Lexar SL200 Portable SSD Review: Mainstream USB-C Option

Manufacturer: Lexar Lexar SL200 Portable SSD Review: Mainstream USB-C Option

Lexar’s SL200 Portable SSD is a small USB-C device that targets mainstream performance levels, offering transfer speeds typical of desktop SATA drives at up to 550 MB/s. It is available in capacities of 512GB (as reviewed), 1TB, and 2TB.

The previous SL100 Pro SSD (which we looked at last year) remains in the product stack, with this new drive series complimenting, rather than replacing, that high-performance (up to 950 MB/s) option.

In this quick review we will take a look at the design, test out the rated transfer speeds, and look at the value proposition.

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Product Specifications
  • Color: Gray
  • Capacity: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
  • Interface: USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Speed: Up to 550MB/s read, up to 400MB/s write
  • System Supported:
    • Mac OSX 10.6+
    • Windows 10/7/8
    • Android 4.4+
  • Connectivity: Standard USB Type-A/Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 connector
  • Operating Temperature: 0° C to 70° C (32°F to 158°F)
  • Storage Temperature: -40° C to 85° C (-40°F to 185°F)
  • Dimension (L x W x H): 86 mm x 60 mm x 9.5 mm / 3.39” x 2.36” x 0.37”
  • Weight: 40.6 g / 0.09 lbs (Without Cable)
Pricing
  • 500GB: $89.99
  • 1TB: $159.99
Manufacturer Description

“Quickly and securely store and access your content anywhere with the Lexar SL200 Portable SSD. With sleek, slimline styling and a premium finish, it provides impressive performance on the go, with speeds up to 550MB/s read and 400MB/s write. Available in 512GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities.”

Design and Contents

Inside the package we find the SL200 drive along with a pair of USB cables, with both a USB Type-C to Type-C cable and a Type-C to Type-A cable included.

The SL200 itself is quite compact at 86 x 60 x 9.5 mm / 3.39 x 2.36 x 0.37 inches, and very light at just 40.6 g / 1.43 oz. Lexar calls out the product’s “sleek, premium finish”, and this is a valid description.

Suffice it to say the SL200 is a small, nicely built portable drive. Now let’s see how it performs.

Getting Started

Before we get into the transfer speeds here’s a quick look at what you would see upon first connecting this SL200 to a Windows PC.

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The drive presents itself as a “Lexar Portable SSD SL2 SCSI Disk Device”, and arrives partitioned using MBR. After initial testing I re-partitioned using GUID and formatted with NTFS, and both operations completed without incident.

Here’s a look at what was pre-loaded on the drive from the factory:

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Lexar’s DataSafe software for both Windows and Mac is included on the drive, along with quick start guides for both versions in PDF format.

If you have any interest in using this software I suggest backing it up, as the support/downloads page does not currently offer any of their Windows or Mac software for download (with the message “due to US government requirements, the download is temporarily unavailable” at the bottom of the page).

Observed Performance

With our 512GB SL200 sample connected to one of the available Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports on the Intel NUC 9 Extreme (which we reviewed earlier this year), we tested this portable SSD using a couple of common benchmark tools.

Lexar rates the maximum speed of this SL200 drive at 550 MB/s for reads, and 400 MB/s for writes. After ensuring that the drive was configured for maximum performance rather than quick removal in Windows (it wasn’t by default), I ran both the venerable ATTO disk benchmark and CrystalDiskMark.

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Under ATTO reads hit a very specific 521.27 MB/s limit, under the theoretical 550 MB/s max. Writes, on the other hand, exceeded the rated 400 MB/s speed, topping out at 465.45 MB/s. CrystalDiskMark results were higher, with 546.61 MB/s reads and 485.67 MB/s writes from the default QD8/1GB sequential test.

Moving on to a “real-world” transfer test, I used a pair of large disc image files to see what the sustained speeds would be in read/write operations under Windows.

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Both reads and writes can present some impossible speeds in Windows in the early stages of a transfer, but after the cache effect wore off things settled to a more realistic ~411 MB/s when copying from the Lexar SSD, and (somewhat surprisingly) ~458 MB/s when writing the files back to the drive.

Your mileage may vary, as transfer speeds are dependent on a number of factors. Regardless, I have no issues with sustained performance of over 400 MB/s, and the write speeds from the SL200 consistently out-performed the advertised maximum.

Final Thoughts

Lexar’s SL200 Portable SSD is a slick little product, offering mainstream performance in an attractive and lightweight package. You aren’t getting transfer speeds that come close to the limits of a 10 Gbps USB Type-C interface, but many higher-performance portable SSDs such as Lexar’s previous SL100 Pro do carry higher price tags.

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There’s just one problem here, and it’s the non-touch version of the Samsung T7 we reviewed earlier this year. Currently the 500GB version of the T7 is available for the same $89.99 price as this SL200, and Samsung’s drive offers significantly faster speeds (up to 1050 MB/s). It remains to be seen if this is a permanent price drop.

I’d like to see Lexar’s SL200 drop a bit in price to be more competitive, as it’s a nice little product that I can otherwise recommend. Like many things in the current market, pricing seems off – at least for now.

Review Disclosures

This disclosure statement covers the way the product being reviewed was obtained and the relationship between the product's manufacturer and PC Perspective.

How Product Was Obtained

The drive is on loan from Lexar for the purpose of this review.

What Happens To Product After Review

The drive remains the property of Lexar but will be on extended loan to PC Perspective for the purpose of future testing and product comparisons.

Company Involvement

Lexar provided the product sample and technical brief to PC Perspective but had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.

PC Perspective Compensation

Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Lexar for this review.

Advertising Disclosure

Lexar has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.

Affiliate Links

This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases made through those links.

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About The Author

Sebastian Peak

Editor-in-Chief at PC Perspective. Writer of computer stuff, vintage PC nerd, and full-time dad. Still in search of the perfect smartphone. In his nonexistent spare time Sebastian's hobbies include hi-fi audio, guitars, and road bikes. Currently investigating time travel.

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