Review: LaCie Mobile SSD is designed with Mac users in mind

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
The new LaCie Mobile SSD was designed with Mac users in mind, sporting a stylish diamond-cut enclosure, color-matched anodized aluminum, and a fast internal drive.

LaCie Mobile SSD
LaCie Mobile SSD


LaCie first debuted the new Mobile SSD in early 2019 during the Consumer Electronics Show alongside their Mobile Drive. The Mobile Drive is geared towards those needing higher capacity while the SSD is geared towards performance. The Mobile Drive ships with up to 5TB in capacity and the Mobile SSD can be maxed out with 2TB.

We've been using the Mobile SSD for our portable needs for the past couple weeks with our 15-inch MacBook Pro.




All about design

LaCie Mobile SSD
LaCie Mobile SSD


These new portable SSDs are well designed, implementing an "eye-catching diamond-cut" aluminum enclosure that is nearly seamless. The only seam to be found is on the underside, hidden under the bevel of the device.

LaCie Mobile SSD USB-C port
LaCie Mobile SSD USB-C port


Connectivity is provided by a single USB 3.1 Generation 2 type-C port which sits next to a subtle LED pinhole that flashes whenever the drive is in use. This light is a bit bright, but it does allow you to see it from many angles.

The space gray finish is a hair darker than the anodization of the Mac lineup, but it is a pretty close match. The machined corners can be a bit sharp and we'd appreciate maybe a carrying pouch to protect any other gear that gets tossed in with it. A bag would also allow you to store the cable too.

To give you an idea of the size, it is about the same width as an iPhone XS Max and a bit more than half as long. The thickness is roughly the same as well.

Dealing with data

In the box, LaCie includes both a USB-C to USB-C cable as well as a USB-C to USB-A cable. This ensures compatibility with the latest Macs, but still affords you the ability to use older hardware or PCs that still lack the convenient port.

USB-C cable
USB-C cable


The SSD is meant for performance and it does outpace any HDDs in the space -- as it easily should.

LaCie promises a max 540MB/s transfer rate. Out of the box, even though it is designed for Mac users, the drive is formatted in the universal ExFAT file system. In this state, we achieved write speeds of 477MB/s and read speeds of 516MB/s -- not far off from the expected performance.

LaCie Mobile SSD speed test
LaCie Mobile SSD ExFAT speed test


We did reformat it into APFS and still recorded the same results on the benchmark. ExFAT gives you benefits on external drives when going between macOS and Windows PCs, but otherwise, we tend to stick with Apple's file system which was designed with SSDs in mind.

To test a more common user workflow, we moved 216 files that weighed in at 7.64GB to the drive with the first test in ExFAT, and the second in APFS. When we moved the image files to the ExFAT formatted drive, it took 29.30 seconds to complete. After formatting to APFS, it only took 20.15 seconds.

This drive is, of course, compatible with Apple's Time Machine for backups, but you also have access to the LaCie Toolkit software which offers additional features such as mirroring a drive as well as backups.

Realiable storage

Mac users, in general, want a device that not only performs well but looks great too. That is what you can expect from LaCie devices. We love the design of the new Mobile SSD and we know we can count on it for backup our machine or editing video on the go.

LaCie Mobile SSD
LaCie Mobile SSD


It also comes with plenty of perks such as a free month of Adobe Creative Cloud with all apps. The Mobile SSD comes with a three-year warranty and three years of data recovery services should anything unexpectedly go awry.

Rating 4.5 out of 5

Where to buy

You can pick up the 1TB LaCie Mobile SSD from Amazon for $234.99. Apple also has them available in 500GB to 2TB configs running $139.95 to $499.95.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    This does looks good - historically, I've had awful luck with Lacie drives and reliability, but it's been a while since I used them and I will give this one a look. Would this be any better than a T5?
    edited February 25
  • Reply 2 of 15
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,511member
    Stupid, useless sharp edges. Big design fail. The Star Wars anti-aesthetic continues...
    edited February 25
  • Reply 3 of 15
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,934member
    flaneur said:
    Stupid, useless sharp edges. Big design fail. The Star Wars anti-aesthetic continues...
    Yeah it needs a chamfered edge....
  • Reply 4 of 15
    This does looks good - historically, I've had awful luck with Lacie drives and reliability, but it's been a while since I used them and I will give this one a look. Would this be any better than a T5?
    The Mac community's attachment to LaCie is weird and misguided and unfortunate. LaCie doesn't make hard drives (or SSDs), they make enclosures. Boxes. Western Digital and Samsung make storage. You don’t know what’s in the silly thing, you’re just paying for packaging.

    “Not ugly” is fine and all, but “not ugly” enclosures are more common than ever. It’s not the nineties anymore, bad industrial design is increasingly the exception now. 
    edited February 25 rotateleftbytewlym
  • Reply 5 of 15
    I’d be interested to know if you can boot from these drives and, if so, how the boot time compares to booting from the internal drive. That information would be a useful addition to the report.
  • Reply 6 of 15
    $500 for a 2TB SATA-III drive? In what world is that a good value? You can get a 2tb SSD and USB 3.1 gen 2 enclosure for HALF that. Absolutely ridiculous markup for a shiny enclosure. 

    Apple doesn’t even know how to label these properly, their pages say “USB-C USB 3.0 Thunderbolt 3” - WTF?
  • Reply 7 of 15

    applejeff said:
    I’d be interested to know if you can boot from these drives and, if so, how the boot time compares to booting from the internal drive. That information would be a useful addition to the report.
    You can, and it’ll be the same speed as any SATA-III SSD which is limited to 6Gbps. It’s gonna be slow compared to the internal storage on any modern Mac. 
  • Reply 8 of 15
    Quote 
    “The space gray finish is a hair darker than the anodization of the Mac lineup“

    Would be nice if Apple space gray was even consistent. The space gray external keyboard numeric keypad I have is darker than my 15 inch, but similar to a colleagues. Apple have not been consistent 
  • Reply 9 of 15
    Quote 
    “The space gray finish is a hair darker than the anodization of the Mac lineup“

    Would be nice if Apple space gray was even consistent. The space gray external keyboard numeric keypad I have is darker than my 15 inch, but similar to a colleagues. Apple have not been consistent 
    I think you're too sexy for space gray.
  • Reply 10 of 15
    I don't mind sharp edges mostly after the old plastic iPhones with rounded edges used to pop out of your hand like a slippery fish.  That said, what was going through the design team's mind by chamfering the corners .. those sharp points .. uggh.
  • Reply 11 of 15
    Eric_WVGG said:
    This does looks good - historically, I've had awful luck with Lacie drives and reliability, but it's been a while since I used them and I will give this one a look. Would this be any better than a T5?
    The Mac community's attachment to LaCie is weird and misguided and unfortunate. LaCie doesn't make hard drives (or SSDs), they make enclosures. Boxes. Western Digital and Samsung make storage. You don’t know what’s in the silly thing, you’re just paying for packaging.

    “Not ugly” is fine and all, but “not ugly” enclosures are more common than ever. It’s not the nineties anymore, bad industrial design is increasingly the exception now. 
    LaCie = Seagate for quite some time.
  • Reply 12 of 15
    So if you want sligtly slower speeds and working with Mac you go to Microcenter, buy 1TB SSD for $99 and put into similar enclosure (why do I need to use USB-C if USB 3 is fast enough for average SSD rates?) and you get about the same for around half price. Did that... and tones of video converting while working on external SSD drive like that with macOS.

    LaCie has always been cool, but a bit expensive as well.
  • Reply 13 of 15
    $499 for 2TB from Apple exclusive? I'd rather go with the Glyph 2TB USB 3.1 Type-C  SSD (two cords C --> C and A --> C) which is faster and smaller and 50 bucks cheaper from B&H w/o tax. I've got several of them from past sale purchases of different sizes including one large 4TB RAID 0 SSD at 800 MB/s and they are absolutely superb drives. Or B&H has another LaCie 2TB portable SSD with the same speed and cable config but not the cool outer shape of this one for $419 and no tax and no shipping. 

    When you see a third-party piece of hardware at Apple, know you'll pay a premium over the discounters ... full MSRP. 


  • Reply 14 of 15
    why do I need to use USB-C if USB 3 is fast enough for average SSD rates?
    USB-C is a connector which supports USB 3 (3.0 = 3.1 gen 1 at 5Gbps) and 3.1 gen 2 (10Gbps). The latter is preferable as the SATA-III interface caps at 6Gbps. Why NOT use USB-C to connect to either? As stated, the box contains a USB-C to A and USB-C to C cable.

    That said, you can get a USB 3.1 gen 2 over USB-C enclosure for about $14 on Amazon that works just fine and doesn't look terrible.
  • Reply 15 of 15
    This thread reminded me of my first LaCie hard drive, the Tsunami — I think it was 210MB and cost me close to $500 used. The design was very 90's and Apple-y for the era:


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