The Netac Z Slim is a portable solid state drive that is lightweight, compact, reasonably solid, affordable but slow.
It has a full aluminum case which can scratch easily but doesn’t feel tacky given its black color and the lack of any garish features. The Z Slim comes with the strict minimum when it comes to accessories: just USB cable, an adapter and a pouch and there is no bundled software. There’s an LED as well and is available in capacities ranging from 250GB to 2TB. Just bear in mind that it doesn’t carry any IP or MIL-STD ratings; so don’t drop it in a glass of water to impress your colleagues, this is not a water resistant device. It still feels reasonably solid but be aware of these limitations (even if it includes a three-year warranty).
Netac claims that the drive should reach read/write speeds of up to 500 MBps which is slow by today’s standards. That’s because the company chose to use SATA parts rather than the more common and faster NVMe; I cannot fathom; it looks - to me at least - as a way to drive the bill of material to as low as possible. But bargain basement, this one isn’t.
The Z Slim ranks amongst the most expensive “slow” (i.e. SATA based) external SSDs on the market right now. To make things worse, there’s even a handful of portable SSD that offer twice the speed of the Z Slim with a lower price tag.
Netac Z Slim: Pricing and availability
How much does it cost? $109.99 (2TB), $65.99 (1TB), $42.99 (500GB), $31.99 (250GB)
When is it available? Now
Where can you get it? Globally
In a fiercely competitive category, the Z Slim faces some tough competition; with little to differentiate between the products, it’s very often down to price and at the time of writing, that’s a contest that the Z Slim has lost and one that ultimately prevents it from entering our best portable SSD buying guide.
Netac Z Slim: Benchmark
Given what I knew about the Z Slim, the test results are in no way surprising. Netac says that it will reach 550 MBps on read and write and we got close to those numbers during our synthetic tests. That number goes way down in real life tests, just under 400 MBps. The drive didn’t warm up even under load.
Netac Z Slim: Specs
Should I buy the Netac Z Slim?
Netac Z Slim alternatives
The SSK is the fastest of the affordable alternatives with a rated read/write speed of 1050/1000 MBps. It has a useful carabiner and is a tad thicker than the Z Slim.
The Silicon Power PC60 is bland, unassuming and average in everything except its price. It is an entry-level, affordable and capable device that is far, far cheaper than the competition.
The Lexar SL2000 portable SSD is the cheapest 1TB portable SSD right now. Its chassis is mainly plastic and it is bulkier than the Z Slim but that shouldn’t bother bargain hunters.
How I tested the Netac Z Slim
After having formatted the Z Slim to exFAT, I test it the same way I test other storage components (external HDD, microSD cards etc). I use the latest versions of CrystalDiskMark, Atto, AS SSD and AJA benchmarks, noting the best scores achieved in each. They are all free and can be downloaded by anyone. I also transferred a folder of random files, roughly 10GB in size, to get a rough idea of real life performance.