Review: OWC Envoy Pro EX with USB-C
Time is money. Whether you’re travelling the world to take wildlife photos, or working in a corporate setting, getting things done fast can make a huge difference in your performance. With deadlines to be met, having a high-capacity hard drive can help you immensely.
Even if you have the fastest laptop, if you are running out of storage, your work will slow down.
The OWC Envoy Pro EX is the kind of product that lives up to its name. A “pro” external hard drive, it offers up to 4TB of storage and lightning-fast file transfers. The Envoy Pro EX is a handy accessory that can free up space whenever you need it.
The OWC Envoy Pro EX USB-C is a sleek, light silver hard drive that matches the Apple aesthetic — which is expected since the OWC has been making Mac accessories for years. It comes in an anodized aluminium casing that complements Mac laptops but looks as great next to Windows PCs. We would have wanted to see them in other colours to match different types of computers. It measures 2.6 inches wide, 4.5 inches long, and 0.4 inches thick (or should we say thin) and features a USB-C type port and an activity light on opposite ends.
The drive is IP67 certified, which means that it’s both waterproof and dustproof, making it ideal for any scenario. Whether you’re on a business trip or vacation, the Envoy Pro EX is bound to keep your data secure 24/7.
At $1100, the OWC Envoy Pro EX definitely isn’t cheap, but considering its 4TB capacity and rugged design, it’s worth your money. The Envoy Pro EX comes in 240GB ($119), 480GB ($170), 1TB ($249), and 2TB ($479) storage capacities.
Rugged and Durable
Unlike most rugged drives that come in bulky rubber casings, the Envoy Pro EX draws its strength from within. It doesn’t compromise aesthetics for durability, because it relies on its aluminium shell to keep it safe.
As we mentioned earlier, the Envoy Pro EX carries an IP67 rating, which means that it’s waterproof, and can handle a depth of up to 3.2 feet or 1 meter in water. If you accidentally drop the drive in a pool or puddle, you can safely fish it out as long as it isn’t plugged into a computer during its plunge. Don’t let its shiny silver shell fool you — the Envoy Pro EX is extremely durable with its shockproof case that feels strong and sturdy.
The Envoy Pro EX is supported by several software options like MacDrive, which makes transferring data between macOS and Windows operating systems easier. It also supports Disk Aware, which analyzes your drive and shows which files are taking up most of the space.
All versions of its software are backed up with a three-year warranty.
OWC claims that the Envoy Pro EX is one of the fastest USB Type-C SSDs on the market. It can be connected to both USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C-to-C cables or a Type-C-to-A cable in case your laptop or PC doesn’t have a USB-C port.
The Envoy uses an NVMe M.2 SSD with a maximum transfer rate of 980MP/s. We put this to the test below:
BlackMagic 3.1 Disk Speed Test
BlackMagic Disk Speed Test was designed to help videographers determine how well a drive will perform when transferring large video files. We tested it against two other drives: the ADATA SE760 Ultra Fast and the Crucial X8.
The OWC Envoy Pro EX comes close to its competitors with 929 MB/s read and 936 MB/s write speeds. Crucial X8 came close with 822 MB/s read and 935 MB/s write. So far, the OWC is leading the competition.
PCMag Folder Test
We tested its drag-and-drop capacity with the classic stopwatch method, copying 1.2GB worth of files containing different types, such as documents, images, and videos. We performed this test using a 2016 MacBook Pro.
Here, the OWC Envoy Pro EX was one second slower than its competitors: the Crucial X8 and SanDisk Extreme Pro, which could both transfer 1.2GB in 2 seconds — but in the real world, would you even notice?
We used PCMark to test the drive’s performance under typical day-to-day workloads such as word processing and conferencing. The OWC Envoy Pro EX fell short, with a storage test score of 5,001. The Crucial X8 got the highest score of 5,039, followed by the SanDisk Extreme Pro with a score of 5,026.
Finally, we tested the drive using Crystal DiskMark, which measures the sequential read and write performance of a drive when it handles massive amounts of data at once. The ADATA SE760 Ultra Fast outperformed the Envoy Pro EX with a sequential read score of 960 — which isn’t that bad, since Envoy came close at just 957 anyway.
The OWC is not the fastest USB Type-C drive out there, but the differences in speed are extremely minimal that you wouldn’t even notice it. You’d have to be holding a stopwatch every time to detect the differences.
The question is, “Should you buy it?”
We’re confident to say that yes, you should. If you really need it, the OWC Envoy Pro EX is not a bad choice. It comes in a clean silver enclosure that goes well with your existing devices. It’s lightweight and thin enough to fit inside your pocket if you’re a rugged traveller.
Although it didn’t quite live up to its claim of 980 MB/s transfer rate, it performed well in our tests and even outperformed its competitors such as the Crucial X8 and ADATA SE760 Ultra Fast. For a drive of its size, the results were impressive. The Envoy Pro EX USB-C would make a useful addition to any professional’s accessories.