February 19, 2013, 1:59 PM — There are two things about the ESD200 USB 3.0 Portable SSD, Transcend's new external solid-state drive, that impressed me: Its speed and its diminutive size.
Conversely, there was one thing that I didn't like about the drive: The somewhat kludgey backup software that you're required to download (rather than it being included on the drive).
A little smaller than a playing card and weighing just 1.9 oz., the ESD200 packs either 128GB or 256GB of storage into a small form factor that also has data management and backup software.
Transcend ESD200 USB 3.0 Portable Solid State Drive
The SSD is 3.6 x 2.4 x 0.4 in. and fits nicely into a shirt or pants pocket. A dual-color LED indicator in the top corner of the drive tells you whether your system is using USB 3.0 (blue) or USB 2.0 (green) to connect to it. It ships with a USB 3.0 cable (which was missing from my review unit).
The drive has a one-touch auto-backup button that activates the Transcend Elite data management software, which is also usable on the company's JetFlash USB flash drive and StoreJet external hard drives.
The ESD200 uses MLC NAND flash memory with a lithography size of 21 nanometers. According to Transcend, it boasts a rating of one million hour meantime between failures.
I'm going to be candid about my feelings with regard to "one-touch" backup drives. I don't like them. They're typically not intuitive to set up.
Unfortunately, the Transcend Elite free backup software doesn't come pre-installed on the drive. You have to go onto Transcend's website, download the backup application, transfer it to the drive, open it and go through more than a half dozen steps to create your first backup. After that, you can use the physical one-push button on the drive to perform subsequent backups.
The software offers 256-bit AES file encryption, so as you back up and compress your data, it can also be encrypted.