down to how important the IP67 rating and tiny size are to you. If you’re only looking to transfer files in places besides the Amazon Rainforest (or Florida in July), the SanDisk Extreme V2 (non-Pro) may be a better buy at just $159 while still being IP55 rated. Here’s a better comparison (all drives are USB):

Drive IP Rating Speed (up to) Price (1TB, Typical)
OWC Envoy Pro Elektron IP67 1,022MB/s $229
SanDisk Extreme V2 IP55 1,044MB/s $159
SanDisk Extreme Pro V2 IP55 1,990MB/s $229
G-DRIVE mobile SSD IP67 491MB/s $179
LaCie Rugged SSD IP67 947.7MB/s $279
G-Tech ArmorLock IP67 999MB/s $399*

*for 2TB; this is the only available capacity.

With all this in mind, and seeing how it compares to other drives, I still highly recommend this drive for personal and professional use. OWC has a reputation for quality products among myself and my peers in the film industry and this drive is no exception. I’ve found this drive to be way more useful than I was expecting and its minuscule size really is great. Packing the performance it has into space this small while being IP67 rated, is very impressive.

OWC Envoy Pro Elektron on Amazon

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