Kingston XS1000 External SSD

      Photo Review 8.8

      In summary

      The Kingston XS1000 will meet the portable storage needs of most photographers and videographers in the vast majority of situations. It doesn’t have hardware encryption, however it’s affordably priced, easy to use, and should be able to store all the images and videos taken on a typical one to two week trip with a regular camera. The five-year warranty will also be reassuring.

      Full review

      Kingston’s XS1000 external SSD provides a small and convenient back-up solution for photographers and videographers on the move who need temporary file storage. It slips easily into the smallest pocket in your camera bag or jacket and attaches to a recording device or computer via a USB Type-C to Type-A cable, which is supplied with the drive. Available in capacities of 1TB and 2TB it claims read/write speeds of approximately 1000MB per second with a USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 (10Gbps) interface, which should be fast enough for most Photo Review readers.

      The Kingston XS1000 External SSD, shown with the supplied USB cable and packaging.

      There aren’t many ultra-compact SSDs available that combine the same storage capacity, data transfer speeds and low price as the XS1000 in such a small package. SanDisk’s 1TB E30 Gen 2 Portable SSD weighs 40 grams, its data transfer speed is up to 800MB/s, it costs more and its warranty is three years. Transcend’s Rugged External SSD USB 3.1 Gen 2 SSD has similar transfer speeds to the XS1000 but it’s a bit larger and more than double the weight. It’s also more expensive.

      The Kingston XS1000 External SSD weighs just under 29 grams and fits easily into the smallest pocket, as shown below.

      This illustration gives some idea of the size of the Kingston XS1000 External SSD. (Source: Kingston.)

      Who’s it For?
      The Kingston XS1000 External SSD will be useful for all kinds of travellers – including students and business travellers – for both its compact size and its speed. As long as your video files aren’t over about 150GB in size, it should provide hassle-free file backup in a unit that’s deceptively small.

      High-end professional users who routinely store longer video sequences may need something like an Atomos Ninja V drive if they require higher storage capacities than the 2TB maximum provided by the Kingston drives. They would also need such devices if they want to monitor recordings while they’re shooting.

      For regular consumers, the Kingston XS1000 combines the robustness of a solid state drive with a light enough weight to attach to a camera or laptop for everyday storage and data transport. It’s also fully backwards compatible with previous versions of USB 3 format, which means it will auto default to the maximum speed of the system.

      The XS1000 connected to a laptop with a USB-A port with the supplied cable.
      (Source: Kingston.)

      Solid state drives (SSDs) are more robust than the older style of magnetic drives, which have moving parts. The five-year warranty for the Kingston drives will provide additional reassurance. If these drives have downsides, the main issues we see would be the lack of hardware encryption or password protection.

      Build and Ergonomics
      The XS1000 is  a little black box that’s approximately 69 mm long, 32 mm wide, and 13 mm thick. This makes it small enough to take anywhere, allowing you to back-up files when you’re on the move.

      Its only interface is a USB Type-C socket at one end. The drive is supplied with a USB Type-C to Type-A cable to enable it to be connected directly to a computer from which it can draw power. You’ll need to provide your own USB-C to USB-C cable if you want to connect it to most laptops and also to take advantage of the higher read/write speeds possible with an all USB-C inter-connection.

      The drive mechanism is a Silicon Motion SM2320 controller with a 3D TLC (Triple-Level Cell, 3-bit) NAND gate. This type of set-up is common in SSDs because it allows designers to make them very small without compromising write speeds. (NAND memory works in a similar way to the flash memory in memory cards.)

      The XS1000 is also backwards compatible with the USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface, which means it can be used with older laptops, although it won’t be as fast. Because it defaults to the maximum speed of the system, the transfer speed will be reduced to 500MB/second or less.

      Fortunately, even an interface that doesn’t quite reach 10Gbps should be fast enough for the average photographer, although it probably won’t suit those who want to transfer video files that are larger than about 100GB.

      Storage Capacity
      One terabyte (1TB) gives you the option of storing approximately:

      • 120,000 large/Fine JPEGs or losslessly compressed 78,000 raw files taken with a 20-megapixel camera.
      • 50 hours of HD video at a typical bit rate of 100Mbps or roughly 10 hours of 4K video content at 25p or 30p with normal compression and a bit rate of 200Mbps.
      • Uncompressed raw video footage recorded at maximum resolution and high bit rates will probably fill up a 1TB drive in around one hour or less.

      The cost per gigabyte of storage is just over one cent, which makes these drives good value for money.

      The XS1000 is rated for read speeds of up to 1,050MB/second and write speeds of 1000MB/second, but actual speeds depend upon how it is connected to the source and destination devices. If you use two modern USB Type-C ports that support USB 3.2 Gen 2 data transfer speeds, it’s more likely to be reached, although if one of the ports is only USB 3.2 1×1 compatible, the maximum speed will be reduced to 500MB/s.

      The USB 3.2 specification was only released in September 2017 so devices made before then will generally run slower. This was the case for our computer, which has only USB-A ports.

      We measured the times it took to transfer two folders of image and video data from our Windows computer with an Intel i7-7700 CPU and 64-bit operating system  to the XS1000 using the bundled USB Type-C to Type-A cable.  Screen grabs showing stages of each transfer are provided below.

      Three stages in the transfer of 12GB of CR2.RAW files taken with a Canon DSLR camera to the XS1000.



      Three stages in the transfer of 84.5GB of data comprising a mixture of JPEG and ORF.RAW image files and 4K  MPEG-4, H.264 video files taken with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 II mirrorless camera to the XS1000.

      We didn’t bother testing the drive with larger data loads since few of our readers – who we see as typical potential buyers of the XS1000 – would place higher demands on the drive’s file handling capabilities. Unless they’re using cameras with resolutions of 60 megapixels or more and recording a lot of high-resolution high bit depth videos, most people would struggle to generate more than 10GB in a single shoot.


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      Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2
      Compatibility: Windows 11, 10, macOS (v.10.15.x +), Linux (v. 4.4.x +), Chrome OS
      Speed: Up to 1,050MB/s read, 1,000MB/s write sequential speeds
      Capacities: 1TB, 2TB
      Memory type: 3D NAND
      Controller: SMI 2320
      Casing material: Metal + plastic
      Operating temperature: 0°C~40°C
      Storage temperature: -20°C~85°C
      Dimensions: 69.54 x 32.58 x 13.5 mm
      Weight: 28.7 grams
      Warranty/support: Limited 5-year warranty with free technical support
      Supplied accessories: 30 cm Type-C to Type-A cable
      Distributor: Kingston Technology



      RRP: 1TB for AU$109; 2TB for AU$188

      • Build: 8.8
      • Ease of Use: 8.8
      • Performance: 8.8