While in the Faroe Islands, SanDisk Europe asked me to field test the SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD drive. I was eager to get my hands on one, as a secure image backup while traveling is essential, while the performance and speed of an SSD allows for fast file transfers and image editing.

Testing the SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD Key Features

SanDisk built the Extreme 510 portable SSD to as a go-anywhere backup solution. They call it a high-performance, all-terrain, water-resistant drive designed for photographers, videographers and creative professionals. Over my two-week visit to the Faroe Islands, I decided to put its key features to the test. Here’s what I discovered.

Durability

SanDisk build this drive to take a beating. The SSD drive is built with a rubber bumper and IP55 resistance against water and dust. It can handle falls up to 1.8 m (5.9 feet).

If you followed my Instagram Stories throughout my trip, you’d have seen me truly testing this feature. I poured 500 ml of water on it. I threw it out of my camera bag onto some rocks. I had a client walk over it. It survived every test.

Speed

It’s lightening fast for a backup solution. It’s out of the box stats promise a read speed up to 430 mb/sec and write speeds near 400 mb/sec.

I didn’t bust out the stopwatch; however, it was immediately obvious that the drive was faster than any portable hard drive I’d previously used. I tested this in two different ways. First, I transferred 32 GB memory cards directly to the hard drive. Next, I edit images in Lightroom that were stored directly on the drive.

Both tests proved obviously faster than read/write times on my 2 tb WD My Passport drive.

Portability

SanDisk built the hard drive with a metal clip that’s meant to make carrying the hard drive easy. It’s possible to clip it on a key chain or on the outside of a backpack.

Throughout my visit in the Faroe Islands, I did make use of the clip just to test the hard drive’s durability, but let’s be honest. When I am using this hard drive as my true backup, I’m not going to have it dangling on the outside of my backpack. I’m glad its built rugged, but I’m still going to do my best to protect it, so it’ll live in my camera bag where my other hard drives always have.

Capacity

It’s a 480 gb SSD. It’s smaller than most hard drives I use, but it doesn’t affect my workflow too much, if my photography assignment doesn’t create more than 480 gb of files.

This is a good moment to talk about backing up images during a travel assignment. My workflow is simple. I need to have three copies of a file before I’ll reformat my memory cards. On most trips, I copy all images to my laptop and then transfer the files to two matching hard drives. One hard drive goes in my hand luggage, while the other goes in my checked bag. This keeps them separate, which reduces the chance for theft.

When I get home, I transfer the files off my SSD or laptop onto three separate hard drives. I have two matching 8 tb hard drives that hold all my working files. I make sure to sync them regularly. The third backup is a small external drive which I can easily store offsite or carry with me on a trip just in case something happens (flood, fire, theft) at home.

Conclusion About the SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD

Working remotely with the SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD drive

SSD drives are the safest way to store files, so naturally using the SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD drive comes with an immediate benefit of security. Now that I own one, it’ll be my go-to backup system. These hard drives aren’t cheap, at least compared to the usual 2 tb My Passport hard drives I usually buy, but I’d rather spend an extra $100 than lose images from an exciting adventure.

For Canadians, they’re available on Amazon.ca for $268. For Americans, they’re $200 at BH Photo.