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Review: DockCase Pocket SSD enclosure packs smart features in a minuscule package

DockCase has launched its Pocket M.2 enclosure. Joining an array of SSD enclosures, this pocket enclosure is designed specifically for the smallest 2230 size NVMe M.2 drives. It brings USB-C connectivity, but like DockCase’s other products, it stands out for its combination of looks and built-in smart features, helping it earn its price.

As usual, I want to provide my upfront warning that this product is currently on Kickstarter. All their other products have been in the Kickstarter stage during my coverage as well, and all succeeded in delivering the product, but I’d be remiss not to mention it.

Hands-On with DockCase’s Pocket M.2 enclosure

Inside the box, you get the smart enclosure itself, a very nice braided USB-C cable, and a small screwdriver for removing the back of the enclosure and installing your SSD. The back is held on with a single Philips head screw, with another screw used to hold down the SSD itself.

The inside of the enclosure is very simple but has a nice-looking black PCB and a large purple capacitor, with room for the SSD. DockCase uses this large capacitor in all their enclosures to keep the drive powered for a few seconds longer after being disconnected to provide some power loss protection and prevent data from being corrupted.

With its USB-C connection, the enclosure is limited to a theoretical maximum speed of 10Gb/s, and in testing it with one of my 128GB SK Hynix drives, I was seeing real-world write speeds of 850MB/s and read speeds of about 900MB/s. Using a different SSD, you could get slightly faster speeds with the enclosure, but that connection means you won’t see the speeds possible on some Thunderbolt-connected enclosures.

An array of SMART features

Plugging in the enclosure reveals what makes it stand out – its 1.3-inch screen. When in standby, the home screen displays whether that power loss protection capacitor is charged, the SSD model currently installed, the remaining life of the SSD, and the amount of data that has been read from or written to the drive since it was powered on.

When you start accessing the drive, a new screen automatically pops up to show you the read/write speed, data read/written this power session, and the total amount of data read/written over the life of the drive.

Beyond these, there are several screens accessible by holding the small button on the side. The first provides far more detailed SMART data from the SSD, while the second lets you adjust the settings of the DockCase enclosure itself. You can enable read-only mode, change the wallpaper duration, change language, and a few more options. In my use, I haven’t had to change any of these settings, but I can certainly imagine a few instances where the built-in read-only mode could come in handy.

The next screen offers graphs of the drive’s temperature and input voltage, while the final screen allows you to upgrade the enclosure’s firmware.

Dockcase Pocket M.2 Enclosure on desk

9to5Mac’s Take

The enclosure’s design and smart features make it a compelling option, with the primary drawback being its price. The early bird price on Kickstarter began at $69, and after the campaign is over, it will be up to $109. You can get toolless Thunderbolt enclosures on Amazon for $89, while USB-C options can be found for $29 or less.

While it may not offer the highest performance or absolute best value for money, it’s earned its place in my everyday carry, thanks to its minuscule size and great looks.

Get DockCase’s Pocket M.2 enclosure on Kickstarter

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