SanDisk 510 Portable SSD Goes to Extremes [Tech Tuesday]

May 31, 2016

By RF Staff

You may not like working outdoors in inclement weather or getting sand in your shoes, but the latest portable SSD drive from SanDisk doesn't mind. In fact, the little SanDisk Extreme 510 is built for all-terrain action.


The pocket-sized drive, which measures about 3 inches square and less than 1/4 inch thick, sports a rubber bumper that protects it against accidental falls from up to about 6 feet. Its IP55 rating means that the drive is impervious to dust, sand and even a bit of rainfall. Although I haven't yet taken it to the beach or out in the rain, the SanDisk 510 has been dropped on a hardwood floor (several times), survived  airline baggage handling (prior to filling it with images), thrown in the back of a NYC cab and carried around in various bags and purses—all without ill effect. And you can easily attach a clip to one of the corners to secure it in a camera bag so it doesn't get lost in the dark interior along with other small gear.

The drive is available only in 480GB capacity, but that's been more than sufficient for a couple of days' shooting (mostly stills with only a few short video clips). The BUS-powered drive features a USB 3.0 port but, as expected, is USB 2.0 compatible. (Just flip up the little rubber cover on the bottom corner to find the USB port.)

SanDisk claims up to 430 MB/s read and up to 400MB/s write speeds and while my transfer rates haven't reached the maximum, the drive is fast. My unscientific testing consisted of dragging and dropping 55GB of images from a USB 3.0 Sony XQD card reader and Lexar v. 2 XQD card onto the drive via a two-year-old MacBook Air with 8GB RAM running OS X 10.9.4. It took less than 5 minutes to transfer the files—which was more than twice as fast as transferring the same images to a Seagate Backup Plus USB 3.0 portable hard drive. Of course, your results may differ, but I was extremely pleased with the speed and even happier to know that I didn't have to baby the SSD drive while traveling.  I usually wrap my portable hard drives in bubble wrap before stowing them in a camera or shoulder bag when I'm on the road, but with the SanDisk Extreme 510, I didn't have to go that extra step.

The SSD drive comes with a short USB cable (you may want/need to substitute a longer cable), SanDisk Secure Access software and a two year warranty. At $250, the per-gigabyte price isn't cheap, but given its speed and rugged build, it's well worth the extra dollars.

This video below offers a look at the SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD drive in action: