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December 16, 2013updated 22 Sep 2016 11:02am

10 of the best portable hard drives

CBR takes a look at ten of the best ones on the market today.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

As devices get lighter and storage space becomes less and less, today’s portable devices mean that you can expand your own storage capacity, back up data and share data between computers.

The emergence of USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt mean that you can transfer the largest files across to drives quicker than before.

As technology improves and larger storage becomes more affordable and portable, there’s never been a better time to expand your storage capacity.

But how do you choose which one to buy? CBR takes a look ten of the best portable drives on the market today.

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive


The GoFlex Ultra-portable drive allows users to back up, encrypt, store and access files anytime and anywhere on both PCs and Macs. Other features include USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, FireWire 800 or eSAT and up to 1.5TB of capacity.

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Western Digital My Passport Studio 1TB

WD Passport

Western Digital’s hard drive, which is compatible with Windows 8, offers up 1TB capacity on its slim drive.
It features USB 3.0 connectivity, automatic backup software, password protection and hardware encryption to protect your content from unauthorised use. The company says the device is lightweight with no power supply required, meaning you can take the hard drive with you and plug it up wherever you are.

G-Drive Mobile hard drive

G-Technology’s updated hard drive fully supports USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. The drive has up to 1TB of capacity and FireWire 800 connectivity as well as 7200 rpm drive to keep transfers smooth. G-drive costs approximately £109, coming in an all-aluminium case that helps to keep the inside cool.

Buffalo DriveStation DDR


The USB 3.0 Buffalo DriveStation DDR external hard drive should offer faster transfer speeds than high-end Thunderbolt storage devices, with up to 408 MB/s, at the cost of most regular USB 3.0.
The device is compatible with any PC, Mac or USB 2.0 interface and offers backup support for unexpected disaster and hard drive failures using SecureLock software.

Other features include up to 3TB of memory storage and eco Manager software that conserves energy and reduces battery consumption.

ioSafe Storage G3


The fireproof and waterproof device protects data from loss up to 1550°F for 30 minutes per ASTM E119 and 10ft of water for 72 hours.

The fanless device has FloSafe Vent Design and capacities of 3TB and is compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 connectivity with transfer data of up to 5Gbit/s, allowing you to use it on any Mac or PC.

Other features include open-sourced encryption software, Full System Disaster Recovery and one-year subscription to Data Security Service, saving you costs should the worst happen.

iStorage diskAshur


The iStorage DiskAshur 3.0 has a USB 3.0 interface that gives transfer speed about twice that of its USB 2.0 predecessor with shock and vibration resistant technology.

The device provides real-time encryption technology with AES-XTS 128- or 256-bit hardware encryption that keeps data safe even if the solid state drive is removed from its enclosure.

The black model is light and shock-resistant and provides capacities of up to 4TB.

LaCie Blade Runner


The Philipe Starck designed hard drive has up to 4TB capacity and a glowing LED light to show when the unit is powered on. The Blade Runner is rather bulky, but the aluminium casing keeps the device resistant and cool, while the radiator design dissipates heat, boosting performance and reliablility.

Other features include transfer speeds of 5GB/s for USB 3.0 and 480MB/s for USB2.0, as well as Eco Mode software that can save up to 75% of energy.

Apple Time Capsule

Apple Hard drive

Apple’s Time Capsule is a wireless external hard drive and 802.11ac Wi-fi router that can reach data rates of up to 1.3Gbps, which means up to three times faster Wi-fi. The white box transmits at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies at the same time and works with Time Machine on Macs, backing up all 3TB of files automatically.

Elgato Thunderbolt SSD


The device is for people who want fast access to data, although it’s more expensive but might be useful for people who want to store large files, such as videos and films.
The Elgato designed solid state drive has speeds double that of USB 3.0, meaning you can transfer 1GB of data in about 10 seconds. There are no moving parts, so it’s less prone to damage, while being small enough to slip into your back pocket.

Toshiba Stor.E Basics 2 TB


Costing about £120, the black plastic device transfers files with USB 3.0 and stores up to 2TB of data. The hard drive is compatible with USB 2.0 and is ready to use with Microsoft Windows with no software installation required.

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