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I stress-tested this rugged external drive. Now, it goes with me everywhere

The Orico Mecha O20 is a shockproof, dust- and water-resistant external drive that's as lightweight as it is durable.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Orico Mecha O20
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Orico Mecha O20 is available on Amazon for $240.
  • It's a lightweight and durable external drive that has no problem going on adventures.
  • Performance is not quite as good as advertised.

There are a lot of external SSDs on the market, but most are designed to be kept safe at home or in the office, out of the elements. There are, however, a select few that dare you to take them along on your adventures.

Also: The best external hard drives you can buy: Expert tested

One such device waiting to be strapped to a backpack to is the Orico Mecha O20. This is a durable, weather-resistant external drive that is more than ready to accompany you on your adventures, wherever you may be going. 

View at Amazon

Orico Mecha O20 tech specs

  • NAND Flash: QLC
  • Transfer Rate: 20 Gbps
  • Capacity Options: 512GB, 1T, 2TB
  • Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
  • Material: Alloy and silicone
  • Dimensions: 141.5 x 55 x 16 mm
  • Color Options: Black, White, Green, Orange
  • Support System: Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android
  • Package Includes: Portable SSD, 0.3 m length USB-C to USB-C/A 

Take a high-speed SSD and wrap it in tough alloy and silicone armor, and you have the Mecha O20. This clever combination allows the alloy to dissipate the heat generated by the drive, while the silicone surround provides excellent shock resistance. 

Plus, there's a silicone plug covering the USB-C port, offering comprehensive protection rated to IP54 against water and dust intrusion. This ensures the internal components of the drive stay safe and your data remains accessible. And best of all, it's not bulky in the least.

The Orico Mecha O20 has a thin design despite the rugged chassis.

The Orico Mecha O20 has a thin design despite the rugged chassis.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

As a test, I dangled this SSD off my backpack during a few small adventures where it was exposed to rain, dirt, and sand. It shrugged off everything with ease, proving its durability and resilience in real-world conditions.

Also: This $20 USB-C cable includes a surprisingly awesome feature

As for performance, the Mecha O20 did quite well, achieving read speeds of around 900 MB/s and write speeds of 1,660 MB/s. While these results fall short of Orico's maximum specs of 2,050 MB/s for read speeds and 1,800 MB/s for writes, they still offer reasonably acceptable performance.

Orico Mecha O20 speed test using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test.

Orico Mecha O20 speed test using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Note: My performance tests were carried out on a 2023 M3 Max MacBook Pro running the most up to date macOS.

In terms of temperature, there's very little to report, which is a good thing. I've used external SSDs that get blisteringly hot when pushed hard, but the alloy chassis of the Mecha O20 did a great job of dissipating heat. While it got warm to the touch, it never became uncomfortably hot. 

The included USB-C cable has an interchangeable USB-C/USB-A adapter, making it compatible with both new and old systems.

Interchangeable USB-C/USB-A adapter.

The included interchangeable USB-C/USB-A adapter.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's buying advice

The Orico Mecha O20 might not be the fastest external SSD around, but that is offset by its durability. This is a drive that's just as happy out in the wilderness clipped to a backpack as it is on a desk in an air-conditioned office. And it's that durability that gives it an edge over the competition.

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