The Transcend StoreJet 500 is a portable and fast external drive with a single 2.5″ SSD inside. It is available in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacity options and ranges in price from $229 to $699.
The aluminum design pairs nicely with the current line of MacBook models. It is small enough to stow just about anywhere, including your pocket. The aluminum serves double duty as an aesthetic choice and to disperse heat. However, the drive gets uncomfortably hot to the touch when under heavy load – so don’t keep it in your pocket for video editing…
The StoreJet 500 features both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 connectivity. Transcend includes both a USB 3.0 and a Thunderbolt cable with the drive. It is bus powered with either cable. Additionally, it includes a soft storage bag to protect the drive’s finish when on the go.
Either connection is fast enough to deliver the claimed 440MB/s max read speed; however, I didn’t fully achieve that number with either connection.
Using USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connections across several different computers, the StoreJet 500 delivered a consistent write speed of around 290MB/s, which is plenty sufficient for transferring photo and video files. By comparison, a spinning 7200RPM external hard drive will deliver about 115MB/s or so read speeds.
Notably, the write speed from USB 3.0 connections were consistently around 430MB/s, while the Thunderbolt write speeds floated around 380MB/s. This was the case regardless of whether there were additional drives in the Thunderbolt connection chain or not.
As noted above, both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connections offer plenty of throughput to maintain the quoted 440MB/s read speeds. USB 3.0 can deliver sustained data transfer rates of 5Gb/s, which would max out at about 625MB/s read speeds. Thunderbolt, on the other hand, offers double the data throughput at 10Gb/s, which equates to 1050MB/s read speeds. Accordingly, there is no throughput reason why USB 3.0 should be faster than the Thunderbolt connection.
I can only guess that maybe this discrepancy is attributable to inefficiencies in the Thunderbolt controller of the StoreJet 500.
The drive is formatted for Mac out of the box but can be reformatted to NTFS for use with Windows. It also includes Transcend Elite software, which allows you to use 256-bit AES file and folder encryption.
Other than the discrepancy in the USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt write speeds, I think the Transcend StoreJet 500 is a great little external drive. Unfortunately, the pricing is a bit high compared to Transcend’s own USB 3.0 line of ESD400 drives, which gives you a 500GB SSD for $213 (compared to $229 for a 256GB SSD in the StoreJet 500 line). Even Samsung’s tiny new 500GB T1 USB 3.0 SSD drive offers a 500GB option for $299.99.
The size and performance is right with the StoreJet 500 drives; however, the pricing doesn’t quite fit with other available options that deliver similar performance right now. You can find the Transcend StoreJet 500 drives here at B&H Photo.
More info about the StoreJet 500 line is available here on Transcend’s website.