Transcend Information ESD200 portable SSD review

HDDs are facing a major sweep by the new SSD revolution. The Transcend Information ESD200 portable solid-state drive is one of the major blows given to old portable-storage concepts.

Based on a 1.8-inch internal drive, the Transcend Information ESD200 portable solid-state drive is much more compact than its traditional 2.5 inch counterparts. Using an SSD storage, it offers one of the best performance in the market. We have chosen this drive for our best portable external SSD list.

However, the biggest downside of the drive is the limited amount of storage space it offers compared to its expensive price; costing about $160 and $300 for 128 GB and 256 GB, respectively. In addition to this, its software and backup features are just about normal. Having said that, the new Transcend ESD200 still offers a super fast little portable drive to accompany your USB 3.9 enabled laptop.

Transcend ESD200 is one of the best external SSD in the market

Why is the ESD200 a different exquisite story in the SSD world? Simply because the market has not offered portable external drives beyond the 2.5 inch internal drives. The new unit ESD200 uses a 1.8-inch internal drive on the inside and for that reason it’s slightly shorter and narrower than a deck of playing cards, and just half the thickness. Such compact design along with its very light weight makes easily to slip the drive inside your pocket or purse.

However, there is a slight take on the ESD200, which is the capacity. It is available in only 128 GB and 256 GB capacities. Although these are large enough to carry a sizable iTunes library with you on the go, other 2.5 inch drives can offer up to 2TB of storage space.

The new drive still has a good offering for the users of the MacBook Air and similar ultrabooks. It’s one of the best external SSD for Apple MacBook Pro. It can double or triple the laptop’s storage space, making it also perfect as a portable Time Machine backup drive.

The ESD200 has a standard Micro-USB 3.0 port. It comes with a standard USB 3.0 cable. This is the only cable you will need with the drive, as it handles both data and power needs. The drive also comes with a small pouch that keeps it from being scratched up during travel.

For writing and reading purposes, the drive works immediately out of the box. It is formatted using the FAT32 file system and therefore works with both Windows and Mac. However, FAT32 can’t store files that are larger than 4GB. Carrying large files on the go means you will need to reformat the drive into NTFS or HFS+ to be used exclusively with Windows or Mac, respectively. The reformatting process should be very easy and fast. So now when you are looking for a solid state external hard drive pay this drive your attention.

Transcend ESD200 boasts of high performance and tiny outer shape

Mediocre backup feature

As a portable drive, the ESD200 strictly is very handy. To perform operations using its software and features might be a little tricky.

There is a One-Touch backup button near the USB port. According to the user manual, to use this button, “You must first run the preloaded Transcend Elite software (located in the Transcend Elite directory of your SSD)”. Although this might sound easy enough, however upon testing, it was anything but, since out of the box the drive was empty with nothing preloaded to it. Researching, you can download the software from Transcend’s Web site. After copying the software onto the drive, I still couldn’t figure out how to make it work with the button, and there were no further instructions.

Backups are a few of the tasks the Transcend Elite software can do. The drive has much to offer. However the One-Touch button is unnecessary. The drive could use some huge improvement in terms of ease of use, because figuring how each function works was quite hard. Moreover, there seemed to be several unnecessary steps needed to get one simple task done.

In all, you should skip the drive’s features and just use it as a blank medium.

Fast performance

The ESD200’s performance is the biggest compensation for its flimsy software and backup features. The drive is among the fastest as long as you use it with USB 3.0. Attesting to this, the drive registered sustained speeds of about 145 MBps for writing and 213 MBps for reading when used with USB 3.0; easily topping the charts of portable storage devices. It was even faster than the LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt, both when it was used with Thunderbolt and with USB 3.0. This drive is one of the best USB 3.0 external SSDs on the market today.

Using an external SSD hard drive is a trend that has been increasing rapidly

Such results were altered when the drive was used with USB 2.0. It only registered 26 MBps and 32 MBps for writing and reading, respectively, which is slightly below the average. This is such a bad news for computers that only support USB 2.0 as a lot will be missed out.

Note that, generally, a USB 3.0 port is colored blue.

In terms of noise, the ESD200, which has no moving parts like traditional HDD, was completely quiet and produced no vibration even during heavy loads. The drive also consumes less energy. This makes it an even better laptop companion, compared with platter-based portable drives.


Although the Transcend ESD200 capacity barely reaches 256GB, and its bundled software is useless, it is super compact and super fast. It is a premium product for users with small laptops or an ultrabook that supports USB 3.0. It performs very well at such a small size which beats all its market counterparts. In a nutshell, the Transcend ESD200 offers an exquisite storage and backup drive for USB 3.0 enabled laptops.

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