Netac ZX20 review: A tiny, external SSD that’s speedy but more expensive than expected

This portable SSD punches above its weight and will sustain a few knocks without any damage

Netac ZX20
(Image: © Desire Athow // Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The Netac ZX20 is a portable SSD that will struggle to compete against rivals because it is more expensive than most and doesn’t come with the attributes that would allow it to be called a rugged storage device. Even if it comes with a faster interface (Gen 3.2 2x2), the limited appeal of the latter means that Netac will need to significantly drop the price to influence my view.


  • +

    Good performance

  • +

    Has a carabiner hole

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    Three-year warranty


  • -

    Only available in 512GB/1TB capacities

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    USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 still a rarity

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    More expensive than the competition

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    No IP rating

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    No software bundle

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One-minute review

The Netac ZX20 is a portable solid state drive that is lightweight, fast, compact, reasonably solid and borrowed that orange carabiner hole from a popular rival: a useful feature to have for anyone who wants to secure their most precious data storage device.

Its (engineered) plastic casing makes it feel tacky but that’s preferable - in my view - to a full metal enclosure that scratches easily, is heavier and adds to the overall cost. The ZX20 comes with the strict minimum when it comes to accessories: just a couple of USB cables and a pouch and there is no bundled software. There’s no activity LED as well but that doesn’t bother me; what irks me more is the fact that it is only available in 512GB and 1TB capacities, rather small by today’s standards.

Just bear in mind that it doesn’t carry any IP or MIL-STD ratings; so don’t drop it in a glass of water to impress your coworkers, it is not a water resistant device. It still feels reasonably solid but be aware of its limitations (even if it includes a three-year warranty).

Netac claims that the drive should reach read/write speeds of up to 2GBps/1.7GBps thanks to its USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 interface. I never managed to match that because my laptop only supports USB 3.2 Gen 2, something to bear in mind if ever you want to buy with speed in mind. The drive was still plenty fast for everyday usage.

Even then, it is difficult to recommend the ZX20 given the plethora of alternatives, especially if you don’t have a laptop or desktop PC with USB 3.2 Gen 2x2. I’d recommend the Kingston XS2000 (which is cheaper, has a longer warranty and is waterproof) or the bargain basement Silicon Power PC60 if you don’t have a Gen 2x2 device. Note that I check prices on rather than relying on old and obsolete suggested retail prices.

Netac ZX20

(Image credit: Desire Athow // Future)

Netac ZX20: Pricing and availability

  • How much does it cost? $85.35 / £64.49 / AU$174.58
  • When is it available? Now
  • Where can you get it? In the US, UK, and Australia

In a fiercely competitive category, the ZX20 faces some tough competition; with little to differentiate between the products, it’s very often down to price and at the time of writing, that’s a game that the ZX20 is losing and one that ultimately prevents it from entering our best portable SSD buying guide.

Netac ZX20: Benchmark

You need a Gen 2x2 laptop or desktop computer to experience the full performance that the ZX20 promises to deliver: that’s a theoretical maximum of 20Gbps (2.5GBps). Netac says it will reach 2GBps/1.7GBps in real life but sadly I didn’t achieve those speeds because my test laptop has a USB 3.2 Gen 2, topping at 10Gbps. 

A laptop with USB 4 or Thunderbolt 4 (like the Apple MacBook Pro) will only achieve these speeds as well which clearly shows that Gen 2x2 doesn’t have a future. Neither Samsung nor Crucial, two of the bigger portable SSD vendors out there, have released USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 products.

That aside, the ZX20 achieved some great results that put it firmly in the top five external solid state drives I have tested to date. The drive didn’t warm up even under load.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Netac ZX20: Benchmark
Header Cell - Column 0 Read (MBps)Write (MBps)
AS SSD954847
Real Life459459
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Netac ZX20: Specs
Capacities available512GB, 1TB, 2TB
Size71.5 x 43.5 x 8mm
Enclosure MaterialABS Plastic
TechnologyUSB 3.2 Gen 2
Warranty (in years)3
Rated R/W speeds (MBps)2000 / 1700
Software BundleNo

Should I buy the Netac ZX20

Netac ZX20

(Image credit: Desire Athow // Future)

Buy it if...

You want a very small external SSD

The ZX20 is absolutely tiny (71.5 x 43.5 x 8mm) and is probably as thin as it gets given that you still need to account for the thickness of the USB-C connector.

Don't buy it if...

You want a true rugged portable SSD

The ZX20 is not a rugged external SSD although its design (including the carabiner) sort of alludes to it. Look elsewhere if you want something that’s a bit more sturdy.

You don’t have a device with a USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 connector

To make the most out of the USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 performance, you will need to have a compatible laptop or desktop, which is rarer than you think. Otherwise, you will be missing out on one of the main reasons to buy the ZX20.

You want the cheapest external SSD

The ZX20 is about twice the price of the cheapest external 1TB SSD we’ve found (that’s the Silicon PC60). The latter is thicker and slower than the ZX20 but that may be fine for users that only look for affordable storage.

Netac ZX20 alternatives

The PNY Elite X Pro looks a lot like the popular Samsung T7 (and the ZX20) but is smaller, cheaper and with a USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 interface.

The Silicon Power PC60 is bland, unassuming and average in everything except its price. It is an entry-level, affordable and capable device that is far, far cheaper than the competition.

The Kingston XS2000 portable SSD is a better alternative to the ZX20 with a cheaper price tag, a longer warranty and an IP rating.

How I tested the Netac ZX20

After having formatted the ZX20 to exFAT, I test it the same way I test other storage components (external HDD, microSD cards etc). I use the latest versions of CrystalDiskMark, Atto, AS SSD and AJA benchmarks, noting the best scores achieved in each. They are all free and can be downloaded by anyone. I then transfer a folder of files, roughly 10GB in size, to get a rough idea of real life performance.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.