As with most things in the world today, the ability to personalize your storage is a luxury most of us have. With that said, vendors continually release new enclosure designs further widening the range of product from which we can choose. While many of these storage enclosures offer great performance, not all are created equal, and it really depends on how far the vendor is willing to go in delivering a product to market.
The VisionTek Wallet Drive ($19.99) is a minimalist enclosure for an internal hard drive or solid-state drive (SSD). It’s a good choice if you want to replace the internal drive in your laptop with a faster or larger one, but still want to keep the original drive (and data) handy. It may also appeal to you if you are the type of person that hates the look of traditional external hard drives. It looks like a paper address book or a pocket notebook, complete with a magnetic clasp to keep everything neat. If you have an internal hard drive or SSD lying around you’d like to use, the Wallet Drive is a handy, inexpensive fix.
The Wallet Drive from VisionTek is a rather unique spin on the traditional USB 3.0 storage enclosure. This solution is capable of holding a single 2.5″ hard drive or SSD up to 9.5mm thick rather easily, along with supporting the latest SATA 6GB/s interface. In addition, the Wallet Drive features an attached USB 3.0 cable that enables the solution to bus power drives and quickly store away.
Design and Features
With its permanently attached cable stowed away and hidden by the wraparound magnetic clasp, the Wallet Drive looks just like the sort of pocket notebook or Moleskine that you’d expect a wandering archeologist to have in their jacket pocket. Open the clasp and instead of a pad of paper, you’ll find space for a notebook-class hard drive with an internal SATA port built into one side. It measures about 0.78 by 4.25 by 3.25 inches (HWD) and weighs about 4 ounces with a drive installed.
The internal fixing has a screwless snap-in design so you can easily insert (or remove) a drive without tools. There is a small blue LED that shows solid for power and flickers during drive activity just like almost any other drive. The whole enclosure is bus powered and so needs no extra cables or power supply.
A plastic bracket is glued to the black, fine-grain leather shell, with a SATA connector built into the top inner surface. A 7-inch-long USB cable is permanently connected to the bracket, ensuring that you don’t leave your cable behind anywhere. The bracket is designed with industry specs to hold any 2.5-inch, 7mm- or 9mm-thick hard drive or SSD. The wallet comes with a cut to size high density foam pad that protects the inside of the wallet from scuffing from the drive surface and serves as packing if you insert an ultra thin 7mm height drive. Even with a 9.5mm mechanical hard disk inserted the complete package weighs only 4 ounces. Small pegs are molded into the sides of the bracket to hold the drive in place by its screwdriver holes. Essentially, the Wallet Drive holds the drive just like a smartphone case would hold a slab phone.
Being USB 3.0 it is pretty fast and backwards compatible with USB 2 at a slower transfer rate. The only caveat is that VisionTek say certain drives may require USB 3.0.
The case doesn’t have too much drop protection out in the open. Leather is comfy, but not too good at protecting a drive mechanism against impact. If you plan on carrying the Wallet Drive loose in your commute bag or a purse, you’re better off with a traditional metal- or polycarbonate-clad external drive enclosure.
We didn’t formally test the Wallet Drive, since its performance will totally depend on if you clip in a slower spinning hard drive or a speedy SSD. Since the enclosure is USB 3.0- and SATA I/II/III-compliant, it should be able to utilize the speed of what you’re using, whether it’s a SSD or a speedy hard drive. The enclosure is Mac- and Windows-compatible, depending solely on how you format the drive.
On the other hand, Tweak Town has tested this enclosure with an Intel 730 SSD on Windows 8.1 and MacBook Pro and got some pleasant results. “Testing the Wallet Drive, we first look at our results from Windows 8.1 and see that we were able to reach 392 MB/s read and 346 MB/s write.” Tyler Bernath, a product reviewer and author on Tweak Town website stated.
As for MacBook Pro, he further added: “Moving over to our MacBook Pro, we began testing the Wallet Drive on OS X 10.10. Here we came up with 388 MB/s read and 311 MB/s write.”
There is not a vast amount more to say about The VisionTek Wallet Drive. It is never going to look as slick as a dedicated pocket drive, but if you have spare notebook-class drives lying around that you’d like to continue to use on a part-time basis, or if you’ve just replaced the 2.5-inch internal drive in your PC, the VisionTek Wallet Drive is a good choice. It lets you carry your spare drive in style, and doesn’t take up too much space in your pocket.