I prefer to be clear from the very beginning: the DOCKCASE Smart SSD Enclosure frankly amazed me. The brand has understood very well the essentials for users of portable hard drives: data retention… And that’s not to mention the speed of file transfer: Dockcase has thought of the public and made sure to offer a product not according to our expectations, but well beyond! An information screen on an SSD? You really had to think about it…
It was a pure pleasure to test this marvel. On the one hand, because Dockcase has recently established itself as a specialist in the field, with its perfectly successful Kickstarter campaigns so far – I was obviously not going to miss the opportunity to test a Dockcase product! On the other hand, in good curious that I am, the very principle under which this hard disk came to life very quickly caught my attention. I had to make up my mind… and I’m not disappointed with the result.
Well, if we move on to the details of my test now?
So, I have in hand the packaging of a Dockcase Smart SSD Enclosure PLP-10s. It starts with finesse, with a fairly compact packaging, with a soft design… nothing extravagant on the front, just the Dockcase logo and the mention “Smart SSD Enclosure”. Why show off the packaging when the device alone can leave you speechless?
On the back of the packaging, we are entitled to some information on the product, as well as specifics on the model in question. Well, all full of excitement, I open the packaging: I couldn’t take the suspense any longer. Apart from this fine smell of brand new, the packaging consists of:
- a notice;
- the PLP-10s hard drive enclosure;
- a USB-C to USB-C/A cable;
- quote ;
- and a screwdriver.
I will first come back to the case, the very heart of the SSD Enclosure. We immediately think of elegance and portability at first glance. And it’s not wrong… in terms of elegance, the case is a sublime gray alloy of tempered glass and zinc. There’s nothing to dispute on this point, it goes extremely well with my other hi-tech equipment – particularly with my computer for that matter.
The case is also provided with a flipper cover which, in addition to enhancing the appearance of the device, makes it easier to carry – no more uncontrolled slips; it looked like it was glued to the palm of my hand. Always portability level, I find that it is even easier with its 127*39*14 mm in size and its weight of 148.5 g. I slip it easily into my pocket and it holds up well!
After a short walk in my garden with my brand new disc, I can confirm that the rumors are well founded: the disc gave me no problems during my travels and I was truly free to move. Of course, it was not a question of doing gymnastics to test the limits… or even mine! I have nothing to criticize on the aspect of the DockCase Smart SSD Enclosure is sublime! What about now what he has “in the stomach”?
Getting Started with the Smart SSD Enclosure
- Installing the SSD in the case
I have my box, the transfer cable and my computer… all I need is the SSD itself. Yes, you should know that to work, you must install an SSD of suitable capacity for your needs. For its part, the Smart SSD Enclosure supports SSD types M Key M.2 (NVMe) and B&M Key M.2 (NVMe/SATA) – all for four different SSD sizes: 22*30, 22*42, 22*60, 22*80.
For my part, I had previously purchased a 1 TB NVMe/SATA SSD, 22*80 in size. Then I just had to grab the supplied screwdriver to gently open the case from the back. Indeed, the opening screw is on the opposite side to that of the LCD screen. The case is barely open that you feel all the technological resources that have contributed to the design of this jewel.
All I had to do was slide the SSD into its slot, then secure it securely in place with the adjustment screw – also provided in the package. Very easy to assemble, you don’t even have to squeeze hard to hold it in place. I close the box with the same ease and I’m ready to plug it in.
Since I had to plug the drive into my laptop, I just used the USB port on the cable. Come on, we’ve waited too long for this step: I’m plugging it in now!
And there, surprise – not that I wasn’t expecting it, but I still felt this surprise effect: a screen that lights up as soon as the Smart SSD Enclosure comes into contact with the computer… how not to be dumbfounded? Especially since this is the very first disc of the type that I hold in my hands, the excitement is at its height!
The screen in question, or even the “exclusive D-Key control” is supposed to present technical information on the state of the hard disk. On mine I can see “10 Sec PLP Ready”: it clearly says it is a Power Less Protection box with a 10 second power-off protection delay. The D-Key specifies above all that my hard drive is ready for use. Just below, I have 1 TB / NVMe(SATA) 10 Gbps: these are indeed the characteristics of my SSD there… super practical – at least I am sure that I have inserted the correct SSD.
We continue with the mention “LIFE 100% 72 hours”, then “Good” at the bottom… unconsciously I sketched a slight smile: I felt reassured! My disc is “good” and my box is able to inform me. What more ? One would think that all this information is more than enough, but there is better: we are also entitled to a small precision on the type of partition (GPT for me) and the number of partitions especially. My disk has 2 for a total of 935 GB in all (just look just above the partition type mention to see the total in question).
Clearly, at a glance, I was able to know:
- SSD health status;
- its lifespan;
- disk power-up times;
- the remaining capacity.
Moreover, I told you above: I am very curious too. I therefore did not hesitate to navigate between the different menus offered by the screen, because in addition to informing, the D-Key also allows you to configure and access more details. For that, I only had to press a button located on the side of the case and that was it. I was able to count 4 pages in total:
- SSD Information – a comprehensive display of all SSD details;
- Partitions Information – everything you need to know about partitioning types;
- Disk Management – this page is mainly about managing available partitions
- And a last screen which presents the information of the disc (among others the version of the system, the language…).
As I said, it is possible to configure certain aspects of the box from this screen as you wish. Of course, this is by no means necessary – the basic settings are more than adequate. Besides, I preferred to leave everything as it is… I think that the most important thing to remember at this level is the possibility of knowing the state of your hard drive, without having to open it or entrust it to a specialist.
No more all my sleepless nights, thinking about what could happen to my files, with any disc that releases disturbing clicking noises with each connection.
Now, a quick look at what is happening on my computer: it recognizes the device and I have access to it. It’s perfect, I can test a copy… how about it? I took the lead, and therefore jumped at the chance to make a heavy copy, in my opinion. For my part, I love the series, I have a lot of them on my disc and, as a result: they can sometimes prevent me from concentrating on my work. Why not copy as many as you can to disk? History to make them slightly more difficult to access… Come on, I’m going.
So there, I select most of the films and series I have and I arrive at a total of around 45 Gb (serious size). Then top, I launch the copy. Normally, with any other lambda disc, I was off for at least 30 minutes of impatience – a quarter of an hour twiddling my thumbs. But there, about 45 seconds, and that’s already ancient history. The fusion of the USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C cable with the ultra-revolutionary technology of the box – the UASP accelerated transmission protocols in this case – contributes precisely to an over-optimization of the copy speed: 10 Gbps or 1050 MB/s, regardless of file type.
This is unheard of, especially in practice! Very few builders promise and deliver. And that, simply, is extraordinary. 50 seconds… an awful lot can happen in 50 seconds, you might say. Even then, it was only 45 G of files, films in this case (films can be streamed!). But what about a heavier copy, with therefore a longer transfer time and larger files? What will happen to your copy – or mine – in the event of an unexpected power outage or some other failure that could hinder the continuation of the copy? Well, Dockcase has thought of that too!
You may not have paid attention to it, but for the two versions of the Smart SSD Enclosure, we have two separate indications which precisely make the difference between the two models: 5s and 10s. They are not there by chance and provide crucial information in relation to the box:
- 5s, to say that the box gives 5 seconds of write time after a power failure;
- 10s, to mean that we have 10 seconds of writing after a failure.
If this feat was made possible, it is simply thanks to the integrated supercapacitors (EDLC): they are used to keep the power supply of the Dockcase long enough to allow the data contained in the cache buffer of the device, to be written in flash memory. The mapping tables are then rewritten… Which helps not only to protect the data being written, but also to protect the disk itself against any damage.
So I run a 10 Gb copy to get to the bottom of it and 5 seconds into the copy, I unplug the disk: the box shows me a progress bar that decreases for 10 seconds. Result: I find all my files without exception – of course after reconnecting the disk. I must point out that each time the Enclosure was switched on, I was treated to a warm little greeting “A NEW START”, that’s enough to put me in a good mood.
We continue with our test and it should be noted that the case did not heat up despite all the manipulations carried out until then. The case chip is equipped with an ultra-efficient temperature control system. Compared to other chips of the same type of device, we find ourselves at 10 degrees less with this architecture. And that’s not all: the thin layer of graphite termal pad widens the area of heat dissipation which itself escapes continuously.
The SSD keeps its vigor and strong transfer speed thanks to the double cooling system with which it is designed.
It’s all well and good, but we forget an important aspect: the fall of the case. It is quite possible that the box falls – which could possibly cause an unpleasant breakdown. So I opted for the “Extra Drop Protection” equipment on Smart SSD Enclosure. In plain words, it is a silicone case specially designed for the Smart SSD Enclosure. It protects the entire case (under 360°), and also takes into account the cooling aspect. No user could still miss a heart beat as soon as he sees his disc fall, of course if the case is installed!