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Kingston XS2000 Portable SSD Review: Small Size with XL Performance

20Gbps performance at 10Gbps prices

Kingston XS2000
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

Kingston’s XS2000 is a responsive portable SSD that delivers up to 2 GBps of throughput and decent pricing, but it lacks the sustained write performance of more capable DRAM-equipped SSDs.

For

  • + Compact and light
  • + Responsive performance
  • + IP55 rated with rubber sleeve
  • + 5-year warranty

Against

  • - Small but very thick
  • - Lacks encryption
  • - Slow and inconsistent sustained write speeds

Tom's Hardware Verdict

Kingston’s XS2000 is a responsive portable SSD that delivers up to 2 GBps of throughput and decent pricing, but it lacks the sustained write performance of more capable DRAM-equipped SSDs.

Pros

  • + + Compact and light
  • + + Responsive performance
  • + + IP55 rated with rubber sleeve
  • + + 5-year warranty

Cons

  • - - Small but very thick
  • - - Lacks encryption
  • - - Slow and inconsistent sustained write speeds

Kingston’s XS2000 comes with the high-powered combo of Silicon Motion’s newest SSD controller paired with Micron’s 96-Layer TLC flash, delivering big performance for its price point. This tiny but mighty SSD can deliver up to 2 GBps of sequential throughput in a compact, lightweight, and water and dust-resistant package. 

Portable SSDs have become the favorite solution for those who need fast and reliable storage on the go. But while SATA SSDs powered many of the external models for the past few years, NVMe SSDs and the latest chips from companies like ASMedia, JMicron, and Intel have opened up new performance ceilings. These products give gamers, content creators, and enthusiasts top speeds of up to 10 or 20Gbps, or faster.

Internally, most of these portable SSDs have an adapter board with the interface bridge chip integrated into its own PCB, which then connects to an M.2 NVMe SSD. However, that can require a large and heavy enclosure design to contain all the components and efficiently handle the heat output.

Kingston’s XS2000 is unique because it leverages a streamlined internal design from Silicon Motion that doesn’t need an external bridge chip; instead, it communicates with native USB. This design reduces size, weight, power consumption, and cost, all while offering high levels of performance.

Specifications

Product500GB1TB2TB
Pricing $99.99 $159.99 $284.99
Capacity (User / Raw)512GB / 512GB1024GB / 1024GB2048GB / 2048GB
Interface / ProtocolUSB-C / USB 3.2 Gen 2x2USB-C / USB 3.2 Gen 2x2USB-C / USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
Included11.5" USB Type-C Cable; Rubber sleeve11.5" USB Type-C Cable; Rubber sleeve11.5" USB Type-C Cable; Rubber sleeve
Sequential Read2,000 MBps2,000 MBps2,000 MBps
Sequential Write2,000 MBps2,000 MBps2,000 MBps
Interface and NAND ControllerSilicon Motion SM2320Silicon Motion SM2320Silicon Motion SM2320
DRAMN/AN/AN/A
Storage MediaMicron 96L TLCMicron 96L TLCMicron 96L TLC
Default File SystemexFATexFATexFAT
PowerBus-poweredBus-poweredBus-powered
EnduranceIP55 water-dust resistant and shockproof w/ removable rubber sleeveIP55 water-dust resistant and shockproof w/ removable rubber sleeveIP55 water-dust resistant and shockproof w/ removable rubber sleeve
SecurityN/AN/AN/A
Dimensions (L x W x H)69.5 x 32.6 x 13.5mm69.5 x 32.6 x 13.5mm69.5 x 32.6 x 13.5mm
Weight28.9 g28.9 g28.9 g
Part NumberSXS2000/500GSXS2000/1000GSXS2000/2000G
Warranty5-Years5-Years5-Years

The XS2000 is available in popular capacities of 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB, each priced around $0.16-$0.20 per GB. The drive is rated to deliver both read and write speeds of up to 2,000 MBps and comes preformatted with the exFAT file system for compatibility with all OSes. However, write performance may degrade during heavy use because the XS2000 employs SLC caching and will need ample idle time to recoup its full write speeds after sustained workloads.

Kingston backs the XS2000 with a five-year warranty, and like many portable SSDs, it comes without an endurance rating. Still, Kingston’s XS2000 leverages SRAM ECC and end-to-end data path protection, as well as Silicon Motion’s NANDXtend ECC technology. NANDXtend ECC is a three-level error correction algorithm that combines LDPC hard and soft decoding with RAID protection for enhanced endurance and data retention with minimal overprovisioning.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The XS2000 comes with a single 11.5” USB Type-C cable. The drive is IP55 rated and shock resistant with an included rubber sleeve. It also supports TRIM, S.M.A.R.T. data reporting, and UASP.

A Closer Look

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Kingston XS2000

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Kingston XS2000

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Kingston XS2000

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Kingston XS2000

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Kingston’s XS2000 is made of both plastic and metal for a light and fairly durable design. Measuring 69.5 x 32.6 x 13.5mm and weighing in at an ultra-light 28.9 grams, the Kingston’s XS2000 is compact and ready to go wherever you need it. The included rubber sleeve adds even more durability to the mix in case the drive drops from your hands or accidentally gets kicked across the room. It also has a blue activity light next to the USB-C port.

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Kingston XS2000

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Kingston XS2000

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Internally, Kingston's XS2000 sports Silicon Motion's latest portable SSD controller, the SM2320. As mentioned, this SSD controller isn't a typical model — it's built as a single chip solution for portable SSDs, so it's both a controller and USB bridge in one. The controller has a single core and four channels, with each channel interfacing with up to eight NAND dies. Our 1TB model comes with sixteen dies of Micron's 512Gb 96-Layer TLC flash. Each die has a four-plane architecture to provide fast access during both sequential and random workloads.

However, one of the drawbacks is that the drive is DRAM-less, which results in poor sustained write performance compared to many DRAM-based portable SSDs that we've reviewed. Also, while the controller supports AES 256-bit encryption and many competing drives come with support for it, the XS2000 lacks this useful security feature. 

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