SanDisk is one of the most widely-known names in digital storage. It offers a wide range of memory cards, flash drives, hard drives and solid state storage drives (SSD) with options to suit consumers, enthusiast photographers and professional content creators, photographers and videographers.
The Pro-Blade Transport and Pro-Blade SSD Mag were announced in May 2022, along with the Pro-Blade Station, as a modular SSD system. While the Pro-Blade Transport can hold a single Pro-Blade SSD Mag and is intended for use on the go, the Pro-Blade Station can hold up to four Mags and is designed for desktop use.
The Pro-Blade Transport and Pro-Blade Mag are now on sale and the Pro-Blade Station is set to join them soon.
Max read speed: 2000MB/s
Max write speed: 2000MB/s
Available capacities: 0TB (Transport only), 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
The SanDisk Professional Pro-Blade Transport is actually an enclosure that can house a Pro-Blade SSD Mag and while it is sold by itself, it can also be bought bundled with a Pro-Blade SSD Mag with a capacity of 1TB, 2TB or 4TB. The Pro-Blade SSD Mags can be swapped in and out of the Pro-Blade Transport, so you may only need one Transport for several Mags, but the mags are of no use by themselves.
There’s a USB-C port in the Pro-Blade Transport and this plus the NVMe technology in the Mag enables data transfer speeds of up to 2000MB/s in either direction.
SanDisk supplies a USB-C to USB-C and a UBC-C to USB-A cable with the Pro-Blade Transport which means it can be connected to modern and older computers and laptops.
Build and handling
A quick glance at the Pro-Blade Transport might lead you to think that it’s regular SSD, but upon closer inspection you’ll spot that it’s fitted with a Pro-Blade SSD Mag. This is removed by pressing to release the catch and then withdrawing it from the enclosure. It slides back in smoothly and slots into place reassuringly.
At 130.4 x 71.5 x 16mm, the Pro-Blade Transport is larger than SSD’s like the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2, but the Mags only measure 129 x 103.6 x 14.4mm and you can use several of them, one at a time, in a Transport.
The Pro-Blade Transport has an aluminum heat sink to keep the Pro-Blade SSD Mags cool during use, and it works well as the unit only gets a little warm.
While the Pro-Blade Transport isn’t weatherproof, the Mag is designed to survive a drop from 3m and has 4,000 lbs crush resistance. It should ensure that the unit survives being knocked off a desk or carried in a bag with a lot of heavy camera gear.
It’s good to see that SanDisk has included decent-length (44cm) USB-C cables with the Transport. It means that you can connect the drive to a laptop while it’s on your lap without fear of it slipping and disconnecting.
When the drive was connected to a 2019 iMac via one of the USB-C/Thunderbolt ports I was able to transfer 9.74GB of images comprising 100 Jpegs and 100 raw files from the 45.7Mp Nikon Z7 II (opens in new tab) to it in a little under 19 seconds. Transferring the same folder of images back to the computer took almost a minute.
Performing the same tasks with a 2022 MacBook Air (opens in new tab) with the M2 chip saw the transfer times drop to under 11 seconds in either direction.
After timing the file transfers, I started up the Blackmagic Disk Speed test software to measure the data transfer rates. When running the check on the iMac (opens in new tab) I recorded write speeds of around 948MB/s and read speed of about 945MB/s. Using the same software on the 2022 MacBook Air saw write speeds of just under 3000MB/s and read speeds a little over 3260MB/s, showing better performance than is claimed by SanDisk.
As well as storing still images, the SanDisk Pro-Blade Transport can accommodate video either as a store or as a working drive while editing 4K video. The fast data transfer speed of the drive ensures that the editing experience is smooth and without stutters.
The SanDisk Pro-Blade Transport is a well-made, fast storage drive that is ideal for storing images or video on the go. It also offers something we don’t usually see in a portable drive, but that hikes up the price in comparison with a drive that has a fixed SSD. Also, the real strength of the interchangeable SanDisk Pro-Blade SSD Mags, only really becomes apparent when the Transport is paired with a SanDisk Pro-Blade Station as it allows up to four storage devices to be connected to a computer via a single USB-C cable.
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