7.6
Score

Pros

  • Compact and Petite SSD
  • Pricewise Justifiable
  • USB-C based SSD that's super Fast

Cons

  • Gen 2x2 Speeds doesn't work on many devices

Our journey to review more portable or External SSDs goes on and this time with a new one from Kingston – more specifically the Kingston XS2000 Portable SSD. Now, unlike the other SSDs, we have reviewed, this one comes with an interesting configuration and while it is fast, most of us won’t get to experience the full speeds because of a limitation. Let’s talk more about it in this Kingston XS2000 Portable SSD Review.

Kingston XS2000 Portable SSD Review

Look and Design

Kingston XS2000 Portable SSD

Kingston has had the upper hand in engineering SSDs for a long while, so much so to the point, they are the leading SSD manufacturer for quite some time. That said, you can see the engineering feat that has gone through the Kingston XS2000 Portable SSD.

1/5

It’s small, petite, and pretty much the exact same size as a Snickers Fun Size. So, basically, it fits in the smallest compartment in your bag with no issues whatsoever. It has an aluminum enclosure with a rubber sleeve that’s supposed to protect the SSD from shocks when dropped. Pretty simple looking and nothing too over the top.

Specification and Config

In terms of specification, the Kingston XS2000 Portable SSD we received from Kingston to make this review happen is as follows:

  • USB 3.2 Type C Gen 2×2
  • Rated at 2000MB/s read and write speeds
  • Weighs 28.9 grams

The SSD comes in four different SSD storage choices: from 500GB all the way up to 4TB respectively. We received the 1TB variant of the Portable SSD, so our test and benchmark are going to revolve around that.

Performance

Synthetic Benchmark

Starting with Synthetic Benchmark, which is the staple to test the speeds for these kinds of SSD – we used the following tools: CrystalDiskInfo and CrystalDiskMark. We benchmarked the Kingston XS2000 Portable SSD with the ROG Zephyrus G14 AMD Ryzen 7 6000 Series laptop. The first test we did was with the USB-C to C cable that’s included in the box.

Looking at the CrystalDiskMark test, you can see that the speeds are capped at a 1000MB/s range for Sequential Read and the Writes dip to a range of 940MB/s respectively.

The second test we did was with the help of a USB A to C, and here you will notice that the Read speed drops to the 950MB/s range and Write speeds fall around 910MB/s. These are fast numbers actually. But you might wonder, why it isn’t as fast as they claim it to be. But before we answer that, let’s look at the Real World test.

Real World Test

For the Real World test, we are going to keep it limited to USB-C to C, which is the only cable that comes included with this SSD. For this, we did a simple file transfer which was about 7.8GB – from the laptop to the SSD and vice versa. Both the transfer to and fro took a good 10-13 seconds which is relatively fast. In fact, the speeds transferring to the SSD peaked at a 600MB/s range whereas transferring back to the laptop peaked at an 800MB/s range.

This is, once again fast. But why isn’t fast as they claim that it would be?

Reason for the Speed Limitation

Here’s the biggest issue everyone will stumble upon with the Kingston XS2000 Portable SSD. If you read the label carefully, it says “Gen 2×2” and not “Gen 2”. Now, the speeds we saw so far, were based on the PCIe Gen 2 protocol. You might wonder, but I have Thunderbolt 4 which is capable of up to 40GB/s but here’s the thing – it still does not work.

The USB-C port you are looking for is a niche port at the moment and Thunderbolt 4 doesn’t have the scalability to manage different protocols and it’s locked into performing only what it should. USB4 on the other hand does have a 20Gbps configuration but it’s up to vendors to opt in or not. We tried with a USB4-enabled Laptop and the results were the same. So, until you get yourself a specific motherboard or a laptop that supports USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 – you will be locked out from experiencing that 2000MB/s read and write speeds.

Conclusion

But does it mean that the Kingston XS2000 Portable SSD is a bad product? Not at all. It’s far from that. Although you only get to experience half the advertised speeds, when you do upgrade to capable hardware, it gives amazing performance. But honestly, this perfectly explains the chaotic nature of the USB-C situation. I’d say, check the device you are using it with to make sure it supports Gen 2×2. If it doesn’t and you still get one, you’ll have this mixed feeling of happiness and disappointment at the same time.