LaCie Rugged SSD Pro review: External Thunderbolt/USB storage for the adventurer

For many users, an IP67-rated ruggedized portable SSD will be a rather expensive piece of storage overkill. However, for the adventurous few, the peace of mind LaCie’s Rugged SSD Pro will bring when you’re out in the world might well be worth the extra expense.

blackmagic IDG

The Rugged SSD Pro is almost as fast as many internal drives. NVMe over Thunderbolt 3 will do that for you.

The grippy, silicon covering of the Rugged SSD Pro makes it one of my favorite external drives. That it’s very fast and can be used via Thunderbolt 3 or USB doesn’t hurt, either. 

Design and specs

The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is available in 1TB ($400) and 2TB ($700) capacities, the same prices as Samsung’s X5. We tested the less capacious unit. The drive measures 3.85-inches by 2.55-inches, and around 0.7-inches thick. Inside is a Seagate (LaCie’s parent company) FireCuda 510, four-lane, PCIe/NVMe SSD.

The single Type-C port is located on one of the longer edges and supports both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3. USB 3.x Gen2 10GBps would be nice, but the cross-platform compatibility is a boon. The competing Samsung X5 is Thunderbolt-only, which hampers is ability to use the drive on non-Mac computers. (You’l need to format in exFAT to access the drive on both platforms, or use compatibility drivers such as those available from Paragon Software.)

The Rugged SSD Pro is IP67 (Ingress Protection) rated, which means it’s completely sealed from dust (the first number), can be run over by a two-ton vehicle (as long as it’s not a steamroller on granite), and survive (probably). It should also survive under in three feet of water for 30 minutes.

lacie rugged ssd pro portLaCie

The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro has a single USB-C port.

As long as any SSD isn’t powered on when, and if water finally enters, there’s nothing to stop it from lasting until corrosion sets in. Electronics sans flowing electrons are not particularly susceptible to moisture in the short term; it’s current shorting across paths that kills things. If thoroughly dried before powered on again, any SSD will likely work again just fine. Be that as it may, there are a lot of scenarios where a drive might be powered up when exposed to moisture. Coffee, rain, the office slip ‘n slide, etc.

The outer covering of the Rugged SSD Pro is made using a liquidized silicon-on-metal process which will be familiar to fans of LaCie’s Rugged series. It feels a bit different at the smaller size and I must say, I like it more than a little bit. The material and multiple indentations make for a very reliable grip and also insulate against heat. 

The Rugged SSD Pro carries a five-year hardware warranty that includes a full five years of data recovery.