No matter how fast the connection is, sometimes external hard drives are only as fast as the hard drives they contain. Even with super-speed connections such as USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt, if the hard drive itself is slow, then you're not going to see the whole benefit of the faster (and more expensive) connections.

The Transcend SSD18C3 USB 3.0 Portable Solid State Drive doesn't have that problem, since it contains a solid state drive, rather than the older mechanical drives. This means it can read and write data very fast, and therefore take advantage of the faster USB 3.0 connection.

Compare this to the G-Technology G-Raid with Thunderbolt, which has the even faster Thunderbolt connection, yet has a 7,200rpm mechanical hard drive, which means the speed of the hard drive is slowing the whole thing down.

The speeds we recorded in our benchmarking tests backed up Transcend's claims of this being a speedy little hard drive, with write speeds of 151.07MB/s and read speeds of a very impressive 234.94MB/s.

In our real-world tests, a 5GB folder containing 150 files was transferred over in just 1 minute 31 seconds. So yeah. Pretty fast.

The Transcend SSD18C3 is small and light, and has a sturdy rubberised case that provides military shock-resistance. An auto-backup button is a nice addition to the hard drive, and can be set up using the Windows-only software available to download from Transcend's website.

The Transcend SSD18C3 comes with a dual-headed USB cable, with one head for data and the second one for supplying power, though it can work with power supplied from a single USB port.

Verdict

The Transcend SSD18C3 USB 3.0 Portable Solid State Drive is fast, light and sturdy, with some good backup options. Everything you'd want in an external hard drive. The only downside is the relatively small capacity.