If you really want the lightest, fastest possible drive for your laptop then it’s worth considering a Flash drive such as the Iomega SSD Flash. See also Group test: what's the best portable hard drive?

We tested the 128GB model, which costs £239 direct from Iomega, although there is also a 64GB model available for £159, as well as a 256GB model priced at a rather hefty £529. Visit Seagate Backup Plus review.

The SSD Flash immediately stands out when compared to conventional portable hard drives, simply because it’s so slim and light. It measures just 6.7cm wide, 10.1cm long and a mere 0.9cm thick, and weighs 100g, so you can easily pick it up and slip it into a jacket pocket or a carrying case alongside your laptop when you’re out and about.

The lightweight casing is made out of plastic but is still quite solidly built. There are no moving parts in Flash drives either, so the SSD Flash should be more durable and reliable than most conventional drives.

Performance is good too, as the SSD Flash was able to back up a 5GB batch of test files in just 50s – which works out at about 800 megabits per second (Mbps), compared to a typical speed of about 500Mbps for most of the Firewire drives that we’ve tested recently, and 250Mbps for a typical USB2 drive.

There’s no backup software provided with the SSD Flash, but it will work with Time Machine on your Mac just like any ordinary USB drive. And, of course, the USB 3.0 interface is backward-compatible with USB 2.0 so you can still use it with existing Macs that only have USB 2.0.

Iomega SSD Flash: Specs

  • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • Max Read— up to 191MB/s, Max Write— up to 130MB/s
  • Data Transfer Rates— USB 3.0 up to 5 Gbits/s
  • No AC adapter needed
  • Plug-and-play
  • 110 x 69 x 9mm, 108g
  • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • Max Read— up to 191MB/s, Max Write— up to 130MB/s
  • Data Transfer Rates— USB 3.0 up to 5 Gbits/s
  • No AC adapter needed
  • Plug-and-play
  • 110 x 69 x 9mm, 108g

OUR VERDICT

Flash drives are still very expensive, as well as being relatively limited in capacity, so people on a tight budget may well prefer to stick with a conventional hard drive for the time being. However, the SSD Flash is still a good option for MacBook Air owners who want a really lightweight drive that they can carry around without piling on the pounds.

Find the best price