Tech

LaCie Rugged Mini SSD review: Eye-catching design and performance

LaCie Rugged Mini SSDImage: Jon L. Jacobi

At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

Fits in a shirt pocketFast 20Gbps USB performanceGood lookingShock-reducing silicone jacket

Cons

Type-C cover isn’t captive

Our Verdict

The LaCie Rugged Mini SSD offers good performance plus style to spare. There’s also a software bundle, a longer than average warranty, as well as free data recovery should you need it.

Price When Reviewed

1TB – $84.99; 2TB – $109.99; 4TB – $159.99; 5TB – $179.99

Best Prices Today: LaCie Rugged Mini SSD

RetailerPriceAmazon$79.99View DealLacie$84.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

LaCie has vended some of the most stylish external storage on the market. The Rugged Mini SSD reviewed here follows suit with a Neil Poulton designed shock-absorbing sleeve that’s the larger part of a distinctive, attractive look. The Rugged Mini is fast, fits in your pocket, and looks good doing it!

Further reading: See our roundup of the best external drives to learn about competing products.

What are the Rugged Mini SSD’s features?

The LaCie Rugged Mini SSD is a 20Gbps USB external SSD sporting a Type-C connector, so it’s compatible with all Windows and Mac computer, and most other devices. The internals are NVMe, and no doubt Seagate, as that’s the parent company to LaCie.

The drive measures just over 4-inches long, by 2.61-inches wide, by 0.675-inches thick with its bright orange, shock-absorbing cover on, and 3.7-inches long, by 2.32-inches wide, by a hair under 0.5-inches thick without it. The weight is 3.6 ounces (cover on).

As for the sleeve/cover, SSDs are already extremely rugged in terms of g-forces, so the jacket isn’t as beneficial a feature as it might be on a hard drive. In other words, it’s primarily for looks. As fo that…

You probably won’t want to remove the sleeve, since without it, the drive is a rather bland silver rectangle with putty-colored end caps and a large sticker denoting its place of manufacture and assembly (Taiwan and Thailand). In other words, not so attractive.

Jon L. Jacobi

Which brings me to my only complaint — the cover for the Type-C port isn’t captive. Unless you’re more consistent than I am with where you place things, this is a sure recipe for losing said cap.

There’s no IP (Ingress Protection, aka weatherproofing) rating claim so that’s not an issue. Also, we’ve also seen a number of uncovered Type-C ports on IP-rated Bluetooth speakers, so the cover might not be needed. Regardless, if a plug is included, it should be captive.

The LaCie Rugged Mini SSD carries a three-year limited warranty, but LaCie didn’t say what the limits were. Severe physical damage no doubt and probably excessive amounts of data written to the drive, though the company didn’t provide any TBW (terabytes that may be written) ratings.

What LaCie does provide is useful software (backup and security) and a free recovery service should you need it (heaven forbid!). Beyond that, the company also touts construction that uses at least 30 percent recycled materials. Every little bit helps!

How much is the LaCie Rugged Mini SSD?

The Rugged Mini SSD retails for $80 for the 500GB capacity, $120 for the 1TB, $190 for 2TB, and $350 for the 4TB model. That’s fairly reasonable given the nice styling and the cost of NVMe SSDs these days.

How fast is the LaCie Rugged Mini SSD?

The Rugged Mini is the third-fastest 20Gbps SSD we’ve tested, right behind the amazing USB4 OWC 1M2 and the Crucial X10. It placed 5th overall among external SSDs when you factor in the Thunderbolt 3 Sandisk Pro-G40 and OWC Envoy Pro FX.

The CrystalDiskMark 8 sequential tests shown bear out its placement in the upper echelon.

CrystalDiskMark 8 also showed the Rugged Mini’s random performance to be quite good — depending on the test.

The Rugged Mini fell a bit off the pace in our 48GB copies. This is not a bad time, as you can see from the Samsung T9, but it’s not a great time like that delivered by the OWC 1M2.

The Rugged Mini redeemed itself with an outstanding 450GB write time. It did eventually run out of steam (aka secondary cache) at which point the write speed dropped to around 200MBps. Not fantastic, though few people will ever write a terabyte of solid data in one sitting.

While not the the fastest of the fast, the Rugged Mini can at least claim a seat at the table. Subjectively, you’ll no doubt find it quite speedy.

Should you buy the LaCie Rugged Mini SSD?

The Rugged Mini SSD should absolutely be on your short list of small USB SSDs. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s among the best, and hey… it’s orange!

Best Prices Today: LaCie Rugged Mini SSD

RetailerPriceAmazon$79.99View DealLacie$84.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

Jon Jacobi is a musician, former x86/6800 programmer, and long-time computer enthusiast. He writes reviews on TVs, SSDs, dash cams, remote access software, Bluetooth speakers, and sundry other consumer-tech hardware and software.

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