Sometimes, the world has a funny way of showing you that something that never existed before is actually something you really need. Case in point this new SSD we had a chance to check out: the Apacer AS720. In today’s day and age when we thought we knew everything we needed to know about Internal SATA SSD’s and external USB ones (which could not be more different to each other), this device completely turns it on its head and provides us with both. But should you get one? Check out our review below to find out!
Apacer AS720 240GB – Est. PHP 6,000 / US$120
Box & Contents
Inside the small white box of the Apacer is a black tray holding the SSD and a clear plastic cover to keep it secure. Once opened the you can see the drive itself in gold with some darker colored streaks – a nice touch since an SSD needs to look nice if it does some work outside your desktop’s case. There’s also a short USB Type C (male) to USB Type A (male) cable and a small black pouch to keep the drive when travelling.
Design-wise – particularly it’s dimensions – is basically the exact size of a 2.5″ SSD with screw holes to keep it in place for when you’re using it inside your rig. The one difference here is that you can see a USB Type C (female) port on the bottom opposite the SATA 3.0 connectors on the top.
The SATA connector, given that it features exposed pins and isn’t designed to be used outside where it can get dirty or knocked around, is protected by a rubber cover which you can pull off. The USB Type C connector on the other hand is perfectly fine in both environments.
As far as the build goes you can tell this was made to be used more often as an internal drive, particularly because the metal casing doesn’t seem to be designed for the usual bumps of a typical portable drive. This makes sense, because it has to conform to the 2.5″ drive standard and can’t add extra bulk in that respect. Keep in mind though that the scuffs you see in the picture above was from a previous reviewer as they have opened the case and looked inside; it was not due to normal wear and tear. That being said, the cover isn’t very thick and the unit itself is lighter than your average internal SSD. This, combined with the rubber SATA cover, makes us think this drive is meant to be used more inside a rig than outside.
That’s not to say you couldn’t. Because you can comfortably house both the SSD and its USB 3.1 cable inside the Apacer pouch included in the box.
Features & Usage
Now comes the fun part! Because the drive has the flexibility of having two interfaces, you can do some really useful things that we’ve never thought we’d wanted to do. First of all, the drive can work as an excellent portable drive for your laptop – with SSD speeds to boot. We all know laptops tend to have limited storage. And even though portable hard drives are plenty, we can see how a portable SSD with internal SATA capabilities could mean the difference between taking your work with you or leaving it at home.
Next use case is also possibly the most obvious one: when you need to clone or backup your old files and move to a new PC / replace your internal drive. In all of these cases, you’d normally need a spare external drive at the ready to copy files temporarily and then copy them back to the new future internal drive. With Apacer’s Dual Interface SSD, you can copy them directly via USB 3.1, and then mount it as an internal SATA drive later – entirely skipping the step of needing to copy them back to an internal only drive.
In both of these cases, we could see the benefit of having the Dual Interface. While truthfully you should most likely keep the AS720 mounted internally, it really doesn’t hurt to be able to take your work with you every now and then without even the need to copy stuff. And perhaps conveniently, prices aren’t that much higher than your typical internal SATA drives.
Based on our CrystalDiskMark benchmark scores, the read write speeds just fall a little shy of its rated numbers – with tests averaging around 520MB/s read & 440MB/s write on SATA 3.0. Using its external USB 3.1 connectivity, speeds are understandably a little lower around the 490 and 420MB/s marks. Not bad at all, given the circumstances. Of course, these speeds will vary depending on your hardware and use cases, but at least we can get a good idea of its potential.
The Apacer AS720 is a drive that’s torn between two loves: the safety and performance capabilities of it’s internal brethren and the harsh environments of their portable ilk. While it doesn’t truly perform like one or the other cleanly, it doesn’t sacrifice too much while still delivering the advantages of both. If you don’t ever see yourself needing the flexibility, then you’d be perfectly fine buying a specialized unit for one purpose but the Taiwanese company’s innovative product here makes the decision a little bit more interesting for people like us who could use both types of drives. While we can’t say everybody should go out and replace their typical external or internal units for this, we still quite give it a Highly Recommended award for those who just can’t live without either.
We still haven't found all of the practical ways you can put a dual drive like this to good use, but the potential is definitely there. There's not much risk in buying one, so go ahead if there's even a small chance you'll use the extra flexibility.
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