Around a third of the size of an SD card, these MLC flash cards boost a MacBook’s storage capacity by slotting into its SD card slot. Unlike regular SD cards that stick out, Transcend’s offerings can be fully inserted so the card sits flush. Available in 64GB or 128GB capacities, they don’t offer the storage of external hard disk drives or SSDs, but they have the advantage of being super portable and much cheaper.
The 128GB JetDrive Lite 350 can be used with the Mid 2012 to Early 2013 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina — other JetDrive cards support the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and newer 15-inch MacBooks. The Lite 350 came formatted to the ExFat file format — compatible with Windows and Mac. Out of the packet, the card shows 128.67GB remaining in OS X, with 9MB remaining on the card, so you get close to the advertised capacity.
To benchmark it, we used Blackmagic Disk Speed Test running on OS X 10.9 Mavericks. This software tests the disk by writing large blocks of data and then erasing them to provide a performance reading. Transcend claims that both its 64GB and 128GB models have a maximum read speed of 95MB/s and maximum write speed of 60MB/s, and our review card came close. However, its write speeds proved inconsistent, fluctuating from a low of 20MB/s to a high of 55MB/s. Read speeds were more consistent, frequently reaching between 70MB/s and 80MB/s, topping out at 87.1MB/s. While that’s not going to match the speed of even the slowest modern SSDs, it’s a decent speed for, say, storing and viewing large multimedia files.
The bottom line. A great little card, neatly designed and boasting consistent read speeds. A well-made, affordable way of fattening up your MacBook Pro’s storage.