We can draw two conclusions from this review. First, the prices of low-cost SSDs still haven't hit rock-bottom. Second, be wary of low-cost SSDs from companies you've never heard of.
You already know that more affordable solid-state storage is on the way. In fact, 256GB drives should drop to as low as $40 by the end of the year. The next drops will come from the introduction of 3D flash from Micron, SK hynix and Toshiba. Many of the low-cost TLC-based models available today are just placeholders. They're a way for manufacturers to keep their portfolios fresh as 3D R&D wraps up.
But a lot of those SSDs suffer from low sequential write speeds. They're fast enough for most mainstream users, but budget-conscious gamers and enthusiasts make up much of the market shopping for low-cost SSDs. We've only see two TLC-based drives successfully mask the native performance of triple-level-cell NAND: Samsung's 850 EVO and, more recently, MyDigitalSSD BP5e, which writes at 200 MB/s by taking the SLC to TLC fold operation out. Direct-to-die operations wear the flash out faster, but reduce by one-half the time it takes to install large applications. Storage vendors need to keep you from seeing TLC's native performance to make entry-level drives more broadly viable, and Tigo's 240GB T-One fails to do that.
With an oversupply of flash, we'll start seeing more SSDs from new brands, a majority coming from Asia. These drives are starting to hit the U.S. and European markets through Amazon, eBay and smaller specialty sites. What we found today is that they're not all built the same. Even though Silicon Motion's SM2256 processor has several design wins with companies like Adata, Crucial and SanDisk, that doesn't guarantee the same performance from off-brand products utilizing similar hardware. Granted, in most of our tests, Tigo's T-One performed a lot like Adata's 240GB SP550. It wasn't until we looked at notebook battery life that the T-One under-performed Adata's offering. Not everyone will drop a new SSD into a notebook of course, but without that benchmark, you'd never know that Adata's drive facilitates 71 more minutes away from the wall.