Adata SE730H External SSD review

Adata SE730H External SSD review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

Since solid-state drives replaced hard disks as the primary storage medium, niche markets have emerged where performance is less important than the price per GB.

SSDs maintain their decade-old advantages of better performance, lower power consumption, and greater reliability regardless of improvements in magnetic technology.

Smaller manufacturers, however, have been forced to innovate in a market dominated by Samsung. We received Adata’s SE730H (not to be confused with the older SE730), a minuscule, ruggedized external SSD with a USB Type-C connector and great performance ratings.

Design

Adata ssd

The company calls it the most compact external SSD in the world. With dimensions of 72.7 x 44 x 12.2mm and a weight of only 37g excluding the cable, it has a smaller footprint than Samsung’s T3 and T5, and it is much lighter as well. But it’s a bit thicker, probably because IP68 certification requires a certain level of protection.

Among the few drives on the market with IP68 certification, this one is made of aluminum and rubber. The drive can remain under water (at 1.5m depth) for over an hour, as long as the cap covering the USB Type-C connector is firmly installed.

The SE730H also passes the MIL-STD-810G 516.6 impact resistance test, so accidental drops and shocks should not be a problem. In addition to the connector, the cap also hides an activity light that blinks when data is written or accessed.

Databank chose gold and red brushed metallic colors for the drive; we prefer the less flashy anthracite color of the Samsung T5, mainly because scratches will be less obvious. The unusual shape of the drive, which resembles a pinched oval cylinder from the side, makes it easier to hold because of superior grip.

On both sides of the device, you will also find plenty of logos and writing.

Hardware

Adata ssd

As with most of the Adata drives we have reviewed recently (Adata SSD Ultimate SU800, Adata SD700 External SSD, and the Adata SV620H), this drive is likely to have the same 3D TLC technology as its SU800 sibling.

We cracked open the device to find one chip encased with what felt like a Blutag, a large Adata 121104747533A03 chip, a Nanya 1711 nt5cc128M-161pd1 128MB buffer memory, and a VLI VL714-Q4  USB 3.1 to SATA 6Gb/s bridge module for the Type-C connector.

That earlier is connected to an M.2 2242 SSD, the same type of flash memory found in the SU800, OWC says is more durable and more efficient than 2D NAND, promising power efficiency of up to 25%.

The SE730H is available in 256GB and 512GB versions, and its operating temperature range is listed as 5°C (41°F) to 50°C (122°F). In addition to a standard three-year warranty, this SSD operates with a maximum power consumption of 4.5W (5V, 0.9A).

In use

Adata SE730H External SSD review

The bundle includes OStoGO and HDDtoGo. The first app provides an alternative method of installing operating systems without an optical drive. The second one is more of a toolkit that offers no-trace browsing, file synchronization, data compression, encryption, and so on.

According to Adata, the storage device can reach read/write speeds of 500MBps when connected to a USB 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps port. Using CrystalDiskMark, we measured 432MBps and 413MBps (read and write respectively) and 443MBps (both read and write) on Atto; Teracopy took 43 seconds to copy a 10GB file.

In this test, the numbers obtained in the test were close to theoretical limits (once you account for transfer overheads and so forth) since this laptop has a USB 3.1 Gen 1 port that is limited to 5Gbps.

Using CrystalDiskMark, the 1TB Samsung T5 reached 432MBps and 323MBps (read/write) and 323MBps and 462MBps (read/write) which shows that the SE730H is not lagging behind.

The competition

Additionally, there are only a few competitors to the Adata drive that have an IP68 rating. Funny enough, two of them are Adata products: the SD700 and the SE730, the predecessor of the SE730H.

Other mainstream vendors (Samsung, SanDisk, Freecom, Transcend or OWC) have not released ruggedized SSDs. There seems to be a gap in the market that could prove profitable for some.

The Adata SD700 offers the cheapest IP68 certified storage at only £0.30 per GB (for the 1TB model), while the 256GB version of the same drive costs only £92 ($120), more than 50% cheaper than the SE730H.

Amazon-sourced G-Tech G-Drive Slim SSD USB Type-C is the cheapest external SSD (per GB) at £245 ($320), an astonishing £0.245 per GB, around 20% less than the competition. Despite not being waterproof, this solid-state drive is likely to be shockproof. And who knows, it might even be further discounted during Black Friday.

Pros Cons
Great performance Still more expensive than the competition
Tiny Would prefer a black color option

Final verdict

In the SE730H, Adata highlights the use of a USB 3.1 Gen 2 connector, but sadly this position is without merit, as it still uses SATA technology, which has limited capabilities. By moving to NVMe, this problem could be solved. However, the drive would cost significantly more.

I’m not saying the Adata SE730H is a bad external SSD – quite the contrary. In spite of the lower performance than the manufacturer promised, it is still competitive with devices like the Samsung T5 or even the SD700.

However, we still prefer the latter. Although it doesn’t have a Type-C connector and is heavier, it is much cheaper and looks much more durable.