4 star rating

OWC Envoy Pro EX Review

$314.00
Pros: Small and durable design; Bus-powered; Blazing fast read and write speeds
Cons: Expensive
The Verdict: Small, stylish and blazing fast, the OWC Envoy Pro EX external SSD can copy files in the blink of an eye.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

Unless you had a lot of money to burn, chances are you didn't opt for the maximum amount of storage when you bought your MacBook or Ultrabook. But, with the increasing size of multimedia files, there's also a good chance that you're running out of space. The OWC Envoy Pro EX is a small external SSD that looks as good as your Mac, and transfers files just as quickly. At $314, this 240GB drive isn't cheap, but it's worth the investment if you prioritize performance.

Article Continued Below

Design

OWC Envoy Pro EXIf Apple were to design an external hard drive, it might look like the OWC Envoy Pro. The entire drive is made of anodized aluminum, which mimics the look of every Mac laptop on the market. Its all-metal design also makes it very durable, and combined with the fact that it has no moving parts, means that it should survive more than a few drops.

Trapezoidal in shape, the Envoy Pro is wider on top than the bottom. On one of the short sides is a USB 3.0 port, and on the other end is a small status light.

At 4.5 x 2.2 x 0.43 inches and 3.8 ounces, the Envoy Pro packs easily into a travel bag; for added convenience, it comes with a small felt pouch.

MORE: 10 Pieces of Paid Software That Are Now Free

Adding to its portability is the fact that the Envoy Pro is bus-powered, so you don't need an external power source.

Performance

OWC Envoy Pro EXThis is one fast SSD. We tested the OWC Envoy Pro with a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. Using the Disk Speed Test app by Blackmagic Design, we selected the 5GB file size, and ran the benchmark. It recorded a write speed of 253.8MBps, and a read speed of 406.4MBps.

Real-world tests backed up the synthetic test results. Copying 5GB of multimedia files to the OWC drive took just 21 seconds, a write speed of 242.3 MBps. Reading the folder from the OWC drive took an even faster 16 seconds, a speed of 330.6MBps. Just how fast is that? The average USB 3.0 hard drive read speed is 50 MBps, and the average write speed is 61 MBps.

The Envoy Pro was also speedy when copying large individual files. A 1.93GB AVI file took just 7 seconds to write to the Envoy Pro; copying it back to the notebook took 5 seconds. That means you could copy enough movies to last a flight from New York to Hong Kong in a minute.

MORE: 5 Ways to Supercharge Your Laptop For Under $100

Value, Configurations and Warranty

OWC Envoy Pro EXAt $314 for 240GB, ($1.31 per GB), the Envoy Pro EX isn't cheap, but depending on the Mac you have -- or are thinking of purchasing -- it's less expensive than adding internal storage.

Adding 128GB on the MacBook Air costs $200 ($1.56 per GB). Adding 256GB of internal storage to the 15-inch MacBook Pro or the 13-inch MacBook Air costs $300, or $1.17 per GB.

Increasing the storage to 512GB from 128GB (an increase of 384GB) on the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina costs $500, or $1.30 per GB.

OWC also sells a 480GB Envoy Pro EX for $559, which works out to $1.16/GB.

The drive comes with a 3-year warranty.

Verdict

OWC Envoy Pro EXWho needs Thunderbolt? OWC's Envoy Pro EX proves that, with the right hard drive, even USB 3.0 is still more than fast enough to transfer all your data quickly. While you'll pay for the convenience, if you need to expand the storage on your Mac, the Envoy Pro EX will seem just as fast as the SSD inside your notebook.

Tags: OWC Envoy Pro EX, reviews

Technical Specifications
OWC Envoy Pro EX
www.macsales.com


Capacity240GB
Rotational Speed
Seek Time
Read/Write Speed
PortsUSB 3.0
Storage TypeSSD
Size4.5 x 2.2 x 0.43 inches
Weight3.8 ounces
AUTHOR BIO
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor
Michael A. Prospero has overseen reviews on Laptopmag.com since 2007, focusing on producing the most thorough and authoritative mobile product reviews. After receiving his Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia in 2003, Mike worked at Fast Company. Prior to that, he worked at The Times of Trenton, George and AlleyCat News.
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor on
Twitter Google+
FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 3840 x 2160 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE