OWC, Other World Computing, was founded in 1988 and is a zero-emissions technology company that produces an extensive range of computer upgrade kits, memory, computer docking stations and storage drives. The Envoy Pro Elektron is the company’s smallest portable SSD but it’s also very tough and its NVMe M.2 2242 technology means it is capable of transfer speeds of up to 1011 MB/s.
Max data transfer speed: 1011 MB/s
Available capacities: 240GB, 480GB, 1TB, 2TB
OWC produces the Envoy Pro Elektron in four capacities, 240GB, 480GB, 1TB, 2TB, majoring on the smaller sizes rather than the larger ones. This means that the SSD is available at very attractive prices, but the 2TB drive has some stiff competition from the likes of the SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD.
The drive has a USB-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2) port that enables data transfer rates of up to 10Gb/s (1250 MB/s), but OWC claims a maximum data transfer rate of 1011 MB/s.
Helpfully, OWC supplies a USB-C to USB-C cable with a tethered USB-C to USB-A adapter. This means that the drive can be used with older computers as well as the latest models and you only have one cable to keep to carry.
Build and handling
The OWC Envoy Pro Elektron measures just 12 x 76 x 52mm and weighs 85g, which means that you can slip it comfortably into a jeans pocket or in that last little space in your camera bag. It’s also built like a small tank, is crushproof, and looks like a solid block of metal. Its aircraft-grade aluminum feels very reassuring.
According to OWC, the Envoy Pro Elektron has a dust and water resistance rating of IP67. That means that it is dust-tight, completely protected from dust ingress, and it can be survive being submerged to a depth of 1m for up to 30 minutes. Those impressive stats mean it should survive a splash of coffee, or being dropped in a puddle.
Although the drive is very small, OWC supplies it with a USB-C cable that’s not far off 70cm long. That’s great news for anyone reaching around the back of their computer to find the USB port, or when you’re working with your laptop on your knee. It means that the Envoy Pro Elektron is unlikely to be left dangling awkwardly and at risk of accidental disconnection.
I kicked off my testing of the OWC Envoy Pro Elektron by connecting it to a 2022 MacBook Air M2 and starting up Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. This registered write speeds of up to around 904MB/s and read speeds of around 663 MB/s. OWC only quotes a single maximum data transfer speed for the Envoy Pro Elektron, it doesn’t break it down into read and write speeds. Clearly, the read speed that I measured is some way short of the claimed maximum transfer rate.
Nevertheless, the drive performs well in normal use and it took just over 15 seconds to transfer 9.74GB of images comprising 100 Jpegs and 100 raw files from the 45.7Mp Nikon Z7 II from it to the MacBook Air. Transferring the same folder of files from the MacBook Air to the drive took just under 14 seconds. So you’re not left waiting for long periods of time while you copy images across.
In the time that I’ve had the Envoy Pro Elektron I’ve taken it abroad and carried it around with me without giving it much care, and it’s always worked perfectly well even after falling off my desk or receiving a splash of water. I’ve primarily used it to store images temporarily before I transfer them to a permanent storage drive, but I’ve also found it works as a working drive when editing 4K video.
The aircraft-grade aluminum outer is designed to help keep the SSD cool, but it heats up quite quickly in use. It doesn’t feel dangerously hot but it will certainly warm your hands on a cold day.
OWC Envoy Pro Elektron: Verdict
The OWC Envoy Pro Elektron is one of the smallest portable SSDs around. It’s a little thicker than the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2, but it’s quite a bit shorter, feels more robust and has a higher dust/water resistant rating. It’s also fast. It doesn’t have the 2000 MB/s transfer speeds of some other SSDs, but it’s still plenty fast enough for image and video storage and functions as a working drive for 4K movies.
It’s good to see a couple of sub-1TB capacity drives available as it brings the price down. The smaller capacity drives makes a good choice for anyone just looking to back-up their camera’s memory card(s) while they are away.