Remember the days when the only ability to have storage inside your PC was by hooking up an internal storage device commonly known has hard disk or hard disk drive? That was the storage standard for quite some time, and other than that, there was absolutely no way of having your storage outside your computer. Then came those USB flash drives that allowed you to carry small amount of data whenever you wanted to.
However, when compared to actual, full sized hard drives, these USB drives didn’t really have enough storage and were often quite expensive. With that out of the way, things have drastically changed in the modern day and age, hard drives are quickly being replaced by SSDs (solid state drives) and while USB drives are still relevant, they have a direct opponent known as the external drive.
These external hard drive are powered using the USB cables, however, they have storage that can easily equal the storage that is usually found in the internal hard drives. The main purpose of these external drives is not to carry operating systems but provide enough storage so people can easily back up their data rather than keeping it on multiple flash drives like in the old days.
These storage devices are available in several different sizes that range from 500 gigs and all the way up to 1, 2, and even 4 terabytes. With that said, at this point, it’s pretty obvious that the higher the storage, the higher the price you will be paying. But don’t worry, these storage devices are a little bit more expensive than the internal mechanical drives, however, not as expensive as the solid state drives.
If you are someone who is currently roaming the market for an external hard drive that is both amazing, and budget friendly, then you’d be glad to know that there will be a lot of options to choose from. However, the same advantage can be a disadvantage if it’s your first time buying an external hard drive. That’s why we have created this list to help make things easier for you. Without further ado, let’s take a look.
Top 10 Best Portable HDD/SSD Drives 2021
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1. SanDisk Extreme 900 Portable SSD
The Best and Super Fast Portable SSD Drive In the Market
SanDisk has established itself as one of the finest names when it comes to storage, and today’s no different. The first external hard drive on our list is coming to us with a twist; apart from being just an external drive, it also happens to be a full-fledged portable SSD. This means that you are going to experience blazing fast transfer rates and more security as the data stored on an SSD is not prone to failures that are usually plaguing the mechanical drives. Let’s take a look at the external drive itself.
The SanDisk Extreme 900 Portable SSD comes in a variety of different storage options; these options start from 480 gigs, and go all the way up to 1.92 terabyte, and for a portable hard drive, these are enough. However, if you are maxing out on the storage, then be prepared to pay a pretty heavy price.
Looking ahead, you get an external SSD that offers super-fast storage thanks to the fact that it fully supports USB 3.1 standard and comes with a USB Type C port as well as a standard USB port for older hardware. The performance on both ports is super-fast, and the sequential speed on USB 3.0 is 450 mbps and that’s a lot considering the size of this puppy.
The portable SSD comes with a 3 year of warranty, and is completely ruggedized. However, you should know that it’s not water resistant or waterproof. You should also note that the Portable SSD happens to be one of the fastest external storage devices we have tested, even faster than the Samsung T3.
2. Samsung T3 Portable SSD
Editor Choice: Best in budget ssd You can say it future proof
Next up, we are going to look at a direct competitor for the SanDisk Extreme 900 Portable SSD, and this time, we are going to take a look at the Samsung Portable SSD T3, this one is not entirely different than what we have seen before when it comes to the portable SSDs, however, it comes with a rather stylish looking enclosure, USB 3.1 support, and USB Type C port for faster speeds. How good is it? Well, let’s find out.
If looks would win battles, then the T3 would have won the battle easily. The T3 by Samsung happens to be one of the best looking portable drives we have seen, however, not a lot of people will actually look at how an SSD looks. They’re more concerned about how it performs, well, people should be glad to know that the T3 is one of the best performers we have seen so far. The read and write performer is ridiculously fast, and certainly faster than any other external hard drive that isn’t an SSD, and thanks to USB 3.1, the performance only gets better.
The storage capacity starts from 250 gigs, and goes all the way to 2 terabytes, the hard drive also offers 256 bit encryption for those who are looking for more security. You’d be surprised to know that the external drive is actually smaller than a standard 2.5 inch drive, and that is a good thing because it’s easier to carry and lightweight.
Speaking strictly of technicalities, we don’t have an issue with this puppy, however, for some, the added cost might be a bit too much for some budget conscious users.
3. Seagate Backup Plus Slim
Fast, Affordable and high capacity storage drive
If by now, you are wondering why there are so many Seagates and Western Digital in our list, then you should know that it’s mainly because the market is ruled by these 2 companies. We are not implying that others on the list are bad, it’s just that thanks to the years of experiences and deliverance of some of the finest hard drives, these companies have now established a standard of top of the line hard drives. Today, we are going to take a look at the Seagate Backup Plus Slim hard portable hard drive, and without further ado, let’s get to the details.
The Backup Plus Slim is quite simply one of the most affordable portable hard drives in our list, it comes with multiple storage options that range from 500 gigs and go all the way up to massive 4 terabytes of storage. In addition to that, you get a portable storage that looks good, and feels good in the hand. You also get pretty commendable. Last but not the least, you get a free backup software, as well as 200 gigs of OneDrive storage along with the hard drive itself.
All good things aside, you should know that the Seagate Backup Plus Slim is a great hard portable hard drive that offers plenty of storage. However, it fails short when it comes to providing security options or a long warranty that some of the other options are giving.
4. Transcend StoreJet 25M3
Cheap External Hard Drive and shock resistance
The next portable external hard drive on our list is the StoreJet 25M3 from Transcend, and for those who don’t know, Transcend happens to be one of the leading names in the computer industry. Much like Seagate and other brands in the list, they are known for providing some of the finest storage oriented products. Today, we are going to take a look at the fan favourite StoreJet portable hard drive that looks good, and performs even better. So without further ado, let’s take a look, shall we?
Right out of the box, the Transcend Storejet 25M3 looks like a hard drive that can take a beating. In all seriousness, this hard drive comes with a lot of protection. If you are wondering how much protection you’ll be getting a 3 level protection. It comes in different level of capacity, however, the one we are using is a 750 gigs variant. You should also know that this external hard drive offers you 5,400 RPM. For those who are wondering if they can secure their data, you should be glad to know that the hard drive comes with 256 bit AES encryption, and the ability to backup all of their important data in just one click. Last but not the least, the hard drive uses a USB 3.0 connector to offer faster transfer rates on USB 3.0 supported devices.
Despite being one of the best external hard drives, there are somethings that aren’t just right with the Transcend StoreJet 25M3; for instance, the external hard drive requires an additional USB port to be fully powered, and if you are hoping for a lightweight, and minimal design that’ll fit pretty much everything, then that’s not what you’ll be getting because the StoreJet 25M3 is a rather big hard drive as compared to the other ones in our list. All in all, it’s still an impressive piece of storage device that’ll serve you well.
5. WD My Passport Ultra
Best Compact, offers fast data speed
Pretty much like Seagate, Western Digital is another company that is known for creating some of the finest storage solutions, the company is known for some of the finest products ever. Their desktop, and even laptop grade hard drives are some of the best you have seen in the world. For instance, their Black series of hard drives are for people who want blazing fast speeds, and reliability.
However, we are not talking about the desktop grade hard drives today. Instead of the traditional internal hard drives, we are going to take a look at the much respected WD My Passport Ultra, so without further ado, let’s get to business.
Right out of the box, the hard drive looks good, and feels good. It’s available in number of storage options starting from the standard 500 gigs, and going all the way up to 2 terabytes. Regardless of the storage change, you won’t be giving up on the actual build quality of the hard drive. With that said, even the base model of the hard drive is relatively inexpensive, and certainly way more economical than the portable SSDs we have reviewed.
Obviously, this means that the performance difference is there but if you are not looking to break speed barriers, then the My Passport Ultra is a really good option. Performance was consistent throughout the whole testing thanks to the USB 3.0 support, and the bundled softwares add a nice little touch. For people who are concerned with the looks, you should know that the My Passport Ultra comes in 3 different colours; red, blue, and black.
In all honesty, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the WD My Passport Ultra. Yes, it’s slightly more expensive than the competition, but considering everything you’re getting, it’s worth it.
6. Seagate Expansion
Editor Choice: Best Budget Portable drive, 4TB in just 115$
After looking at the expensive portable SSDs, we are now going to look at a portable hard drive that comes from Seagate. For those who don’t know, Seagate happens to be one of the leading brands when it comes to providing top of the line storage solutions. Their hard drives can be found in almost all the state of the art gaming PCs as well as the consumer level computers. With that out of the way, the company’s foray into making portable external hard drives went rather well and was a huge success. Today, we are going to take a look at the Seagate Expansion Portable Drive.
Before we begin, you should know that this is not an SSD, however, the transfer speeds are still pretty fast for an external hard drive. Due to the fact that the Expansion Portable drive not being an SSD, you’ll notice that the price is comparatively lower than the rest of the devices we have tested and reviewed.
The hard drive is pretty small and easy to carry, it offers a pretty good transfer rate for copying files regardless of their size, and it offers a no nonsense design and feature list that won’t have you installing a bunch of different drivers just to have the drive fully working. Simply plug it in, transfer your data, and be on your way.
Sadly, while the hard drive itself is an amazing product, there are absolutely no bells and whistles like extended warranty period, or extra security features. Look past that, and you get an excellent and inexpensive portable external hard drive that will help you in times of need with the massive storage capacity.
7. WD Elements Portable
Another cheap option with decent speed
The next on the list is another hard drive from the one and only Western Digital, aptly named the WD Elements Portable, this portable external hard drive combines large amount of storage, inexpensive price-tag, and most importantly, a fast transfer speed for your files. In addition to that, you also get some software support, good looks, and a surprisingly short warranty. So, without wasting anymore time, let’s take a look at the WD Elements Portable.
Pretty much like all the other hard drives on the list, this also comes in a number of different storage options, the standard being 500 GB, and the maximum being 2 terabytes. With that said, if you are wondering how much the hard drive actually costs, then you’d be glad to know that it’s relatively inexpensive, and that’s a good thing. Not to forget that the hard drive comes in a stylish to look design, and is quite easy on the eyes. Not to forget that the compatibility ranges from your computers, laptops, and even game consoles.
While the WD Elements Portable is a great portable hard drive, it falls short because of the lack of features it comes with. For instance, the backup software is only free for the first 30 days, and the warranty period is surprisingly short.
8. LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt
Best Portable Drive for Macbook Pro
Next up we have a surprise, apart from your usual Seagate and Western Digital, another really famous brand when it comes to portable hard drives is LaCie. Most of the hard drives they make are rugged, and same is the story with this one. So, what’s the difference here? Well, as the name suggests, the LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt comes with equipped with Thunderbolt. This means that you will be getting blazing fast transfer rates, and a lot more. So, without further ado, let’s start.
There are a lot of good things about the Tugged Thunderbolt, for starters, it comes in both SSD and HDD versions. You’d be glad to know that both the portable drives carry the rugged protection LaCie is popular for. Moving on to the technical sides, the hard drive comes with Thunderbolt, and also has backward support for the standard USB 3.0. This means that the transfer rates stay impressive across the board. As for the storage options, the base storage is 250 GB, and it goes all the way up to 2 terabytes. The price between the HDD and the SSD version drastically varies, so you should keep that in mind.
To be very honest, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt so it would be unfair to deduct any unnecessary points here.
9. WD My Passport Slim
Good Performance and small in size
Yes, we are almost done with the roundup, and the second to last product we are looking at is the famous WD My Passport Slim. We have already explained why there are too many Western Digital and Seagate products on the list, and by this time, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. So, without wasting anymore time, let’s take a look at what the Western Digital My Passport Slim has in stores for us.
The My Passport Slim shares a lot with of its features with the My Passport Ultra, however, the major change you’re looking at here is the fact that this hard drive comes with a metal enclosure, and on top of that, it also comes with an overall slimmer design to complement it.
The storage options are regular; you start from the base 500 GB model, and go all the way up to 2 terabyte option. Needless to say, even if you want it as a standalone backup drive, it should be enough. If you are wondering how the hard drive performs, well, for its standard, it’s pretty good, but don’t expect it to break any speed barriers. After all, you’re looking at a hard drive and not a solid state drive.
The WD My Passport Slim is an external hard drive that is well respected for everything that it is. It’s affordable, small, offers large storage in a small form factor.
10. Toshiba Canvio Basics
We are finally headed to the last product on our list and this time, we are looking at the Toshiba Canvio Basics. For those who don’t know, Toshiba has had quite a successful run in the business of providing top of the line portable external hard drives, and today’s no different. The Canvio series has been known for being affordable, and actually really good. So without further ado, let’s take a look.
The first thing you’ll notice about this hard drive is how small this is when it comes to comparing with other options. It can literally fit in the palm of your hand, and it’s certainly a good thing. But don’t let the looks deceive you, the Canvio Basics happen to be one of the finest performing external hard drives we have seen to this date.
It’s also relatively inexpensive, and comes bundled with a different handy utilities that in all honesty, complement the small, yet fast hard drive. If you are wondering how it performs, well, let’s be honest, this hard drive isn’t the best performer out there, but for the price you are paying for it. It most certainly is a bargain.
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