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Budget Portable Hard Drivers Review

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We've put 3 of the best budget portable hard drives to the test

The world is a crowded place these days - finding any kind of space is a real luxury, and the same is true in the digital world. Given the amount of files and data for work, or music, photos and videos for entertainment that we all carry around with us, creating space for them all is hard work.

A reliable portable hard drive can be a lifesaver on occasion, and the devices shown here all have the potential to be just that. All are compact enough to carry with you, and powerful enough to handle your biggest files.

How we did the test

Each of the hard drives in question had a range of files uploaded to it, ranging from images, videos and text documents to bulky DMG files. The upload time was noted, as was the time it took to set up each drive - some required some sort of formatting, while the wireless offerings had to be synced. The same files were used for each HDD to ensure the test was completely fair on all devices included.

Toshiba Store Slim for Mac $99.99

Design

A brushed metal shell brings a bit of style to the understated world of hard drive cases. Just a single USB 3.0 port for the Store, complete with white activity light to alert you of the connection.

Size & weight

Slim and very light, the Toshiba is easy to store in your bag or even your pocket. Given that there's a terabyte of storage space inside, it's all the more satisfying to transport around.

Connection

Using high-speed USB 3.0, the Toshiba handles file transfers very quickly. The connection can move at up to 5GB p/s, and everything we tried lived up to that speed.

Storage space

A whole terabyte of storage space is fantastic for the price, and more than most of the drives on show here. It also comes with 10GB of free cloud storage and is Time Machine compatible.

An impressive package that is kept small for very easy transportation and gives you plenty of storage space to work with - the Toshiba ticks every box in this test

Western Digital My Passport Ultra $79.99

Design

Shorter than a smartphone, if slightly wider, this HDD is very compact and easy to carry around. The shiny pattern finish brings a little bit of flair to the dark plastic casing too.

Size & weight

Still very thin compared to the others here, the My Passport Ultra is slightly weightier than it looks, but still comes in at only 0.3lbs. At only four inches in length it is also compact.

Connection

Another that uses USB 3.0, the My Passport also supports USB 2.0 connections. Mac users will, however, have to go through a reformatting process in order to start using the device.

Storage space

The unit we tested was 500GB, but it is possible to double that to 1TB and stay under the £100 budget. This unit also comes with Time Machine compatibility and cloud support.

An eye-catching HDD thanks to its patterned casing, the formatting process is an awkward extra to deal with that stains an otherwise flawless entry from Western Digital

LaCie Porsche Design $199.99

Design

Looking as though it was cut from a single piece of brushed metal, the LaCie comes with rugged, sharp corners and a thin LED light that really help it to stand out from a design perspective.

Size & weight

To go with the sharp corners, this device feels bulky. It's not cumbersome by any means; weighing around 250g means it's still very mobile and easy to transport around.

Connection

USB 3.0 and can be formatted to work exclusively with your Mac, the LaCie also comes with a setup process that lets you edit the format depending on which OS you use.

Storage space

One terabyte of space to work with as well as Time Machine compatibility means this single piece of aluminium has all the space you need within it, though it's more expensive.

Really stands out from a design point of view, and comes with the joint-highest amount of storage here, though for a higher price. Customisable space is a bonus feature too

 

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