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Group test: what's the best USB hard drive?

The best thumb drives and external hard drives that connect with USB

PC Advisor reviews the best USB drives you can buy in the UK today.

6. Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive

  • Reviewed on: 12 January 11
  • RRP: £139.78 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive is a fantastically versatile storage system. It allows an investment in compact and portable hard drives up to huge capacities, that can then be easily connected to any computer with a USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire or eSATA connector. No other hard drive manufacturer has devised a system so simple yet effective. We hope to test the network adaptor kit in a later review. In our tests, the 1.5TB version of the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive had incredibly quick performance, nigh-on 100MBps with USB 3.0, and it was also one of the fastest FireWire 800 drives we’ve tested too. This drive comes heartily recommended.

5. WD My Passport Edge for Mac 500GB

  • Reviewed on: 20 November 12
  • RRP: £69.99 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The WD My Passport Edge for Mac 500GB is a fast and stylish portable drive, embued with category-defining build quality and attractively slim dimensions. This covetable piece of storage technology is also competitively priced given its performance and supreme finish.

4. Toshiba Stor.E Basics 2 TB

  • Reviewed on: 10 July 13
  • RRP: £100 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Toshiba Stor.E Basics 2 TB is a straightforward little black box that can take care of portable bulk storage for not a lot of cash.

3. G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt 8TB

  • Reviewed on: 27 April 12
  • RRP: £720 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The more time we spent testing this unit, the more respect we had for its incredible performance. Relatively quiet in use, the G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt nevertheless proved to be a powerhouse in both capacity and performance. With that huge 8TB of storage on offer, accessible at real-world speeds consistently exceeding 300 MBps, the G-RAID offers size and speed that should satisfy any media professional or Mac power user.

2. LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB

  • Reviewed on: 28 October 11
  • RRP: £399.95 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

If you don’t have a Mac with Thunderbolt, then this device is not for you as it doesn’t offer any backwards compatibility. If you do have a recent Mac with Thunderbolt then the LaCieLittle Big Disk Thunderbolt is the least expensive, smallest Thunderbolt drive, and fastest portable hard drive currently available. An SSD version of the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Series will be coming to market soon and we're anxious to see the test results for that one.

1. G-Technology G-DRIVE 4TB

  • Reviewed on: 13 June 13
  • RRP: £250 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The addition of USB 3.0 to the G-Technology G-DRIVE is very welcome. Previously the only way to match the performance of the disk was through eSATA, almost entirely limited to Windows systems. Now both Windows PC and Apple Macs can take advantage of the high-performace Hitachi disks inside, in a robust and stylish chassis.

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