This $35 2TB SSD is not a scam [Review] | Cult of Mac

This $35 2TB SSD is not a scam [Review]


UGR Tech Portable SSD External Hard Drive 2TB review★★★☆☆
UGR Tech‘s 2TB SSD definitely isn’t top quality, but it works. And it puts less strain on your credit card.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The UGR Tech Portable SSD External Hard Drive 2TB offers a lot of storage for an exceedingly low price — it’s available from Cult of Mac Deals for just $34.99. I could even call that a suspiciously low price, because rival USB-C drives sell for about four times as much. So I ordered one and tested it out.

I discovered why the external SSD is so very cheap, but also that it’s not a scam or a ripoff … as long as you understand the significant speed limitation of this 2TB drive.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

UGR Tech Portable SSD External Hard Drive 2TB review

External drives still have their uses, even though iCloud and other online storage options are cheap and widely available. Having your files with you on a drive you can hold in your hand means you don’t have to worry about the whims of internet access. You can always get to them when you need them, wherever you go.

But big storage drives aren’t cheap. You can expect to pay more than $100 for a multi-terabyte SSD from a reputable company.

And then there’s the UGR Tech Portable SSD External Hard Drive 2TB, which you can pick up for about $35.

I went on a scam hunt

This drive pops up in the Cult of Mac Deals stream every few months, but then disappears after a few days when the stock runs out. It typically reappears later on. It’s back now.

Whenever this happened, the extremely low price used to make me suspicious. I considered the possibility that this was a scam — a cheap piece of junk being foisted on customers. If I worked for the kind of company that did that sort of thing, I wanted to know about it.

So I ordered one. I didn’t request a review unit from the manufacturer — I went “under the radar.” I bought a UGR Tech Portable SSD External Hard Drive 2TB with my own money and using a personal email address. I didn’t tell my boss until after the product had been shipped to me. This means the unit I tested is just like the one you’ll get if you order your own.

So I can say with certainty that it’s not a scam. It has a real performance drawback, but that’s what you can expect for any very low-cost product.

Not too cheaply made

UGR Tech 2TB SSD with Samsung T7
The UGR Tech drive clearly copied the design of the Samsung T7.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

It’s obvious that the designers of the UGR Tech drive “borrowed” the design of the Samsung T7. I own both, and they look nearly identical, though their dimensions vary slightly. That means the budget drive is a relatively flat rectangle with rounded edges about the size of credit card, just thicker.

At 3 inches by 2.25 inches by 0.4 inches, the product is very portable. Even pocketable.

Most of the exterior is aluminum, and it comes in any color you want, as long as what you want is black.

Build quality is decent. I know the device is relatively robust because my cat already knocked it off my desk and the exterior wasn’t even scratched. The case firmly resists my efforts to disassemble the unit, or even bend or flex it.

On one end, a USB-C port sits next to a blue LED that lights up when you connect the drive to a computer. A 10-inch USB-A connecting cable comes in the box.

Not a 64GB fake

I was suspicious about this product because there’s a common scam in which the makers of SSDs or SD cards you see on Amazon, etc., put in a small amount of storage, then reprogram the controller chip to falsely report a larger amount. The usual actual amount is 64GB, and attempting to put more data than that corrupts everything on the drive.

That is not true for the drive sold by Cult of Mac Deals. My test unit reports a capacity of 1.9TB, which is typical for a 2TB drive. So far, I’ve put 138GB on it without any problem — none of the files are corrupted. And the total is growing as my testing continues.

Very slow but usable data-transfer speeds

The UGR Tech Portable SSD External Hard Drive 2TB uses USB-C
Data going through the USB-C port on UGR Tech‘s SSD flows fairly slowly.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

I thought a top-quality USB-C drive for $35 was too good to be true, and it is. My tests show the UGR Tech Portable SSD External Hard Drive 2TB is not top quality. Not even close. But that doesn’t mean it’s not usable.

To answer the question on everyone’s mind, the card is so cheap because it’s made with out-of-date tech, so data transfers are slow. According to the official spec sheet, the drive uses USB 2.0, a standard that was replaced by USB 3.0 way back in 2008. That means its maximum read speed is a mere 43MBps, and it can write data at up to 37MBps.

Real-world performance never lives up to specs, so I copied a 1GB test file onto the drive — the transfer took 52 seconds. The trip the other way took 41 seconds.

That’s not quick, but then you wouldn’t expect much speed from such an old standard. A drive that supports USB 3.2 Gen 2, like the Kingston DataTraveler Max, can handle the same transfers in about two seconds. But you’ll pay a lot more for that drive.

In hopes of laying to rest the “it’s a scam” accusations, UGR Tech doesn’t conceal that the drive offers slow speeds. It’s spelled out clearly on the product page.

Also, if you’re considering buying one, you should be aware that the product has a moderately irritating quirk. For some reason, it doesn’t like any cable but its own. I tested it with a variety of top-quality USB-C cables, and the drive would never mount. But it showed up on my computer every time I used the USB-A cable that came in the box. A USB-C adapter on the cable works fine, though.

Useful for images and backups

After I found out that the UGR Tech Portable SSD External Hard Drive 2TB is a bit of a slowpoke, I started thinking about what a large amount of storage without high-speed access could be used for. I have a couple of suggestions.

Even its modest data-transfer speeds are easily capable of moving images around fairly quickly — pictures from my iPhone 14 Plus camera range around 5MB to 6MB, so they take little time to transfer. We all have tons of photos taking up space on our computers. This drive can take on a lot of that burden. You can even move them directly from an iPhone or iPad.

Maybe put your MP3 collection on the drive. These files also tend to be just a few megabytes in size, and you can transfer them quickly.

Or connect the USB-C drive to your Mac and run Time Machine. These backups can take up a lot of space, and a 2TB drive offers plenty of that. The drive is fast enough for the task. And you generally won’t care how quickly these backups run, as it’s happening in the background.

Just to be clear, you can put any size file onto the UGR Tech Portable SSD External Hard Drive 2TB. Moving huge files just takes either patience or foreplanning. While testing to be sure the drive could really hold terabytes of files, I started transferring a huge collection, then went and did something else while my computer took care of it. In that situation, how long the massive transfer took was unimportant.

And my tests showed there’s no problem playing videos or songs directly off the drive. Don’t worry about skipping.

UGR Tech Portable SSD External Hard Drive 2TB final thoughts

UGR Tech Portable SSD External Hard Drive 2TB
The slow performance of UGR Tech’s $35 SSD might mean it’s not for you, but don’t call it a scam.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Ever shop at Walmart? The discount chain offers cheaply made goods at low prices. This drive is just like that. It’s not top quality but it’s sold at a bargain price. Walmart doesn’t rip you off, and neither does this product.

As long as you understand you’re giving up high-speed data transfers, this might be just the USB-C drive you’re looking for. Especially at $35.

But if you’d prefer something faster — which is completely understandable — there are plenty of good options out there. Just don’t call this one a scam.


Just so there’s no confusion, if this drive cost what its rivals do, it’d get one star or less. But we can’t ignore the $100 price advantage.


The UGR Tech Portable SSD External Hard Drive 2TB is normally $55, but is available now from Cult of Mac Deals for $34.99.

Buy it from: Cult of Mac Deals

For comparison, the 2TB Samsung T7 external SSD I mentioned earlier goes for $129.99 on Amazon.

The only one who provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article was the author himself. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.