OWC is on a releasing spree of small, extremely robust and very fast external bus-powered SSD drives. Not that long ago, we had the tiny Envoy Elektron which is USB 3.2 Gen 2 only, but the latest to hit the streets is the Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 Gen 2 Envoy Pro FX.
The Envoy Pro FX is about twice the size of the Envoy Elektron; whereas the latter fits snugly in the palm of your hand, the former is the size of a woman’s hand. It’s still very small, that is, but that doesn’t mean it’s fragile at all. As the Elektron, the Envoy Pro FX is heavy at 244g, drop and crush safe (MIL-STD810G) and dust/waterproof certified (IP67 — dust tight and immersion up to 1m for 30 minutes).
Unlike the Elektron (reviewed here), the Pro FX supports a maximum performance of up to 2800MB/s. OWC let me have a go at the 1TB model. There are 2TB, 240GB and 480GB models to choose from as well. In that respect, the Envoy Pro FX reminded me of that earlier beast, the Envoy Pro EX, but there’s a distinct difference. The EX has an integrated cable while the FX comes with a pluggable hybrid Thunderbolt 3/USB 3.2 cable of 80cm with a converter USB-A plug integrated. The latter is, of coure, less prone to cable breakage unless you are really careless with your equipment.
The actual performance of the Envoy Pro FX is exemplary. Driven by Aura Pro P12 SSD modules inside, the tests I ran on my mid-2017 27inch iMac gave results that come close to the maximum obtainable speed of 2800MB/sec at 2400MB/sec read speed and 1800MB/sec write speed with the AJA System Test set to 1GB 4K 10-bit YUV files.
Blackmagic Design’s Speed Test gave slightly lower results at 2286MB/sec read and 1624MB/sec write speeds. On a faster machine than mine — and there are plenty of those going around — throughput speed should be spot on OWC’s numbers.
The OWC Envoy Pro FX is ideal for everyone who needs to work in the field with either a computer, a tablet or a smartphone. With its cable being separate, it is the ideal drive for photography, video and backups on the road as well as in the office. I would even recommend it as a portable OS boot drive, e.g. for security reasons — the FX is fully compatible with macOS and Windows built-in encryption.
And it looks great too, with its deeply grooved fins on its charcoal grey aluminium chassis, which, by the way, turn the entire enclosure into a highly effective heat sink for maximum heat dissipation and throttling-free performance. Even when using the Envoy Pro FX to render a lengthy 4K video, the drive remained cool and the speed didn’t drop.
The 240GB model retails at $179, the 480GB at $229, the 1TB version at $319 and the 2TB model costs $499.