At $499 it’s not cheap. but the Tuff series is the most rugged of all portables on the market. The shock protection of the grass green Tuff 1TB SSD complies with military standard MIL-STD-810G. It also has full IP57 certification, meaning it’s dust-proof and waterproof for 30 minutes in up to one metre of water.
The Tuff is made for abuse rather than simply careless handling. It’s the only drive I know of that is shipped with a tough, thick plastic archive case. They all come with a USB Type-C port that is also compatible with Thunderbolt 3. With SSD portable drives, robustness matters less than with those having hard disks on the inside, but SSDs are still somewhat vulnerable unless they come in a solid aluminium casing, so it’s kind of reassuring the SSD version doesn’t skimp in this area.
CalDigit’s care for usability under all circumstances doesn’t stop at break-safe materials. Its power management system makes sure the drive receives the power it needs, even if there are other devices on the bus. The archive case is home to the included USB-C and USB-C to USB-A 50cm cables.
What I can say is that I first tested the drive on its ruggedness claims by dropping it on wooden planks from one metre high. It just started up again and worked. I didn’t test the IP57 certification to its limit, but the label ensures you can submerge these drives for 30 minutes in 1m deep water. This extreme ruggedness may seem like overkill when you mainly shoot in your back garden, but it is a bare necessity when your preferred environment happens to be the Alps or the Australian outback.
Overkill is relative, but throughput speed is not. The SSD Tuff’s speed doesn’t reach its maximum when you connect it to a USB 3.1 port. I ran a Blackmagic Design Disk Speed Test with the USB 3.1 connection and it resulted in a — quite decent — write speed of 244MB/sec and a read speed of 331MB/sec.
However, when I connected the Tuff to a Thunderbolt (gen.1) port via an adapter, its performance went through the roof: 474.5MB/sec write speed and 495MB/sec read speed. CalDigit claims a maximum throughput speed of 540MB/sec, so my tests weren’t far off. It’s one of the reasons why I like CalDigit so much: their claims are never far off.