A Real Top-Shelf SSD for High-Speed External Storage
This is no ordinary run-of-the-mill thumb drive. Sure, it may look a bit like one of the multitudes of cheap USB flash types handed out freely at trade shows by paper product manufacturers and lawn sprinkler companies. But after a quick introduction to its heft, its smooth alloy finish and especially its high transfer speed, you know it is anything but.
To be clear, the Envoy Pro Mini is a real SSD with a sustainable USB 3.0 transfer speed in excess of 400 MB/sec. That’s roughly twice as fast as the ubiquitous USB 2.0 flash drives disseminated by the hundreds or even thousands at industry events.
Increasingly, the high-speed transfer rate of SSDs is a major consideration for the panoply of DITs, post-production professionals, and other media folks wrangling hordes of still images, music, and high-resolution video.
Smooth playback from very large video files is especially critical to the burgeoning number of 4K filmmakers who understandably find the ultra-compact Envoy Pro mini enormously useful, practical, and compelling.
The Envoy mini is not a space hog. It lies flush to the base of the Mac and does not intrude on adjacent ports.
Beyond this, there’s another aspect to consider. With the introduction of MacBooks and other laptops with permanently installed SSD drives, content creators need simple supplemental high-speed storage. The Envoy Pro mini SSD, available in 240 GB and, soon, 480 GB configurations, is an elegant solution that fits both criteria.
It may look like a slightly enlarged conventional thumb drive but inside, with a top-tier SSD and commercial grade controller board, it definitely is not. Professionals know from hard-won experience that cheap controller boards are the most common reason for drive failure.
The diminutive Envoy Mini is rugged and nicely machined. Compare the Envoy, made in the U.S.A., to the hunks of flimsy plastic produced for pennies overseas by some big-name manufacturers. How many of these cheap drives have we torn apart in sweaty desperation to extract critical data? Life is stressful enough without having to engage in such demeaning shenanigans.
The 240 GB version as tested runs a bit warm under load, which might concern some users with regard to potential longevity of the controller board and NAND memory. Envoy’s manufacturer, OWC, states that the heat produced is well within safe limits, with the rugged aluminum case serving as a heat sink to dissipate potentially damaging heat away from the SSD chip surface.
Feeling a bit warm to the touch? This is normal, according to Envoy manufacturer OWC. It means the aluminum case is acting as a heat sink, directing heat away from the SSD surface.
Suffice it to say, any potential heat issue that might exist would be exacerbated in a higher-capacity drive. With capacity limited to 480 GB, the heat accumulation inside the Envoy Pro mini does not appear to be reason for concern.
Ultimately, the Envoy Pro Mini addresses the needs of a broad spectrum of users. From serving as a portable boot volume to transporting libraries of still images, music, and high-resolution video, the diminutive Envoy Pro Mini should attract legions of grateful, appreciative users.
And it has.