Plugable USB-C NVME SSD Enclosure Review

Plugable sent over their USB 3.1 Gen 2 NVME SSD enclosure for me to review and I decided to put it to use after I upgraded my production system’s Samsung 970 EVO NVME to a new 4TB drive. You can check it out in the latest video on my Gadget Picks (formerly Extras) channel.

While you will likely experience a drop in performance due to the speed of NVME drives vs. the slower USB data rate, the convenience enclosures like this offer is the tradeoff. These enclosures are especially useful if you’re looking to migrate from a smaller NVME to a larger one.

The price point is quite reasonable, hovering around thirty dollars. The package includes the metal enclosure and two USB cables: one for USB-C equipped PCs and the other USB-A. The assembly process is straightforward and does not require any tools. Just pop the drive in using its rubber stopper to hold it in place, and slide the metal cover back over until it clicks.

I tested the enclosure on a Lenovo Yoga 9i’s Thunderbolt port. After connecting the drive, I was pleased to see all my old production drive popped right up just like any other external drive would.

Performance is decent too. The Blackmagic disk speed test revealed a consistent sequential read and write speed of over 900 megabytes per second – effectively maxing out the Gen 2 USB connection the drive supports. The CrystalDiskMark test further confirmed these results and also showcased some impressive random read and write capabilities.

In comparison to other USB-C drives I’ve tested, this DIY solution with Plugable’s enclosure and my Samsung NVME drive performed competitively, even outpacing some on random reads and writes.

If you have an NVME drive lying around after an upgrade, this enclosure from Plugable is a fantastic way to repurpose it. Just remember, it’s designed specifically for NVME drives, so M.2 SATA drives are not be compatible.

Oraimo USB-C Gan Charger & Power Strip Review

I had the opportunity to test out a couple of affordable chargers from Oraimo in my latest Extra’s Channel review.

These are GAN chargers, known for their compact size yet powerful output. My initial interest was piqued by their competitive pricing, especially when compared to some of the other Gan-based alternatives on the market.

Both chargers I tested have three USB type-C charging ports and one USB type-A port. The power strip model brings with it a short extension cable and two additional AC outlets on either side, making it a handy companion for travel. However, a point to note is that this model is designed for 120-volt outlets, making it suitable for use in the U.S. only. The other charger is compatible with both 120 and 240-volt outlets.

Oraimo claims that each of these devices can output up to 120 watts across their USB ports. In my tests, when a single device was plugged into the USB-C port, it could draw up to 100 watts. However, when a second device was added to the mix, the power distribution changed, with each port delivering a maximum of 60 watts.

The power strip model offers an added advantage with its AC outlets. It can pass through up to 1250 watts, making it suitable for devices like gaming laptops. I tested this feature, and it worked seamlessly.

However, things get a tad more complicated with the third USB-C port. Unlike the first two ports, which can deliver up to 60 watts each when both are in use, the third port maxes out at 30 watts. Power reduction on each of the ports reduces further when three or more devices are attached.

Oraimo has this helpful set of images on their Amazon product page that delineates the distribution combinations:

One other challenge I encountered with the small “wall wart” GAN chargers is their tendency to fall out of outlets due to their weight and density. The Oraimo version here is no exception. This can be particularly problematic when traveling. My solution? Use a small extension cord. This ensures the charger remains securely in place, especially when plugged into older or looser outlets. Oraimo’s power strip version does not have this problem as it has an integrated cord already.

In conclusion, I’ve been quite pleased with the performance of these Oraimo chargers, especially given their price point. They’re efficient and versatile, though it’s important to understand their power distribution nuances especially with high performance computers. If you’re in the market for a reliable charger that won’t break the bank, these might just be worth a look.

Disclosure: Oraimo sent the products free of charge but did not review or approve this before it was uploaded

The EU May Decide Phone Charging Standard Next Week

Reuters reports that the European Union is likely going to meet next week to solidify a common standard for charging smartphones. That standard will of course be USB-C which means the lightning port’s days may be numbered.

According to the article it looks like lawmakers are also trying to codify a laptop charging standard too.

I covered this topic in detail last year when this effort started gaining steam.