OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini Review: A Beautiful Enclosure that Physically Protects Your Storage
I review a lot of hardware, and frankly, I like most of it. Some of I love, especially when the company that makes take extra steps to differentiate their products from others on the market. OWC routinely delivers products that exude elegance and meet high-performance benchmarks. The OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini is a case in point.
What we like
The OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini’s brushed aluminum, impact-resistant, heat-dissipating enclosure looks like it was delivered just this side of the future. Its compact, 1-inch by 5.5-inch by 3.9-inch enclosure and blue LED make many computers appear old school next to its sleek lines.
The drive comes in a variety of capacities and technologies, from 1TB Hard Drives (HDs) to 4TB Solid-State Drives (SSDs). HDs come in 5400RPM with the 1TB version sitting at 7200PRM. If you just want a beautiful enclosure, OWC will also sell the enclosure only for about $45. Buying the enclosure only drops the usual 3-year warranty down to a year. The drive also comes with Acronis software for local and cloud backup (250GB plan).
For the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) crowd the drive will accommodate 2.5-inch SATA drives with profiles up to 15mm. The drive connects to a 6GB/s eSATA Port.
The drive attaches to almost any PC or tablet via a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C Thunderbolt Port. Transfer speeds go up to 542MB/s. The interface is USB 2.0 and 3.0 backward compatible. The drive receives its power via the USB-C connection. OWC includes a USB-C cable with a tethered USB-A adapter.
Although OWC is typically known as an Apple-oriented accessory maker, the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini works as well with a PC as it does a Mac, iPad, or USB-C Android device.
My 1TB review unit sports an SSD drive, so it makes no noise. Some rotating HDs may make noise, but the enclosure is designed to minimize it, while also dissipating the heat via heat sinks and airflow.
As with any external storage, the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini fits a number of use cases including backups, storage for video and audio editing projects, consolidating files from smaller drives, alternative boot source, general external storage for PCs, streaming devices, or gaming consoles. Because it is bus-powered, it connects just as easily to a USB port on a television as it does a PC or Mac, making content available on your big screen.
The drive with various storage capacities is available on Amazon, at OWC’s e-commerce site MacSales and other retailers. Our 1TB SSD review unit sells for $249. A 1TB HD version retails for $94.
Highly rated on sustainable packaging with almost no plastic in sight. The cardboard shipping tray demonstrates what other firms can do to eliminate the foam and plastic used to protect their products in shipping.
What could be improved
I don’t have a lot to offer OWC on improvements for the Mercury Elite Pro Mini. Perhaps a bit more policy on the edges of the aluminum case to make them smoother, but that’s a nit.
People respect OWC for good reason. Their top-notch design and execution often make the competition look second-rate.
The website states that the drives are certified for demanding use. I would encourage OWC to be more transparent about their testing. Normally IPX and Military Specification (MilSpec) ratings and results accompany such claims. I have no qualms about tossing the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini in my bag and taking it on a trip. Without the documentation, some may find the claim untrustworthy.
OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini: The Bottom Line
You can find less expensive drives on the market, but you get what you pay for. OWC always brings the goods, and they back up their quality promises with a great warranty. The versatile OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini supports everything from photo backups to hanging off a personal cloud server to extend storage. Its small size and beautiful design fit any décor while its nearly weightless profile makes the Mercury Elite Pro Mini very portable.
If you are looking for top-notch external storage for a mobile world, some version of the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini will likely align with your requirements.
OWC provided the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini for review. Images courtesy of OWC.
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