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RAVPower Mini SSD review: A speedy, portable drive smaller than a candy bar

Whether you need a zippy drive for your PC or console, RAVPower's Mini SSD likely fits the bill.

Portable hard drives usually aren't the sexiest things in the world, but they're often necessary for when you need to carry around sensitive files, store a batch of photos you just took, or just want to add some extra storage space to your game console.

That said, RAVPower has managed to make me believe external drive can be sexy with its new Mini SSD. The 500GB drive packs speedy transfer rates into a sleek package that is easy to slide in a bag on the go and looks downright handsome when in use. And it's smaller than a chocolate bar (well, most, anyway).

What you'll like about the RAVPower Mini SSD

RAVPower is a name you'll frequently see tossed around when discussing mobile accessories, right alongside Anker and Aukey. The company has a legacy of churning out some of the more solid power banks and wall chargers you can get your hands-on, and you can see that legacy stand out with the Mini SSD.

The construction of the Mini SSD is solid, with the drive wrapped in a simple shell made up of a gray metal bottom and a black plastic top. The whole package looks rather sleek, though my only gripe is that the black top portion is glossy, so it's a virtual breeding ground for fingerprints. What is most impressive about how the drive looks, however, is its size: it's only about four inches long and an inch wide.

The drive operates over a USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface, and you plug in through a USB-C port on one end. It's nice to see RAVPower adopting USB-C here, as it's something that all manufacturers should be striving to add on going forward. When it comes to connecting the drive to another device, however, you're thankfully not limited to USB-C; there are both USB-C-to-C and USB-A-to-C cables included in the box for all your connection needs.

RAVPower's Mini SSD made me believe portable drives can be sexy.

The Mini SSD comes with 500GB of storage, which is a sizeable chunk of space whether you're going to use it to carry files around or want to add some extra room to a game console. The drive is rated at speeds of up to 540MB/s, but I only managed to top out at read and write speeds of 425MB/s and 412MB/s, respectively. That's still pretty fast for an external drive, and I noticed a significant improvement in loading times when I was using the drive as extra storage for my Xbox One X.

If you're worried about heat at all, the RAVPower Mini SSD remains relatively cool when in operation. I didn't notice any significant upticks in heat while using it with my PC, and the drive only got up to what I would call "slightly warm" when under heavy use playing Far Cry 5 on my Xbox One X.

Lastly, those concerned about security will be happy to hear the RAVPower Mini SSD comes loaded with optional software to encrypt the drive. The software is stored on a separate part of the drive from the rest of your files, and you can get it set up right after connecting the drive to your PC. Doing so will lock your files behind a password prompt each time someone wants to access them.

What you'll dislike about the RAVPower Mini SSD

The only major complaint I have with the RAVPower Mini SSD is that I wasn't able to achieve the peak speeds of 540MB/s that it's rated for. It's true that most speed estimates that you see for drives are tested in perfect conditions, so you're unlikely to get the maximum rated performance on any drive. Still, there's plenty of headroom left above the 425MB/s that I topped out at in my testing.

If I were to nitpick, I'd like to see RAVPower replace the glossy plastic on the top of the drive with either a matte plastic or full metal enclosure in a future iteration. The current finish looks amazing out of the box, to be sure. But given the fact that you're likely to be handling the drive quite a bit as you take it on the go, the fingerprint magnet that is the top of the drive can look pretty gnarly after a while.

I also would like to see additional storage options in this form factor. The 500GB model is a decent amount of space, but there are likely to be plenty of people out there who either don't need that much space in a portable drive or who need much more.

So should you buy the RAVPower Mini SSD?

At $80, it's hard not to recommend the RAVPower Mini SSD. What you're getting for your money is a pretty speedy, super portable 500GB for a relatively affordable price. It's a nice little accessory to have for anyone has some large files they need to carry around with them, and it worked admirably as an added storage drive for my Xbox One X in my time with it.

The only hitch is that, at least for now, you're limited to the 512GB option. It'd be great to see RAVPower expand this form factor to additional sizes for those who may need a little more storage or a little less.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.