The Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 portable external drive may not have a huge capacity, but its main purpose is to supply speedy and reliable storage. It's a solid-state drive (SSD) that uses multi-level cell flash memory technology, so it's not prone to damage in the same way a conventional spinning hard drive is, plus it runs cool and doesn't make any noise. It features a USB 3.0 connection.

It's the type of drive that's suitable for storing lots of small files, such as photos, but it can also be used to transport work projects (such as video projects) to clients, for example; it would be very useful for running presentations directly off the drive through a USB 3.0-equipped laptop. However, if you need more than 64GB to transport your projects you'll have to consider the more expensive 128GB and 256GB versions of the HyperX.

SSDs are fast, but external SSD can be hobbled by the relatively slow USB 2.0 connection used by most computers. When using this drive on a USB 2.0 computer, expect to see maximum read speeds of around 30 megabytes per second (MBps) and write speeds of around 20MBps (but this can vary depending on the configuration of your computer).

If you have USB 3.0, then the Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 will really shine: there is a lot more bandwidth available to keep with the fast speeds that the drive is capable of.

We achieved peak speeds well over 100MBps when reading data off the drive, and the sustained average read speed was 87.78MBps for large files and 50.24MBps for small files. The speeds compare well to other pocket-sized conventional drives we've seen to date, a typical spinning hard drive using USB 3.0 can achieve a read speed of 13-20MBps for small files and 75-80MBps for large files, so you are definitely getting a good speed boost, especially when reading small files.

Write speed is where the playing field can sometimes level up, and this was shown in a test using small files where the Kingston HyperX recorded a transfer rate of only 29.21MBps. Conventional spinning drives, such as the Iomega eGo drive, have achieved up to 33.31MBps in this test. However, when writing large files, the HyperX produced a super-fast speed of 73.61MBps, which almost 20MBps better than a conventional spinning hard drive.

The Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 may have conventional pocket drives beat when it comes to performance, but desktop-sized external, 7200rpm hard drives with USB 3.0, such as the 1TB Buffalo DriveStation HD-HXU3 are still faster. For example, the 1TB Buffalo beat the HyperX Max 3.0 in all tests except small file write test, in which that drive recorded a paltry 13.76MBps.

OUR VERDICT

The bottom line is, if you want a portable drive that's durable (i.e. has no moving parts) and capable of taking advantage of the speed that USB 3.0 provides, then the Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 should be considered. However, with a massive price per formatted gigabyte, you better really, really, really want that extra speed boost over conventional portable external hard drives.