Kingston XS1000 External SSD review: Small, fast and affordable

Kingston’s tiny new external SSD is quick and budget-friendly [Review]


Kingston XS1000 External SSD review★★★★
Add up to 2TB of storage to your Mac or iPad with this pocket-size SSD.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Kingston XS1000 External SSD is about the size of pack of gum but holds up to 2 terabytes of data. And it can transfer files at high speed, too.

I put the petite but powerful and affordable solid state drive to the test and came away impressed.

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

Kingston XS1000 External SSD review

Internal storage is fast and convenient, but Apple makes its customers pay through the nose for it. Configuring a MacBook Air with an additional 256GB costs a whopping $200, for instance.

An easy way around this is with an external SSD. With the Kingston XS1000, you can add 2TB to your computer for about $100.

Plus, an external drive is a very easy way to upgrade an older Mac. For some models, it’s the only option.

An SSD like this also proves handy to back up your data. You can use it for Time Machine backups, then leave it at home when you carry your MacBook around.

An SSD ready to go on the road

Kingston XS1000 review
The Kingston XS1000 is so much smaller than SSDs used to be.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The exterior of the Kingston XS1000 is a black plastic rectangle. It measures a mere 2.75 inches by 1.3 inches by 0.5 inches (69.5mm x 32.6mm x 13.5mm), and weighs 1 ounce (29 grams).

In short, it’s extremely portable, especially considering it comes in either 1TB or 2TB capacities. The SSD is easily pocketable.

There’s a USB-C port on one edge, with an LED that blinks to indicate data is being transferred.

The downside of the XS1000’s design is that it needs a cable to connect — it has a USB-C port, not a connector. That’s not a problem for use in the office or home, but it’s something else to tote around when using the SSD on the road.

Pleasingly quick data transfers

Kingston XS1000 has a USB-C port, not a connector.
Kingston XS1000 has a USB-C port, not a connector.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Kingston XS1000 isn’t just portable, it’s quite fast. The drive supports USB 3.2 Gen 2, so it can move data at up to 1,050 MB/s read and 1,000 MB/s write.

To test Kingston’s claims about speed, I did some real-world testing … and came away impressed.

Transferring a 1GB file to or from the SSD took about two seconds. A 10GB file made the trip in approximately 13 seconds.

That speed puts the XS1000 at the high end of performance for consumer-grade external SSDs. But it’s slower than drives that use Thunderbolt, like the Sabrent 1TB Rocket Nano XTRM SSD. Thunderbolt-enabled products are considerably more expensive, though.

To get top performance from the drive, you need a cable designed for high-speed data transfers. It comes with one, but this connects to USB-A ports. You’ll need to supply an adapter or a USB-C cable to connect to your Mac.

The tiny SSD supports macOS, iPadOS, iOS, Windows, Android and Linux. I tested it with an iPad and an iPhone 15, and it performed beautifully.

Kingston XS1000 External SSD final thoughts

Kingston XS1000 works well with a range of Apple computers.
Kingston XS1000 works well with a range of Apple computers.
Photo: Kingston

I store files, pictures, videos, etc., on a 2TB external drive that I keep on my desk. I bought it a few years ago, so it takes up a solid chunk of desktop space. The XS1000 holds the same amount of data, and it’s so small I need to find a secure place to store it so I don’t accidentally misplace the drive.

Alternatively, I could make a copy of everything and keep it in my luggage to use when I’m traveling.

That’s welcome progress in shrinking down external storage.


On the downside, the all-plastic exterior looks a bit cheap. And many Mac users will need to buy a USB-C cable to use with the drive.


The Kingston XS1000 External SSD is quite affordable considering its capacity options. The 1TB version lists for $64.99 while the 2TB version goes for $109.99.

Buy it from: Kingston or Amazon

XS2000: A faster alternative for some

If you also use a Windows PC in addition to your Apple computers, you might be interested in Kingston’s XS2000 instead. This SSD is very similar to the XS1000, but it supports USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, which means it can transfer data at up to 2,000 MB/s. However, Macs do not currently support USB 3.2 Gen 2×2. Apple’s focus is more on Thunderbolt, which is even faster.

But you might be interested in the XS2000 for other reasons. Its casing is metal, not plastic, and it comes with a rubberized bumper case. Plus, it includes the USB-C cable needed for a Mac.

Kingston provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more 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.