If good things come in small packages, then the truism reigns supreme in the case of the Envoy Pro Elektron. It’s small, it’s good–by good I mean it’s rugged, fits easily in a shirt pocket, and delivers 1GBps reads and writes over SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps. (If you’re not up to speed to the latest USB naming conventions, that’s USB 3.X Gen 2.) 

Design and specs 

The Envoy Pro Elektron is a small, silvery rectangle measuring 2-inches wide (the site says 2.1), by 3-inches long, by 0.5-inches thick. The bottom is heavily beveled on three sides with two rubberized strips inlaid cross-wise to keep it from sliding about. They’re surprisingly effective.

On one end is the Type-C port which is labeled USB 3.2 10Gbps so you don’t confuse it with Thunderbolt, and on the other is a narrow slit containing the drive status light. I like the look. It’s on the hefty side at 3.1 ounces, but I like things that sit solidly in my hand. A misspent youth skipping stones I suppose. Or maybe warding off muggers in NYC.

The kicker is, the Envoy Pro Elektron is ruggedized to the tune of IP67. That’s Ingress Protection rating 67, meaning you can drop it into 3 meters of water for 30 minutes (and likely longer) without ill effect. It also indicates that the unit is sealed from dust. Basically, you use it around the kiddy pool or victual tables, as well as crossing a desert without worrying about it. 

elektron usb port OWC

The OWC Envoy Pro Elektron’s labeled USB Type-C port.

OWC includes a standard, heavy-duty Type-C to Type-C USB cable and a Type-C to Type-A (old-school) USB adapter. The drive, which uses an Aura NVMe SSD internally, arrives formatted to exFAT (compatible with Mac and Windows) with a 200MB partition containing helper software, should you need that. You can use the Mac’s Disk Utility app to format it to a Mac-only format, if you wish.

Pricing is $99 for the 250GB capacity, $149 for the 500GB, $199 for the 1TB and $369 for the 2TB. Not bad if you consider the IP67 rating and testing. That said, I should mention WD’s My Passport SSD which is just as fast and a bit cheaper, if not as satisfying in the tactile sense (it’s very light).

Performance

Though there was a bit of excitement in the lab when the PCWorld test bed threw some screwy numbers at me, a BIOS reset sent the Envoy Pro Elektron merrily on its 1GBps way. The opinion CrystalDiskMark 6 rendered is shown immediately below.

owc envoy elektron4 IDG

The Envoy Pro Elektron turned in a very good performance for a 10Gbps USB drive.

BlackMagicDesign’s Disk Speed thought similarly, albeit not quite as highly on the Macbook Pro. Keep in mind that this was exFAT not native HFS+ or APFS.  

screen shot 2020 12 18 at 11.36.03 am 2 IDG

BlackMagicDesign’s Disk Speed saw transfers approaching 900MBps, good for USB 10Gbps on the Mac. 

I also threw our usual array of real world 48GB and 450GB transfers and the drive never once flinched. It took 6 minutes, 32 seconds to read and write both a single 48GB file and a 48GB set of files and folders. That’s a little under 500MBps. It maintained about that rate writing the 450GB single file as well. Good stuff, if not the fastest 10Gbps performance we’ve seen.

One oddity I notice in Windows was the that main partition didn’t show up under Properties/Tools/Optimize. The “recovery” partition did, but that didn’t do any good. Instead of my usual format/optimize between tests, I simply formatted and waited, hoping the drive would take the down time to perform housekeeping.

Good stuff

Though it’s a bit pricey, there’s no way I’m recommending against this product. It ticks all the boxes: looks, speed, and durability. If you’ve the money, you’ll like it. 

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