LaCie Rugged Mini SSD review

Expensive but speedy portable storage

LaCie Rugged Mini SSD
(Image: © Mark Pickavance)

TechRadar Verdict

While looking different is always good, the Rugged Mini SSD designers forgot that owners need to carry the drive and its cable, while not misplacing the port cover. With USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 drive speed is excellent, but without that port type its ordinary performance for an extremely high price.


  • +

    USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 support

  • +

    1TB, 2TB or 4TB options

  • +

    Hardware encryption

  • +

    Tough and compact


  • -


  • -

    No USB-A cable adapter

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One-minute review

Confusingly, LaCie has many similar-looking external drives that are hard to differentiate based on similar names and any scale shown in the promotional images.

All the products in the Rugged Mini series have codes that start with STMF, and the 2TB model reviewed here is the STMF2000400.

What divides this from other LaCie external drives is that it's in a new and easily pocketable form factor. This drive supports USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 mode for enhanced file transfer speeds, and it is IP54-rated for water and dust protection.

The outward appearance of this unit looks like something that might be dropped to support a pilot that has ejected over water, with a silver metallic monolith surrounded by a bold orange rubberised bumper.

It is possible to remove the bumper, but it is probably better to leave it in place. Compared with the equivalent offerings from Crucial and Kingston, this drive is larger at over 10cm long and 6cm wide. It’s also heavier at 114g, but not enough that anyone would worry about carrying it.

In the box is the drive, a 20cm USB-C cable, and that’s it. There is no USB-A cable or adapter and no pouch. Considering the cost of these products, that seems poor.

Where we’ve no such complaints with the connection performance, with support for all transfer speeds of USB, it also works with Thunderbolt versions 3 and 4.

In optimal conditions and connected to the high-specification PC, transfer speeds of 2,000MB/s are possible if you have a USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 port.

The snag is that the Kingston XS2000 and Crucial X10 Pro offer similar performance profiles. But they are smaller and lighter, and critically much, much cheaper.

An effective drive with excellent performance and a slightly odd aesthetic, but it is wildly overpriced.

LaCie Rugged Mini SSD

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

LaCie Rugged Mini SSD: Pricing and availability

  • How much does it cost? From $119.99/147.99 for 1TB model
  • When is it out? It is starting to be available now
  • Where can you get it? Direct from LaCie or through online retailers like Amazon.

It is worth stating that the disparity between the quoted prices for this product on the LaCie website and those asked by online retailers is striking.

As an example, the quoted UK cost for the 4TB capacity drive is a whopping £719.99, but it is sold by the online retailer Insight for only £505.19. That’s almost 30% less.

At, the 500GB, 1TB and 2TB models sell for £109.90, £147.99, and £271.99, respectively, with no price or stock currently for the 4TB option.

American suppliers are awaiting stock, but B&H has $119.99, $189.99 and $349.99 as the prices of the 1TB, 2TB and 4TB, with no mention of the 500GB option.

If we look at the current prices of the main competitor for this line, the Crucial X10 Pro, that currently costs $107.99, $167.99 and $289.99 for the 1TB, 2TB and 4TB options on

The question you might reasonably ask yourself if why wouldn’t you pay an extra $18 for a 4TB Crucial X10 Pro over a 2TB Lacie Rugged Mini SSD? Unless you are mesmerised by orange, that seems an unlikely decision.

As nice a brand as LaCie is, this SSD isn’t worth anything close to what they’re asking.

  • Value: 2 / 5

LaCie Rugged Mini SSD

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

LaCie Rugged Mini SSD: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Model No.STMF2000400
Capacity tested2TB
Tested sequential performance (Read/Write)2049/1842MB/s
ConnectionUSB 3.2 Gen 2x2 using Type-C or Thunderbolt 3/4
Dimensions105.3 x 66.9 x 17.3mm (WxHxD)
Warranty3 years

LaCie Rugged Mini SSD: Design

  • Inflatable raft aesthetic
  • Rugged-ish
  • 3-year warranty

All Lacie’s rugged drive has this mini-inflatable-raft aesthetic, meaning these devices are metaphorically lifeboats.

The problem with this and the lack of chromatic diversity is that it is easy to end up confusing the hard drive designs with the SSDs and the mini models from the larger devices.

One aspect that shocked your reviewer was that the IP rating of this drive is highly dependent on a rubber plug that covers the USB-C port and a tiny activity LED.

Typically, on phones, tablets or rugged PCs, a plug like this is attached by some means to the device, but here, once removed, it can be easily misplaced as it is purely a friction fit.

Also, due to the orientation and length of the USB-C cable, seeing the activity LED is a challenge as it is recessed into the end where the cable connects.

The purpose of the orange bumper is to keep the SSD inside safe, and LaCie quotes an IP54 rating, the ability to withstand a one-metre drop and one metric ton of car-crushing resistance. Curiously, in some places, like the box, it says a three-metre drop, but the one metre on the product brochure.

LaCie Rugged Mini SSD

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Neither of these damage resistance capabilities appears remotely impressive since almost every external SSD we’ve seen could handle a drop of 1m or 3m, and the crushing value doesn’t make any sense. Examining the notes on the LaCie brochure, the crush test was a one-ton car, but presumably, it had four wheels that shared the mass equally. That works out at 250kg displayed over the 60 square centimetres of the drive, equally just 4.2kg per cm sq.

We’d contest that this drive is mildly ruggedised, and to achieve its modest IP54 rating requires you not to lose the plug and to have it in place when the drive is exposed to water or dust and not ever fully immersed.

On the brighter side, this design does get limited 3-year coverage. LaCie offers a data recovery service in some countries, but not all. However, most competitor devices get five years of warranty.

  • Design: 4 / 5

LaCie Rugged Mini SSD: Software

  • Adobe trial
  • Seagate software
  • No firmware tool

This product is one of many external drives from various brands pushing a one-month complimentary membership to Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps Plan.

But if you already pay for this, it probably doesn’t get you a free month, and if you don’t, it is signing you up for an extra $54.99 bill each month for Adobe’s pricey software.

I'm not sure about the value of that proposition for the majority of owners, but the other software on offer doesn’t need a subscription to use.

That is the LaCie Toolkit, which enables folders to be synced to the drive with automation. It’s the same tool that Seagate (who own LaCie) provides with many of its external drives, and it can either back up the standard folders (documents, pictures, etc.) or you can create an entirely custom selection of folders to be continuously secured.

It’s not the best software we’ve seen that does this, but it works, and it's exactly what most purchasers of the drive would want.

There aren’t any copy cloud services options or any tools to check for firmware upgrades and install them. Given the cost, the software provided is pretty basic.

  • Software: 3 / 5

LaCie Rugged Mini SSD: Performance

  • Needs USB 3/2 Gen 2x2
  • No hardware encryption
Swipe to scroll horizontally
BenchTestLaCie Rugged Mini SSD 2TBCrucial X10 Pro 2TB
CrystalDiskM.Default Read2049.142060.77
Row 1 - Cell 0 Default Write1842.781840.27
Row 2 - Cell 0 Real World Read1870.791857.01
Row 3 - Cell 0 Real World Write1695.041694.03
AJA System 16GBRead18871898
Row 5 - Cell 0 Write17021709
AS SSDRead1897.461881.74
Row 7 - Cell 0 Write1679.81693.37
Row 9 - Cell 0 Write17201710

When we initially tested this drive, our first port of call (pun intended) was an Acer laptop that has Thunderbolt 4, with the assumption that this would yield the best performance.

It didn’t. While the drive can work with Thunderbolt, it does so via a USB compatibility mode, capping the throughput at around 1,000MB/s.

To get the full performance that the drive offers requires either USB 3.2 Gen 2x2, and without one of these, the best you can expect is the same 1,000MB/s. If you only have USB 3.2 Gen 1, you will see only 500MB/s, the same as the cheapest USB SSDs offer.

Its inability to exploit Thunderbolt properly is a disappointment, but it is also common amongst drives primarily designed for USB, as it works with the least amount of effort on the part of the drive maker. What’s more concerning is that it can’t exploit USB 4.0 either.

Using the optimal USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 port reading speeds of 2049MB/s and writing speeds of 1843MB/s on CrystalDiskMark 8. That’s fast, but we’ve seen faster from fully Thunderbolt-compatible drives like the SanDisk Professional Pro-G40.

However, using the RealWorld profile reduced that performance to reading at 1871MB/s and writing at 1695MB/s.The other benchmarks supported these numbers across the board, strongly hinting that the underlying speed isn’t enough to hit those magically 2,000MB/s throughput in most circumstances.

Using the AJA System test, 64GB file mode was run to see if performance was impacted over the long haul. The test ran without any detectable loss of speed, suggesting the drive's cache is large enough to handle writing large files without choking on them.

When these results are compared to those of the most popular competitor, the Crucial X10 Pro, they show that the LaCie Rugged Mini SSD is on par with that drive in many tests. However, the X10 Pro is a significantly cheaper option, much more widely available, has a five, not three-year warranty and supports hardware encryption.

  • Performance: 4.5 / 5

LaCie Rugged Mini SSD

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

LaCie Rugged Mini SSD: Verdict

The more this reviewer dug into the LaCie Rugged Mini SSD, the less impressive it became.

While support for USB 3.2 2x2 is admirable, it’s a niche capability because relatively few machines have that port.

Without that precise interface, the drive has 1000MB/s peak performance, which the Crucial X9 Pro can offer for $250 for the 4TB or $100 less. In addition, the X9 Pro has an IP55 rating, is smaller, is easier to carry, and comes with a more extended warranty period.

For those that want USB 3.2 2x2, the Crucial X10 Pro 4TB is still $70 cheaper.

The only hardware that’s more costly than this is the SanDisk Professional Pro-G40, and in Europe, even that is cheaper than this product.

Including some software utilities and trials doesn’t balance this equation since most of the other brands offer similar things, if not more.

Overall, a premium product must come with a USB-A cable or adapter, a better plan for what happens to the port plug, and a price that acknowledges what competitor products are selling. But alas, LaCie gave the Rugged Mini SSD none of these things.

Should I buy the LaCie Rugged Mini SSD

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ValueExpensive for a drive that doesn’t have a 5-year warranty or hardware encryption2 / 5
DesignAn odd liferaft motif and a lack of creative thinking about the loss of the port plug4 / 5
SoftwareAdobe trial, some useful software but no firmware management3 / 5
PerformanceGreat performance, but you need Gen 2x2 to get the most out of it. Performance on Thunderbolt is underwhelming.4/ 5
OverallConfused design that isn’t good value for money.4 / 5

LaCie Rugged Mini SSD

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Buy it if...

You have USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 ports
There are many cheaper alternatives that offer encryption and come in larger capacities if you don’t need Gen 2x2 performance. This drive will work with the slower USB ports and Thunderbolt, but you might as well save some money and buy a cheaper one.

You copy big files
One of the quicker Gen 2x2 drives we’ve tested can sustain read and write performance effectively over the long haul. But only with that uncommon port.

Don't buy it if...

You use hardware encryption
While you can use software encryption, the lack of hardware-encrypted storage in this design is disappointing. The Crucial X10 Pro has this, as does the Kingston XS2000.

You will be using Thunderbolt
While fast by USB standards, this drive doesn’t offer the speeds that a genuine Thunderbolt drive can achieve, those being up to 2800MB/s. And, given how expensive this drive is, you might be able to find a Thunderbolt option that is less costly.

Also consider


Crucial X10 Pro
With a very similar performance profile to the LaCie Rugged Mini, this drive is smaller, lighter, and includes hardware encryption. At $70 less for the 4TB model, the X10 Pro makes plenty of economic sense.

Read our full review of it here.


Crucial X9 Pro
Physically identical to the X10 Pro except in silver. The X9 Pro has the same resilience and waterproofing and has the same capacities. But it only supports Gen 2 USB connections, reducing the best speed to 1000MB/s

And it still offers hardware encryption.


Kingston XS2000
This drive came out in late 2021, when Gen 2x2 drives weren’t a popular option.

While it does use plastic construction, it has an IP55 rating and should travel well enough. Costing less than $100 for the 1TB model, it delivers better-sustained performance and hardware encryption. 

Check out our Kingston XS2000 review

We've covered all the best external SSDs here for you

Mark Pickavance

Mark is an expert on 3D printers, drones and phones. He also covers storage, including SSDs, NAS drives and portable hard drives. He started writing in 1986 and has contributed to MicroMart, PC Format, 3D World, among others.