Lexar Professional SL600 portable SSD review

Lightweight and stylish portable SSD designed for photographers and videographers on the move

Lexar Professional SL600 Portable HD
(Image: © Alastair Jennings)

TechRadar Verdict

Capacity and speed are at the heart of this SSD, but with software encryption and a handy design that allows for easy securing during transport; it is an excellent storage choice for photographers working on location.


  • +


  • +

    Fast transfer speeds

  • +

    Large capacity


  • -

    Tough but not waterproof

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Lexar Professional SL600: 30-second review


Capacities available: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
Size: 112.6 x 59 x 10.6 mm
Weight: 64g
Enclosure material: Aluminum
Connector: USB 3.2 Gen2x2
Technology: 256-bit AES encryption with Lexar DataShield
Warranty (in years): 5
Rated R/W speeds (MB/s): Up to 2000MB/s
Software bundle: Lexar DataShield software

One of the major issues with the latest cameras is the significant amount of storage required for the files they produce, including both images and videos. Thankfully, products like the Lexar Professional SL600 portable HD are designed with speed, capacity, and durability in mind. 

The review sample, at 2TB, offers ample storage for most image and video shoots. With its USB Type-C connection, transfer speeds between the drive and the computer are sufficiently quick, allowing you to use this drive as both a mass storage and working drive if desired. 

The internal specifications highlight this as a great choice for imaging professionals, but there are also design considerations that attract users on the move. 

Firstly, like any of the best portable SSDs we've tested, the lightweight and compact design makes it easy to transport without adding excessive weight or bulk to a kit bag. Then there's the full metal case that adds durability. However, what really stands out is the carabiner loop that allows you to securely attach the drive to an internal backpack pocket, preventing it from getting lost. 

With such a great design and solid, high-quality build, it's a shame that Lexar didn't go a step further and produce this drive in a brighter, easier-to-locate colour or include a writable surface for easy labelling. 

In terms of performance, the drive delivers impressive results on both Mac and PC systems, even if it performs lower than Lexar advertises.

Lexar Professional SL600: Price & availability

Lexar Professional SL600 Portable HD

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The Lexar Professional SL600 Portable HD is widely available at most photographic and video stores, such as B&H Photo and Adorama, as well as on Amazon.com.

  • Value: 4/5 

Lexar Professional SL600: Design & build

Lexar Professional SL600 Portable HD

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

This small portable SSD immediately stands out with its distinctive all-metal casing and integrated carabiner loop at the top - if you're looking for the best external hard drives for Mac, this one certainly has the pleasing focus on design aesthetic you'll find with Apple devices. The size and weight mean it easily slips into a pocket, making it convenient to transport along with the rest of your gear. The sleek black design is nice and understated, although something a bit brighter may be more practical in the field. However, this design allows you to loop it onto a bag hook, making it a bit more difficult to misplace compared to similar-sized portable SSDs.

The simple design is complemented by a USB Type-C connector, which facilitates both data transfer and bus power to the drive. Lexar has ensured that the drive draws minimal power while still providing decent performance, so along with the drive, the only other accessory you need is the connecting cable.

Once connected, the drive is recognized quickly and comes formatted in the universally recognized ExFAT format, which can then be reformatted to the file system of your choice. Included on the drive is the Lexar DataShield software, which takes a few seconds to install but then enables you to apply password protection to the drive, ensuring the contents remain secure in the event of loss or theft.

  • Design: (4/5) 

Lexar Professional SL600: Performance

Lexar Professional SL600 Portable HD

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

CrystalDiskMark: read: 1036.38MB/s Write: 952.34MB/s
AJA: read: 953MB/s Write: 857MB/s
ATTO: read: 984.62MB/s Write: 914MB/s
AS SSD: 956.14MB/s Write: 230MB/s

Out of the box, it only takes a few seconds to connect the USB Type-C cable and plug it into your intended computer or device. Once installed, the drive is instantly recognized by most systems and comes pre-formatted in the ExFAT file system. Before reformatting into a more suitable file format for Mac or PC, there's the DataShield software on the drive that can be installed and enables you to add file encryption to the drive. This software is available for both Mac and PC and is incredibly easy to install and understand; really, it's a one-time setup unless you need to change the password again in the future.

The drive features a USB Type-C connector with USB 3.2 Gen 2x2, which means that under the right conditions, it has the potential to max out the transfer speed at 2,000MB/s. During testing with a MacBook Pro 16" M1 and Intel Nuc 9 Extreme Ghost Canyon, the real-world transfer speeds were closer to 1,000MB/s, which is still good but well below the speeds documented by Lexar on the packaging.

In use for file transfer, the drive's capacity of 2TB provided ample storage for image and video files, with 140GB of data taking around 3 minutes to transfer, which is quick. Used as a storage drive, the 2TB of space allows for plenty of flexibility. Likewise, used as a working drive, the aluminium case and build quality help keep things cool. When used to edit 4K video, the drive coped with an intensive workflow without issue; although it did generate some heat, it wasn't overly hot to the touch.

While the drive didn't quite live up to the quoted transfer speeds, it proved to be an exceptional drive for use in the field. The carabiner loop is a really nice touch that is both practical and adds to the drive's visual appeal.

  • Performance: 4/5

Should you buy the Lexar Professional SL600?

The portable drive's 2TB of storage is substantial, and with the USB Type-C connection, the Lexar SL600 manages to keep up with the speed required for video and imaging workflows. The transfer speed is excellent for downloading and storing image files, even if it could be better to live up to the quoted speeds.

Likewise, used as a working drive while out and about, the drive performs well, providing fast access to files required for video editing in 4K. If you're running any of the best video editing laptops. the best video editing PCs or the best video editing Macs, this is bound to be a useful addition to your set-up. 

What really stands out is the design of the drive, with the quirky carabiner hook nicely integrated into the solid and robust aluminium casing, giving the drive a great look. While the style is sleek, the dark grey matte finish can make it difficult to locate in a kit bag, even when tethered to an internal hook, and a bright fluorescent version would be handy. However, the flat surface of the drive does make it easy to label and attach Velcro, so the drive can be monitor-mounted if needed.

Considering the price and features, this drive is outstanding, even if it can't quite live up to the quoted transfer speeds.

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ValueGood storage for price, ideal for professional use. 4
DesignSleek, durable with unique carabiner hook.4
FeaturesLarge capacity, secure encryption, slightly lacks color variety.4
PerformanceFast but doesn’t fully meet advertised speed claims. 4
TotalExcellent for on-the-go professionals.4

Lexar Professional SL600 Portable HD

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Buy it if...

You need high-capacity portable storage
Ideal for professionals needing ample space for large video and image files.

You value design and durability
Features a robust aluminium case with a practical carabiner hook that you can attach to an inside backpack pocket.

Don't buy it if...

You require maximum transfer speed
It may not consistently hit the highest advertised speeds, which could be an issue for transfer intensive tasks.

Visibility in your gear is crucial
The drive's dark grey matte finish can make it hard to find in a cluttered bag.

We tested the best business laptops - and these will pair great with the Lexar Professional SL600