Pros: Large storage density, Price, Impressive performance, Bootable, Rugged design
Cons: Lower than advertised performance in most situations
The box lists all the key features like the fact that the Pocket SSD doesn't require additional power and can achieve up to 455MBps read and 440Mbps write. The back lists tech and warranty specs. Inside the SSD is an LSI SandForce 2281 controller capable of up to 39,000 IOPS. The drive is over provisioned by 7% to prevent future data loss. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux.
The unit is just over 3.5" long and features a substantial metal outer covering. Along with protecting the internals, it also acts as a heatsink. The raised grooves and rubber center provide plenty of grip ensuring the drive won't fall out of your hands. In the unlikely case that that would happen you would still be protected- the thing is built like a tank. A rubber cap sits on the end to cover the USB connector. It is snug and won't easily fall off. While in use the cap fits on the key chain ring at the end of the drive. This metal connector won't easily break and should last for a long time even with substantial abuse.
The drive is a bit wider than most typical USB devices so there could be some compatibility issues on devices like laptops. The only notable physical feature is the green activity LED in the front. Other than that it is a metal box with a USB3.0 connector on the end.
Moving on to performance test now. VisionTek advertises speeds up to 455MBps read and 440Mbps write. Those are ideal numbers under certain conditions. Benchmarks like ATTO which use highly compressible data will reach right up to those advertised speeds.
For Crystal Disk and AS SSD, benchmarks that generally use incompressible data, we see very different results. These numbers are more telling of performance in day to day use. Most workloads deal with a combination of compressible and incompressible data so expect numbers in between. Most likely you won't notice a huge reduction in performance unless you do lots of content creation or storage intensive work. I found HD video file transfer speeds to be between 100MBps and 180Mbps. This is 2-3 times faster than normal USB3.0 drives and 10 times faster than USB2.0 drives.
In terms of real world performance tests, the Pocket SSD stands out as a portable windows boot drive. It is just the right size for a Windows installation with a few additional programs. This is perfect for an IT professional or anyone who regularly troubleshoots computers. Instead of carrying around a hard drive with an external adapter or a DVD drive with installation media, they can use the Pocket SSD. I achieved an average Windows 8.1 boot time of 13.87 seconds. This is pretty impressive considering a top-of-the-line SSD booted the same image in 11.15 seconds. Windows sees the drive as just another hard drive.
To conclude, the VisionTek 120GB Pocket SSD is a very interesting product. It offers SSD like speeds in a USB drive footprint. Although you won't achieve the advertised speeds on most workloads, they are still possible too far off. Coming in at only $100, the Pocket SSD offers tremendous cost per gigabyte. It offers high speeds in a portable, rugged design while not breaking the bank. I don't really think you can go wrong with the VisionTek USB Pocket SSD.