A new flagship for the X Series, the X10 Pro has all the valuable features of the X9 Pro, and with the correct USB port, it can be twice as fast for reading and writing. However, it isn’t cheap, and the Gen 2×2 port isn’t commonly found on laptops or desktops making it more of a specialist purchase.
Our recent X9 Pro review revealed a new look and features that depart from what we’ve seen from Crucial in the X8 and X6.
Alongside the X9 Pro, Crucial also launched the X10 Pro, a new top-tier design with all the new technical advantages we witnessed on that device. These include enhanced resilience, hardware encryption, a longer warranty and a new lighter form factor.
But while the Crucial X9 Pro didn’t dramatically improve on the speed of the previous Crucial X8, the X10 Pro does dangle the performance carrot, with the potential for doubling the transfer speeds.
Obviously, Crucial wants more cash for the X10 Pro, so is the performance on offer worth the extra outlay?
Design & Build
No USB-A adapter
The external appearance of the X10 Pro is identical to that of the X9 Pro, as it shares the same 65 x 50 x 10mm (WxHxD) enclosure. It’s a pleasing shape to hold while being lighter and smaller than the Crucial X6.
In this new form, the top and sides of the drive are a metal alloy, and the underside is a soft rubberised coating, which is the face you probably want to be in contact with other expensive technology if you throw the X10 Pro in a bag with them. It should also stop it from sliding off your desk.
On the X9 Pro, I initially mistook the hole in the top right corner for a means to dangle the drive on a lanyard before discovering that this is where the activity LED is housed. You could still loop something through, as the hole isn’t obstructed, but it might damage that activity light.
The only real difference between this and the X9 Pro is that the X10 Pro has the signature black colour scheme of the X8 and X6, and comparing the two, I like this aesthetic more.
Coming in 1-, 2- and 4TB capacities, the X10 Pro offers plenty of space for carrying a substantial file library or backing up a laptop. Hopefully, before we see a future model that might have grown to include an 8TB option, until then, these are the available capacities.
As I’ll get to in time, the X10 Pro costs more than the X9 Pro for the same capacities, but this still didn’t allow sufficient budget for a USB-C to USB-A adapter. The provided 23cm cable is USB-C at both ends and those wanting to use USB-A ports will need to provide an adapter separately.
While it made some sense with the X6, considering that customers for the 4TB model will be parting company with around $290 in the USA and north of £310 in the UK, for that cost, Crucial didn’t stretch to include an adapter is disappointing.
Durability has been enhanced on the X10 Pro as it was with the X9 Pro, being the first X series drives to be IP55 rated against dust and water ingress and surviving a 2M drop test. It needs to be said that IP55 isn’t an equivalent level to the IP67 or IP68 we often see on smartphones that can handle full water submersion.
It will handle being splashed with water and an exceptionally short dip, but I wouldn’t take this as permission to take it swimming or river rafting. The first ‘5’ means it’s dust-protected but that’s one off being properly dust-tight.
Equally, the drop tests seem less impressive when Crucial notes reveal the drop is on to a carpet and not a genuinely hard surface. I’ve dropped the X8 on carpet, being triple the weight of the X10 Pro, and it survived without a scratch, so make of that what you will.
Crucial did increase the warranty to five years on these new designs, suggesting that either the electronics in them is inherently more reliable or better protected than that used in the X8 and X6, which got only three years cover.
Specs & Features
USB 3.2 Gen 2×2
Up to 4TB
The differences between the X10 Pro and X9 Pro are subtle. Both offer hardware encryptable flash storage in the same range of capacities and come with no accessories other than a USB-C cable.
Where you might be tempted to pick the X10 Pro, other than its fetching black livery, is that the USB controller in this model is capable of nearly twice the performance. But only if it is connected to a port that supports USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (aka USB 20Gbps).
And that’s the rub, because that USB specification port isn’t that common and it is about to be overtaken by USB 4.0 when that appears more in the near future.
If you have a laptop or desktop system that has Gen 2×2, then the X10 Pro’s extra transfer speed can be well exploited for backups and recovery. But, for those that take storage around to copy files over, they are more likely to encounter standard USB 3.2 Gen 2 and achieve the same performance out of the X10 Pro as they would from the X9 Pro.
What entirely stuffed Gen 2×2 as a standard was that the USB consortium, in its infinite wisdom, decided not to make it a subset of USB 4.0. Why they did this is complicated, but it has to do with Gen 2×2 using a completely different using multi-lane operation, whereas USB 4.0 works much more like Thunderbolt.
Because of these structural changes, USB 4.0 uses tunnelling to stream data for DisplayPort, PCIe and USB3 packets inside of the USB4 protocol, whereas USB 3.2 Gen2x2 transmits only raw USB3 packets.
Unless you have this technology in a current computer or can add it via a PCIe card, then it is unlikely that your future systems will be able to drive the X10 Pro at full speed. Although with a future version of USB 4.0 the total bandwidth is being increased from 40Gbps to 80GBps, it might be possible to channel 20Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 through it.
Given assumptions that have been made about USB in the past that then never happened, I wouldn’t make any bold plans based on this happening since the number of Gen 2×2 devices in use has been relatively small to this point.
One-month Adobe included
Software still awaiting launch
Differences aside, the software and selection of offers with the X10 Pro are the same as that provided with the X9 Pro.
These include one-month trial offers for both Adobe’s Creative Cloud All-apps plan and Mylio Photos, where it would appear Crucial might be advantaged if you sign up to pay for either. A month’s access to the Creative Cloud All-apps plan is worth $54.99/£51.98.
Alongside those offers, Crucial also has some software tools that are designed to help users make the most of the device, but like the X9 Pro, these currently don’t work with the X10 Pro, as they don’t recognise it.
Later in the year, Crucial promised a version of the automated backup tool Hedge and a Crucial Portable SSD Utility that can be used to live sync. But the Crucial software won’t be ready till September, and we’ve no indication of when the Hedge tool will appear.
The only shining light in the darkness of the X10 Pro software support is the Crucial branded version of Acronis True Image which does work with the drive as expected.
Hopefully, in a few months, the promises made by Crucial will be fulfilled because, at this time, they’re mostly missing in action.
Up to 2,100MB/s reads
Up to 2,000MB/s writes
For this review, Crucial provided me with a 2TB X10 Pro, and according to a Crucial written reviewer’s guide, the speed differences between this and other capacities are insignificant.
The quoted speed of the X10 Pro is 2,100MB/s reads, and 2,000MB/s writes, practically double that of the X9 Pro and X8. I got close to these in the default profile of CrystalDiskMark 8.0.4, although using the real-world profile, it managed only 1,857MB/s reads and 1,694MB/s writes.
These proved to be reasonably accurate numbers, as both the AS SSD test and AJA System test identified very similar outcomes.
Obviously, these results are only possible with a Gen 2×2 port, and those with only a Gen 2 port will see roughly 1,050MB/s on reading and writing and half of that again on a Gen 1 port. These speeds aren’t limitations of the X10 Pro, but of the bandwidth available to USB using the different protocols.
For direct comparison, we have data for the Corsair EX100U 2TB and Kingston XS2000 2TB, covering CrystalDiskMark, AJA, AS SSD and ATTO tests.
In CrystalDiskMark, the X10 Pro came a very close second behind the Kingston XS2000 and was far superior to the Corsair EX100U. AJA saw it as the fastest reader and almost on par with the write speed of the XS2000.
ATTO also determined a second place by a small amount over the XS2000, and AS SSD thought the X10 Pro was the same read speed by slightly slower at writing than the XS2000.
Given a degree of test variance and that we ended up testing with the X10 Pro and XS2000 was more accurately the bandwidth available over USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, the X10 Pro is at the top of this particular pile.
Overall, the X10 Pro performs well if you get a Gen 2×2 port, and the only way to go any faster is with Thunderbolt ports and drives that are compatible with that interface.
Price & Availability
Those that read our X9 Pro review will already know that Crucial decided to price these new products in different ways for customers in the USA and those outside that region. And the X10 Pro continues that trend.
All the pricing quoted here is buying directly from the Crucial websites in the specific regions.
The cheapest place to buy the X10 Pro is the USA, with the 1-, 2- and 4TB options costing $129.99, $209.99 and $339.99, respectively but discounted already to $119, $169 and $289. That’s a $40 markup on the X9 Pro 1- and 2TB prices and a $50 on the 4TB, oddly.
You can buy it from Crucial as well as Amazon and Andorama.
In the UK, the X10 Pro costs are £123.59, £199.19 and £322.79.
You can buy it from Crucial as well as Amazon, CCL, Ebuyer and Box with third-party retailers offering it from £103.
Based on current exchange rates, the UK X10 Pro costs 45%, 32% and 17% more than in the US, and with EU pricing, those price hikes are 44%, 31% and 16% more.
If you compare those cost differences and those of the X9 Pro, there is little that is consistent, other than the obvious fact that US customers get a substantially better deal in both cases.
Where the X10 Pro is different from the X9 Pro is that it is exclusively competing with other brands and not other Crucial products. The X9 Pro is up against the cheaper X6 and X8, which offer similar performance but fewer features from the same brand.
The branded products the X10 Pro is up against are the Corsair EX100U, Kingston XS2000 and the SanDisk SanDisk Extreme PRO V2 ranges.
For the smaller 1- and 2TB capacities, the Corsair EX100U is much cheaper than rivals, and at 1TB, it is half the price of the X10 Pro. A balancing factor is that the EX100U only comes with a 3-year warranty and doesn’t support hardware encryption.
While it might not be cheap, it is less than the SanDisk Extreme Pro across the board, and it is also a better deal at the highest capacity against the Kingston XS2000.
Its weakness is that it is the most expensive 1TB drive in this lineup at dollar prices, and only the SanDisk Extreme Pro V2 1TB is more expensive in Europe.
Overall, the X10 Pro, like the X9 Pro, doesn’t represent the fantastic value for money that the X8 and X6 offered when they first appeared, and some market adjustment may be required.
If you want a cheap Gen 2×2 drive and don’t care about resilience or encryption, the Corsair EX100U is better value for 1- and 2TB drives.
Check out our chart of the best portable hard drives and SSDs for more options.
The X10 Pro value entirely depends on whether you have USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports. Because if you don’t have these, the X9 Pro provides precisely the same bandwidth-limited functionality (in a silver chassis) for up to a third less money.
But, neither of them is a bargain, and in Europe, the costs are high for what was once a popular line and considered a go-to external storage option.
Maybe once Crucial has its software ducks in a line, the X10 Pro might seem a more worthwhile deal, but only for those with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports on all the machines they use.
Maybe when USB 4.0 becomes established, we’ll see an X11 Pro to support that interface, but for now, the X10 Pro is as good as it gets from Crucial for USB external SSDs.