Review: SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB 3.2 Solid State Flash Drive

For years I’ve been walking around with a 32GB USB thumb drive on my keychain. But lately I’ve found that 32GB isn’t enough for me when I do work for clients. For example when I have to move files from one computer to another. So that made me look for a replacement, and I chose the SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB 3.2 Solid State Flash Drive.

For the record, this drive comes in sizes of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and a mind blowing 1TB. All of which fit on your keychain. It really feels like a well constructed premium product that will survive something longer than 10 seconds in your pocket. It’s cool to the touch as well which adds to the premium feel. You can thank the aluminum metal casing for that. The USB-A connector slides out using a slide mechanism on the top of the drive that has a very satisfying click when you use it. It also means when it is recessed, it is less likely to get damaged.

Now the company on their website which I linked to above makes some very conservative claims about how fast this drive is. The packaging however, makes some really bold claims:

Super fast SSD performance? Speeds of 420 MB/s read and 380 MB/s write? Hmmmm….. I think a marketing person drank one to many glasses of wine coming up with this copy. Because those numbers don’t equal “Super fast SSD performance”. But let’s prove that. First let’s test a 32GB USB stick from a name brand company using CrystalDiskMark 8.0.1 as a starting point to see what sort of performance we get:

Now this is the performance that you typically get from a USB thumb drive. Pretty middling sequential read and write numbers. And pretty abysmal random read and write numbers. The reason being is that most USB thumb drives are built to a price point (as in as cheap as possible) and are not built to perform at top speed.

Let’s contrast that with the SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB 3.2 Solid State Flash Drive. I used the same PC and the same USB port to do this test:

In short, the Sandisk drive destroyed the 32GB drive. And it’s pretty clear that the speeds of 420 MB/s read and 380 MB/s write that Sandisk quotes came from the sequential read speeds. Because any drive will perform well doing sequential reads and writes. But the random reads and writes were pretty impressive and consistent. So in short, this is the quickest USB thumb drive that I’ve come across. But there’s that one claim of “Super-fast SSD performance” that was on the packaging. While I will admit that the performance that this drive is capable of has the look of an SSD because of how balanced the performance is when it comes to random and sequential scenarios, it’s nowhere near as fast. To illustrate this, I will use the Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSD which is currently in the “God tier” of SSD drives, and is in the same PC that I used to conduct the first two tests to illustrate this:

I’m guessing that the Samsung drive didn’t break a sweat humbling the Sandisk drive. So, why am I pointing this out? Well, if you put a claim on the package, you better be able back it up. They couldn’t and here we are talking about it. And what’s funny is that there is no fine print or disclaimers of any sort regarding this claim on the packaging. In short, someone in their marketing department needs a talking to because it seems like someone made some stuff up in hopes of selling a few extra copies of this drive to people who wouldn’t know any better.

Now if you ignore the marketing fail, this is an insanely quick USB thumb drive. There are some extras like software that will do software based encryption on the drive, and data recovery software. But in my opinion, if you need a drive that does encryption, there are secure hardware based encryption thumb drives that you should look at. And when it comes to data recovery, you should pay an expert to do that for you if you get in that situation. Though if you accidentally delete a file, I suppose it can’t hurt to run this software to see if you can get it back first.

Here’s the bottom line. If you need large amounts of storage and it has to be quick by thumb drive standards, this is the thumb drive to get. My 128GB drive cost me $49.99 CDN on Amazon. 256GB is $80 CDN and 512GB is $165 CDN. I couldn’t find a price for the 1TB version. Check it out if you fit the use case for this drive. Just don’t believe everything on the packaging.

3 Responses to “Review: SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB 3.2 Solid State Flash Drive”

  1. […] case I need to do something with a client that requires storage, I have a Sandisk Extreme Pro 128GB USB drive which is a recent addition to my EDC that will come in handy when the world stops […]

  2. […] use case for the S-Biner is to add my Lever Gear CableKit and my SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB 3.2 Solid State Flash Drive to this setup when I need them. I will admit that Keyport makes a WeeLINK Charger Cable Module Kit […]

  3. […] case I need to do something with a client that requires storage, I have a Sandisk Extreme Pro 128GB USB drive which is a recent addition to my EDC that will come in handy when the world stops […]

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