Sabrent Rocket Pro review: An external SSD capable of keeping up with internal drives

Sabrent Rocket Pro
Sabrent Rocket Pro (Image credit: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

There are plenty of scenarios where an SD card simply won't do, and that's where external drives come into play. Larger capacities are often more affordable than SD counterparts, and SSDs are becoming vastly cheaper to own. Sabrent has the Rocket Pro SSD series out that ranges from 256GB up to 2TB, wrapped in an all-aluminum enclosure.

Starting from just $80 for the 256GB variant, how does this drive hold up for the price?

You'll love taking the Sabrent Rocket Pro with you

The Sabrent Rocket Pro is essentially a Sabrent Rocket NVMe drive (the rectangular design gives this away) inside an aluminum shell with a small interface PCB to make it all work through USB. It measures in at just 413mm x 177mm x 55mm, making it incredibly compact and ideal for carrying around.

The Sabrent Rocket Pro packs an overkill NVMe SSD inside for rapid performance.

For photographers and other creators who work in the field with camera equipment and notebooks, it's essential to have sturdy storage at hand for transferring content across devices. An SSD bolted to the inside of an aluminum shell just about covers that with some rubber feet on the underbelly for some grip.

It's a simple but lovely design that fits right in with hardware from Microsoft, Apple, Lenovo, Dell, and other manufacturers. It's not light either, coming in at 0.425 kg. Sabrent nailed the build quality, design, and measurements, making it ideal for carrying around, but what about specifications of the SSD itself?

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Capacity256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
InterfaceUSB 3.2 Type-C
Transfer speedUp to 1,000 MB/s

Sabrent Rocket Pro

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

The drive itself is available in a variety of capacities, including 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB. The largest capacity being ample enough for video and photo storage. The interface used is USB 3.2, so if you have anything older than that on your device, you may suffer reduced transfer speeds.

Speaking of which, Sabrent promises speeds of up to 1,000MB/s, and upon connecting the drive, we were able to hit just shy of 900MB/s. Not too bad. I've seen reports from owners of exceeding 900MB/s, so I'm assuming it's down to the motherboard I'm using to test. (I, unfortunately, do not have another USB 3.2 port at hand.)

Sabrent Rocket Pro

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

900MB/s is nothing to scoff at either. You could move a HD movie in but a few seconds. Throw in a bunch of RAW photos as I did for some additional real-world testing, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how speedy an external drive can be. This doesn't shock me since inside, and we're looking at a Rocket NVMe drive with speeds of 3,000MB/s and beyond. This drive is limited by USB 3.2.

What you might dislike about the Sabrent Rocket Pro

Sabrent Rocket Pro

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

There's, unfortunately, a lack of any carry pouch or accessory for this external drive. That's not a massive issue if you take care of all your hardware, but sometimes accidents happen, and the Rocket Pro won't always be protected inside a notebook bag. It would have been helpful for a sleeve or something similar to be included.

I also understand it's 2020, but a paper manual would have been welcome to showcase some of the features and software one can download to improve the user experience. For instance, there's a firmware update available online, but there's no mention inside the packaging as to where one can locate such files. Even a small note would suffice.

Should you buy the Sabrent Rocket Pro?

Sabrent Rocket Pro

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

Whether you have a newer laptop with only USB-C or an older device with slower USB 3.0 ports, you'll be able to use the Sabrent Rocket Pro without issue. Speeds are great with USB 3.2, allowing you to easily achieve up to 1,000MB/s as rated by the company. It's a solid choice for an external storage drive.

The only real drawback here is the lack of any carry case or protective bag. Since there's no way to attach the SSD to anything, it would have been good to see such an accessory included to keep it secured when not stored away. Still, in terms of raw performance, value, pricing, and design, the Rocket Pro is excellent.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.