The CalDigit Tuff Nano is essentially a better-looking miniaturized version of its full-sized Tuff drive, complete with rubber bumper and an IP67 rating. Unlike the regular Tuff Nano, this version is small, with pocket-friendly dimensions that make it compare well with similarly-sized drives like those from Samsung’s popular T-Series lineup.

Should you consider adding the CalDigit Tuff Nano SSD to your stable of external storage devices? Watch our hands-on video review for the details.

Specifications

  • Powered by a 512GB, or 1TB (coming soon) Toshiba M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps)
  • Read Speed: 1055MB/s
  • Bus-powered USB-C connection
  • 1 x USB-C to USB-A cable
  • 1 x USB-C to USB-C cable
  • IP67 rated
  • Passively-cooled chassis
  • Includes rubber bumper
  • Available with gray, black, blue, or red bumper
  • Includes hard clamshell storage case
  • Dimensions: 2.99 x 2.14 x 0.57-inches
  • Weight: 0.163lbs (.074kg)
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Price: $129.95

CalDigit Tuff Nano Review

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Unboxing

In typical CalDigit fashion, the Tuff Nano comes in a hard-shell archival case with room for storing the two USB cables that come bundled with the drive. One of the included cables allows for easy connection to a Mac via USB-C, and an additional cable uses an older USB-A connection for computers without USB-C.

CalDigit Tuff Nano SSD Review

The Nano itself comes wrapped inside a soft silicone bumper that’s removable. If the bumper is removed, the CalDigit Tuff Nano SSD features length and width dimensions slightly smaller than the popular Samsung T5, although it is a few hairs thicker than Samsung’s drive.

CalDigit employs the use of an aluminum exterior for the shell of the drive, with plastic end caps. One awesome thing to note is that the drive is totally devoid of an activity indicator light, which is usually an eyesore when using an external drive in dark environments.

Durability

Besides its diminutive size and speed, one of the most significant characteristics of the CalDigit Tuff Nano is its durability. The drive was designed specifically to stand up against harsh environments and dons an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance.

CalDigit Tuff Nano SSD

CalDigit says that the Tuff Nano can be dropped from heights up to three meters, and submerged in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. This is all, of course, depending on whether or not you use the included silicone bumper, which has been specifically designed to keep the Tuff Nano durable. For example, the bumper features a cap that seals off the USB-C port to help prevent water ingress.

CalDigit Tuff Nano SSD Bumper

Although I wouldn’t recommend purposely dropping the Tuff Nano, covering it with sand, or dunking it in water, it’s good to know that it’s capable of standing up to such harsh environments in the case of an accident.

CalDigit Tuff Nano SSD IP67

I was most curious about the water resistance, so I took the liberty to dunk the drive in a bowl of water for a few minutes, and it emerged no worse for the wear. The bumper did a great job of keeping water out of the USB-C port area.

Performance

The CalDigit Tuff Drive supports bus-powered USB 3.2 Gen 2 connectivity, which is basically another way of saying it can connect at up to 10Gbps. As a result, CalDigit touts read speeds up to 1050 MB/s, and as testing shows, it comes fairly close to that number.

Tuff Nano connected to 16-inch MacBook Pro via USB-C

I used the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test tool to benchmark the CalDigit Tuff Nano, and here is a typical result:

Blackmagic Disk Speed Test Tool

The USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface plus the Toshiba M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD inside the drive proved to be a nice combo, producing speeds that present more than enough headroom for high-bitrate 4K workflows. The main potential downside of this drive for such workflows is capacity, as only a 512GB version is available, although CalDigit says a 1TB version should come soon.

Without bumper

Because the drive uses passive cooling only, I also made sure to test extended file transfers to see if the drive would throttle after a period of time like other drives have been known to do. The CalDigit Tuff Nano was able to produce the same speed rate throughout the entire transaction when transferring a 20GB, 50GB, and over 100GB file.

9to5Mac’s Take

If 512GB of storage is enough for your needs, the CalDigit Tuff Nano SSD is an impressive portable drive that’s bus-powered, can stand up to the elements, and packs consistent speed. With its included removable bumper, I think that it’s a drive that’s geared for travel and working in environments that could be deemed harsh.

Caldigit Tuff nano on table with bokeh

The CalDigit Tuff Nano SSD is a solid MacBook Air and MacBook Pro companion. With its simple USB-C connectivity, small form factor, tough exterior, and $130 price, it’s well worth considering if the storage size is enough for you. What do you think? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts.

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