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I didn't think I could get excited about an external SSD again. They're normally just boxes with storage drives in the inside that you don't pay attention to until they fill up or die.
The Dockcase Pocket M.2 NVMe Smart SSD Enclosure rewrites the rules by making the external drive small enough to fit on a keychain, and yet still having enough space for a display that tells you everything you need to know related to the storage drive's health and performance.
Supported SSD type: M Key M.2 (NVMe/PCIe), B&M Key M.2 (NVMe/PCIe), so support for M.2 SATA
Supported SSD capacity: Up to 2TB
Supported SSD length: 2230
Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps), Type C
Accessories: 30cm braided USB-C cable
Before I go any further, I feel the need to say that this project is currently at the crowdfunding stage, and it's important for backers to be aware that there are risks and the potential for delays and other issues.
For my part in carrying out due diligence, I only cover crowdfunding projects run by companies that are established (Dockcase has been designing and manufacturing Type-C products for the past six years), has a track record of delivering products (this is the company's ninth crowdfunding project), and can get me a sample for testing.
There's also a graphite thermal pad on the lid that helps dissipate the heat (and it does an amazing job).
The screen on the enclosure shows a lot of useful information, including drive brand and capacity, read/write speeds, temperature, drive health, and much, much more.
The information is so useful that I'm surprised I've not seen this level of detail on an external storage drive before.
The screen is also nice and bright, and everything is controlled by a single button. This might seem simple, but it does mean having to remember what different combinations of long and short presses do. In short, the downside of simplicity is that things can get complicated.
External SSDs can get hot in use, but this enclosure does a really good job of dissipating the heat. I pushed it hard with over an hour of heavy reads and writes using Blackmagic's Disk Speed Test app, and while the enclosure got pretty warm during heavy use, it never got too hot to touch or posed a danger.
As for speeds, I was getting around 845 MB/s write speeds, and 895 MB/s read speeds on an M1 MacBook Pro.
To see how effective the cooling was, I ran the Pocket with the rear case open, and the temperatures shot up from about 40°C to 60°C, but returned back to normal in seconds after putting the lid back on. same for this line:
Built into the enclosure is a feature called PLP, or Power Loss Protection. While in use, the drive charges up a capacitor -- an electrical component that acts like a battery -- which allows the SSD enclosure to have up to three seconds of runtime in the event of power loss, helping to prevent data loss.
That's a nice touch.
As for downsides, it's important to note that the drive enclosure is not water resistant. Also, while the tempered glass over the top of the LCD display is tough, there always the potential for damage.
But, more generally, it's hard to fault this product.
The Pocket is one of those surprise products that I didn't expect to find all that interesting, but actually ended up being blown away by. For $69, the Dockcase Pocket M.2 NVMe Smart SSD Enclosure is a nice enclosure that's small, lightweight, highly portable, and cool in use. Also, it's built-in display is far from being a gimmick, and I was left wondering why other drives don't include this feature.