13 best portable hard drives 2014: what's the best portable hard drive you can buy in the UK?
We review and chart the top 13 best portable hard drives
By Robin Morris | PC Advisor | 07 November 14
G-Technology’s G-Drive mobile is a competent external drive with a longer-than-average warranty. Although it has been updated to offer the faster USB 3 technology, the transfer speeds over this connection were average. There are other drives that are more affordable and offer higher performance, more security, and higher capacity. Ultimately, though, if you like the design, and you're happy with its 1TB capacity and reassured by its three year warranty, the G-Drive mobile will serve capably as a general purpose bus-powered external drive.
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.
We’re almost inclined to excuse the 2011 WD My Passport Studio’s continuing omission of Thunderbolt. This sturdy example of high-tech engineering may stretch the pocket in more way than one, but it’s worth every pound and gramme of it. Formidable FireWire performance and finally some worthy software all underline the whole tidy package. The WD My Passport Studio sets a new high benchmark for such pocket drives.
The slimline design of the Sq drive is certainly attractive, and it’s quite reasonably priced.
ioSafe's Rugged Portable sacrifices a bit of bulk and weight to add some serious protection to a fast USB 3.0 hard drive.
The iStorage benefits from a USB 3.0 interface to give transfer speeds around twice that of its USB 2.0 predecessor. The bottleneck to moving data in and out is only the internal disk itself.
The Rugged drive also surged back when copying smaller files, pulling well ahead of Elgato in those tests. That combination of results made the Rugged drive the overall winner on performance – and at a considerably lower price than the Elgato drive.
It’s a shame that the Mobile Drive Mg doesn’t fully exploit the speed of that Thunderbolt interface. However, Apple introduced Thunderbolt on the Mac more than a year before it finally got around to adding USB 3.0, so this is still a good choice for people who don’t have the option of using a less expensive USB 3.0 drive.
The WD My Passport Ultra is a very compact way of carrying a terabyte of data around, and which can be accessed rapidly thanks to its USB 3.0 interface. Power users may be more frustrated by slower performance when tasking it with several operations at once, but it works wonderfully in a more tape-like situation, for the mass storage of a large computer backup, for instance.
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.
The Little Big Disk Thunderbolt SSD isn't without its flaws. Its price will keep it out of the reach of most users – though it's well worth the cost if you can stretch to it – and while Thunderbolt can certainly deliver power, the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt SSD has to be plugged into the mains. Even so, its blistering performance alone makes it a winner.
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.
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.