The Best Portable Hard Drives
CREDIT: Iomega eGo
Storing data in the cloud may be all the rage these days, but people still want a place to back up their files without worrying if it's susceptible to hacking or that their cloud service might go down. For simple backup, especially backup of large amounts of data, then portable hard drives are still a good choice. Here is a look at the top six devices that will let you sleep well at night knowing that your music, movies and documents are safe and sound:
Iomega eGo 1TB
The Iomega eGo is larger and twice as heavy (14.4 ounces) as other external USB 3.0 hard drives, but the extra layers are meant to help protect its 1TB drive and allows it to withstand some wear and tear — the company said it can survive 7-foot drops. Even still, the device is sleek and attractive in a range of colors, including blue, red and silver. It features a rubber grip that wraps around the enclosure and runs at fast speeds, with high durability and extra free software. Users can download either the Iomega QuickProtect program or Retrospect Express (or both) for free from Iomega's website by typing in the drive's serial number. Price: $149.
Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1TB
The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex is an impressive hard drive that transfers files diligently and very fast. The 1TB USB 3.0 device — the second-heaviest at 9.9 ounces behind the Iomega — features a simple black case design with somewhat of a flimsy enclosure. But the device’s software is clear, easy to install and comes with an interface that isn’t intimidating. The 500GB drive also features an automatic Mac driver to use NTFS (New Technology File System), which is a faster file-transfer protocol that supports individual files bigger than 4GB and is normally only available when you use a Windows laptop. The bulkier Iomega eGo offers good transfer rates, software and is more durable, but for speed alone the GoFlex is tops. Price: $99.
Buffalo MiniStation Stealth 1TB
The Buffalo MiniStation Stealth USB 3.0 comes with numerous apps, including 128-bit software encryption, a good backup app and extra utilities for boosting transfer speed. At 7.8 ounces, the device is lighter to lug around and comes in all black. Although the design looks a bit dated and the plastic enclosure doesn’t exactly feel high-end, TechNewsDaily sister publication Laptop magazine noted that the device is especially speedy thanks to its Turbo Copy app. However, Laptop found it not as fast as the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex. It does, however, feature strong encryption software and an intuitive back-up app, which uses a tree structure that makes it easy to choose files for backups. Price: $74.99.
The LaCie Rikiki 1TB
The LaCie Rikiki USB 3.0 device is packed with software and a strong online backup program. Although it has an aluminum casing enclosure, it’s much lighter at 7.1 ounces than the other ones. The setup is easy, but it is a bit time-consuming as it calls for installation of its local backup software genie Backup Assistant 8.0 and then the Quala online packup program. However, unlike the Buffalo Ministation Stealth, there’s no encryption software. In addition, disk transfer times for the LaCie drive were not as impressive as other hard drives, Laptop found. But at $129.99, the drive is durable and provides some useful extra software, such as the online backup program.
Kingston Wi-Drive 32GB
The Kingston Wi-Drive (32GB) looks like a large smartphone, with its black shell and ultra-compact size (4.8 x 2.4 x 0.3 inches; 3 ounces) that can fit in a pocket. However, the device heats up fast — so much so in fact that after 15 minutes it was well above 100 degrees and closer to 120 degrees after that, according to a test conducted by Laptop magazine. However, the setup is easy, which takes about 10 minutes, and the app allows users to browse through content seamlessly. Laptop said the Wi-Drive is expected to last four hours with continuous use, about an hour less than Seagate's claim for the GoFlex Satellite. However, the $149 price tag is a lot to pay for just 32GB of storage.
LaCie's Little Big Disk Thunderbolt
LaCie’s Little Big Disk from its Thunderbolt series touts the next-generation interface of hard drives with its seamless flexibility and lightning speeds. With an extremely compact and portable design, it’s also extremely light, weighing in at just 1.4 pounds. The device allows daisy-chaining up to six compatible drives and combines two existing communication protocols — one for data and the other for display — simultaneously over a single cable. Each cable provides two channels with 10Gb/s bandwidth for both uplink and downlink. This means that video and data can be pushed and pulled both ways without compromising bandwidth, and HD video can upload faster than ever before. You’ll have to pay for it, though: the TB storage-size version is $399 and the 2TB model is $499.