Easy to transport, these portable hard drives offer storage capacity of 120 GB to 4 TB and good performance thanks to their USB 3.0 interface.
For all its files always at hand, the simplest solution is to store them on a portable external drive. 2.5-inch format, they offer much more capacity than a regular USB drive – 500 GB to 2 TB – but still compact enough to fit in a bag or in a pocket. In addition, their prices drop regularly: a 1TB drive is trading around 100 euros, a very affordable price to store movies, music, and photos.And the champion of the genre, Seagate, downright welcomes 4TB of data by combining two 2 TB drives of only 9.5 mm thick each. The 2.5-inch internal hard drives become finer, hence the appearance of external models “Slim” measuring less than 1 cm thick for 500 GB or even only 1.2 cm to 2 TB.
High data throughput USB 3.0, especially for large files
All models in our ranking feature a USB 3.0 interface that offers excellent rates for file transfers, especially if their size is high. With videos, hard drives beyond 100 MB / s read and 90MB / s write. The Touro Mobile Pro of HGST going even above 130 MB / s because it embeds a disk at 7200 revs / min instead of 5400 rev / min. But the LaCie P’9223 goes even further by exceeding 200MB / s! For this, the manufacturer no longer uses the mechanical drive, but an SSD (Solid State Drive). Besides speed, flash memory usage increases the robustness of the drive that contains thus no mechanical part.The only problem, the capacity is reduced: the only 120GB, resulting in a cost per gigabyte ten times higher than a mechanical hard drive. If the disks are proving swift for large files, they drop considerably with the file smaller. For JPEG photos, play speed remains above 100 MB / s but writing falls to 40 MB / s or 20 MB / s for some models.
Beyond pure performance, it is also the design and strength of the housing that makes the difference. If you need to transport your disk every day, choose a model with a metal case, stronger than plastic. Finally, the bundled software may be a significant factor of choice if you want to use the portable drive for backing up your computer or store sensitive files by protecting them with a password. In this area, offering manufacturers is sometimes very attractive.
10. Seagate Backup Plus Fast 4 TB
Seagate Backup Plus Fast 4 TB is the most “fat” USB 3.0 drive with the selection of our exceptional capacity 4TB by using two 2 TB drives. The case is rather thick but the rates are excellent because both drives are used in parallel (fashion raid 0) when reading and writing.
Overall rating: 7.87 / 10 | Price: 180 €
9. Toshiba Canvio Stor.E 2TB
Toshiba Canvio Stor.E 2TB has a reasonable price but especially notable for its software.Besides a NTFS driver for Mac and a backup program for Windows, Toshiba Book Pogoplug, which turns a PC server to access your files wherever you are.
Overall rating: 7.89 / 10 | Price: 150 €
8. Toshiba Stor.E Slim 500GB
Toshiba Stor.E Slim 500GB is very light, small disc impresses with its brushed aluminum casing that gives it a certain class. In addition, it measures only 0.9 cm thick, against 1.5 cm on average. Performances are at the rendezvous and bundled software is excellent with a protection password.
Overall rating: 7.91 / 10 | Price 90 €
7. Buffalo MiniStation 500GB Slim
Buffalo MiniStation competitor Stor.E Silm, this 500GB is distinguished by its attractive price but also by its smoothness (0.9 cm thick). However, its housing is plastic. Its performance is good without being exceptional and it has a program to accelerate Windows file transfers.
Overall rating: 7.92 / 10 | Price 85 €
6. LaCie Porsche Design P’9223 Slim SSD
In a superb ultra-brushed aluminum case hides an SSD 120GB. Thanks to flash memory, the LaCie disk makes sparks and exceeds 200 MB / s read large files. And if you have a recent Mac with USB 3.0, the rate is twice as high!
Overall rating: 8.02 / 10 | Price 135 €
5. HGST Touro Mobile Pro 1TB
HGST Touro Mobile Pro a model faster than average because it embeds an internal 2.5-inch drive at 7200 revs / min instead of the classic 5200 rev / min. For large files, this is the fastest disks with more than 130 MB / s read and 104MB / s write. Only SSDs are faster.
Overall rating: 8.05 / 10 | Price 108 €
4. WD My Passport Ultra 1TB Metal Anniversary
To celebrate ten years of its My Passport, WD launches metal-covered version that impresses with its quality of housing, its good performance, and excellent software bundle. We also liked the hardware encryption, guarantee of security for sensitive files.
Overall rating: 8.16 / 10 | Price 110 €
3. Western Digital My Passport 500GB Ultra
Western Digital My Passport Cheap, 500GB offers not only excellent performance but also has an excellent software bundle with simple employment programs (backup, password lock, diagnostics). Furthermore, its design is attractive with a choice of six colors.
Overall rating: 8.21 / 10 | Price: 75 €
2. Samsung P3 2TB
Designed by Seagate, Samsung P3 this drive offers high capacity 2TB in a gray plastic housing, curvaceous and compact (only 1.5 cm thick). It is distinguished by excellent flow rates, especially for writing modest sized files, including JPEG pictures.
Overall rating: 8.39 / 10 | Price 159 €
1. Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB
With the new generation of ultra-thin internal drives, Seagate realizes the feat to release an external drive 2TB measuring only 1.2 cm thick. Furthermore, the Backup Plus Slim is available in four colors. The performances are excellent, as the Backup Program.
Overall rating: 8.45 / 10 | Price 169 €