First formally introduced earlier this year, Pioneer has begun selling their APS-XS02 external SSDs, the company's first USB Type-C SSD. The drives combine stylish design with decent performance, compatibility with various PCs, and reasonable pricing.

The Pioneer APS-XS02 portable bus-powered SSDs come in small and light enclosures measuring 65×45×10.5 mm and resembling Zippo lighters. The drives feature 120 GB or 240 GB capacities and are rated for up to 480 MB/s sequential read speed as well as up to 400 MB/s sequential write speed, faster than any USB flash drives. The manufacturer does not disclose which controller and what kind of memory it uses with the APS-XS02, but since we are dealing with a 2018 product, it is reasonable to expect something contemporary.

One of the key features of the Pioneer APS-XS02 SSDs is their USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface that allows to take full advantage of performance offered by the drives. The USB 3.0 bus (aka USB 3.1 Gen 1) features a 5 Gbps nominal data rate, and due to overhead, in practice real-world data rates don't get much higher than 400MB/sec or so. Which for a fast SSD design using a SATA-to-USB bridge, the a USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface can be a bottleneck, particularly on reads.

Specifications of Pioneer's APS-XS02 External SSDs
Capacity 120 GB 240 GB
Dimensions 65×45×10.5 mm
Controller unknown
NAND Flash unknown
Form-Factor, Interface Candybar, USB 3.1 Gen 2 with 10 Gbps
Sequential Read up to 480 MB/s
Sequential Write up to 400 MB/s
Price $75 $96

Pioneer bundles a USB-C to USB-A cable as well as a USB-A to USB-C adapter with its APS-XS02 SSDs, so they are compatible both with the latest and with legacy PCs.

Pioneers’s external SSDs are now available at Amazon. The 120 GB version retails for $75, whereas the 240 GB SKU costs $96.

The Pioneer brand has a long history in the consumer electronics and professional equipment spaces, but as a result of tectonic market changes in the recent years, the company decided to leave some markets (e.g., TVs), but strengthen its presence on some others. As it appears, in addition to BD/DVD ODDs, the company is gradually expanding its product lineup with SSDs. In addition to the APS-XS02 and some cheap internal drives, the company has a quite interesting high-end model running a Microsemi controller.

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Source: Pioneer

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  • SharpEars - Monday, April 02, 2018 - link

    Without knowing how fast the flash is, the interface speed is irrelevant Reply
  • bug77 - Monday, April 02, 2018 - link

    "since we are dealing with a 2018 product, it is reasonable to expect something contemporary"

    Am I to assume that if the years was 2017, it would have been reasonable to expect something outdated?
    Reply
  • ಬುಲ್ವಿಂಕಲ್ ಜೆ ಮೂಸ್ - Monday, April 02, 2018 - link

    "up to 480 MB/s sequential read speed as well as up to 400 MB/s sequential write speed, faster than any USB flash drives."
    --------------------------------
    WRONG!

    Read and write are a balance that can be tweaked in either direction

    With a read speed of 440MB/sec and a write of 440MB/sec, the new Corsair thumb drives are just as fast as the pioneer by specs alone

    However, with a few years of experience using Corsair GTX thunb drives, I think they might actually put this Pioneer to shame in the real world

    Test the Corsair before you make these wild claims!

    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N...
    Reply
  • ಬುಲ್ವಿಂಕಲ್ ಜೆ ಮೂಸ್ - Monday, April 02, 2018 - link

    The 256GB Corsair has the same specs as the 512GB version

    The 128GB Corsair has lower specs
    Read Speed
    ATTO: 460 MB/s
    CDM: 430 MB/s

    Write Speed
    ATTO: 460 MB/s
    CDM: 390 MB/s

    Try beating the low end of the Corsair GTX line first
    128GB Corsair GTX is $80
    Reply
  • Gunbuster - Monday, April 02, 2018 - link

    This sounds to me like a cold calling sales person at the ODM SSD factory got very lucky...

    How about a Chevy portable SSD, or perhaps a Nike portable SSD?
    Reply
  • Dragonstongue - Monday, April 02, 2018 - link

    interesting on USB3 or whatever, but, the price/capacity/performance IMO while seemingly decent for a layman is kind of mehh at best for someone who knows a thing or 2, then of course there is the durability of the drives in question that is how many P/E or data written can they withstand, speed is not everything, cooling keeps the drive happy (though flash has higher endurance to temperature it still does not like running hot) and it can have 1000mb read write (impossible likely via current USB) but if it can only handle 10gb data write (endurance) is effectively useless (as an example)
    240gb for that price is mehhh, when I can get many others at 500gb for just under double that price that are much faster and can "easily" make an internal SSD external with a few parts that are known to have an extremely high endurance level P/E, Temperature etc.

    anyways, I think just by the drive size alone they are using an "older" generation flash type current type use different multiples for example 128-250-500 etc (most of the modern ones actually do not use less than 250gb for price/performance/yield reasons)

    all that being said, if it was marketed as a "thumb drive" instead of an external SSD the numbers tilt differently and actually becomes a very decent product for the price offering good performance and capacity number for the $ expected.
    Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    Thing is for such devices how often do we get 100GB of single data file? Usual case is 50GB of files in the KB range that renders performance to the 70KBps-2MBps range.

    Good times!
    Reply
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