Owing to ePCM technology and an additional Dynamic Thermal Guard, the appliance won't overheat even if used as a stationary SSD model. Moreover, the appliance is reinforced and features fall protection from heights of up to 2 metres.
The cable connection is a bit loose.
The Samsung T7 is an all-upgraded SSD with high capacity and performance. Sealed into a protective aluminium casing it doesn't lack in the write/read departments and can transfer data at a rate of 1 GB/s with ease to match.
1 TB, 2 TB, 500 GB
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2
Up to 1050/1000 MB/s
ePCM technology, Dynamic thermal guard, Password protection
Windows, Mac OS X
3 years, limited
Alongside the drive itself, the package is equipped with 2 months of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan subscription, which easily makes this SSD model a go-to for photographers.
The data cord is somewhat stiff.
The Seagate BarraCuda Fast is made to be nimble, compact, and easy to use at the same time. Having taken a look at its capabilities, we can safely say that it has succeeded in all 3 departments. Available with different capacities on board, you can find the one that suits your particular needs.
1 TB, 2 TB, 250 GB, 500 GB
1 x USB Type C
Up to 540 MB/s (write speed)
Shock-resistant, Syncing and backup software included
Windows, Mac OS X
3 years, limited
The drive is reinforced to withstand falls, heat, water, and dirt getting inside the device. Thanks to the rugged housing, the device can be used at any condition without fear of losing valuable data.
The included EncryptStick software requires a fee to update.
Probably the most protected SSD out there, the SanDisk Extreme also boasts high transfer speed and pretty impressive storage capacity. While the paid software updates do end up making this model pricier than average, we'd still call it a great pick for people leading an active life.
1 TB, 2 TB, 500 GB, 250 GB
1 x USB Type C
Up to 550/ 550 MB/s
Shock/Heat/Vibration/Water/Dust-resistant, Password protection uses 128‐bit AES encryption
Windows, Mac OS X
3 years, limited
This drive supports the USB 3.1 Gen-2 interface, which is compatible with pretty much all old versions and, thus, computers.
The casing is a bit too big to fit into your hand and quite fragile so you'll have to buy a protective case.
Although it's not the sturdiest model out there, the WD Passport is one of the most reliable in terms of data protection. It locks your files under a password, encrypts them, uploads them to a secure cloud service, and all of that makes it perfect for storing sensitive information.
1 TB, 2 TB, 250 GB, 500 GB
1 x USB Type C
Up to 540/540 MB/s
Shock-resistant, password protection with hardware encryption
Windows, Mac OS X
3 years, limited
The drive can operate with Windows Bitlocker to Go as well as the FileVault application from Apple. On top of that, it doesn't require additional tweaking in order to be used with Symantec and McAfee syncing and data recovery software.
Drive's casing tends to get hot during use.
A compact, stylish SSD from Crucial, the X8 CT500X8SSD9 supports a high-speed data transfer interface - USB 3.2 Thunderbolt, which ultimately puts it among the fastest data drives available for the price. In addition, it is reinforced with a rugged housing made of anodised aluminium that makes it shock-proof and protects it in case you accidentally drop it.
500 GB, 1 TB
1 x USB 3.2 Gen-2
3D QLC NAND
Up to 1050 MB/s (read speed)
Heat, Shock, Vibration protection, 2.3 m drop-proof, Complete data protection
Windows, Mac OS X
3 years, limited
Quick, Nimble, And Convenient
The Samsung T7 is an upgraded external SSD model that is almost twice as fast as the previous iteration of the drive in the same price category - the T5 model. It has everything you need from a portable drive, it is just slightly bigger than a regular SSD, however, the appearance is not the main selling point of T7.
To start off, the casing of the drive can withstand quite a beating including but not limited to scratches, cuts, and falls from heights of up to 2 metres. This is achieved thanks to a robust metal housing that firmly protects the inner components of the SSD and your data at the same time.
With a weight of only 57 grams, the T7 is an excellent option for the role of a portable external drive. Since the appliance doesn’t feature any moving parts inside, unlike hard drives, it is fairly safe to use as storage for important files. The drive's data protection, on the other hand, features a hardware encryption system that can be accessed with a password at any given time.
Owing to the dynamic thermal guard system, the housing, as well as the casing of the drive won’t overheat during use, which is a nice bonus to the overall great set of features that this Samsung model has.
Speaking of compatibility, this tiny drive is compatible with virtually any desktop PC that runs on Windows or Mac OS X. Alternatively, it can be used with Linux computers and laptops, however, you may run into some hiccups with compatibility. Likewise, this particular drive model can be used together with Android devices like phones, tablets, and even most of the Smart TVs that run on Android.
One of The Fastest SSDs Out There
Moving on, let’s talk speed. Even though most of the modern SSDs are quite fast from the get-go, this Samsung model blows generic drives out of the water with its read/write rates. While being quite small, it manages to transfer data with speeds of up to 1050 MB/s with ease to match.
To accommodate a wide variety of different devices, the package is equipped with two cables - a USB type-C (both male and female) that is compatible with portable gadgets and a standard USB to USB type-C for desktop PCs. Capacity-wise, this T7 has 1TB of free space to offer. If 1 TB is not enough for you or on the contrary - too much, this model is optionally available in 500 GB and 2 TB variants.
In conclusion, the Samsung T7 will prove to be an excellent way to store data that can be accessed on the fly. The high write and read speeds of the drive also enable you to utilise it as either a temporary or long-term storage mean for exceptionally big files.
Great as Both Portable And Stationary Device
The Seagate BarraCuda is a small external SSD that will come in handy for people who want quick access to their favourite TV shows, movies, and games. Conversely, it is also a good option to have if your USB flash stick just doesn’t cut it anymore these days, due to its limited storage capacity.
As for the safety of the stored data, this SSD boasts several layers of protection. First of all, its casing is shock-resistant, so you can finally have that much-needed peace of mind upon connecting the drive to your PC, console, or TV. On top of that, the BarraCuda is compatible with Seagate’s official syncing and backup software. The application enables you to check the integrity of all the files on the fly and synchronise the damaged files in a matter of minutes, which is a nice feature in our book.
The only thing that we didn’t really appreciate about this package is the cord that comes together with the drive. Due to its uncharacteristic stiffness, it may be a bit difficult to connect the SSD to some devices sometimes. However, the appliance is compatible with type-C to type-A cables, so this won’t be that huge of an issue in the long run. Besides, the standard cable set is fairly durable and can serve for a number of years before it needs to be replaced.
Great Middle-Ground Option
Small, nimble and easily portable, the BarraCuda really shows that a good SSD doesn’t necessarily need to be bulky to be useful. Unlike other SSDs from Seagate, the BarraCuda Fast can show off fairly impressive read/write rates that easily reach the mark of 540 MB/s. Although it’s not an aspect that makes it a top-of-the-line model, it is still quite remarkable, considering the modest price of the package.
Moving on, it is worth noting that the BarraCuda Fast is widely compatible with modern gadgets and multimedia devices in general. Likewise, compatibility is not really an issue for this SSD from Seagate since it is compatible with both Mac OS X and Windows-based devices, laptops, computers.
On a side note, this model is optionally available in 8 different colours, so you can definitely pick a casing colour that fits your other gadgets and your taste. Moreover, you can also choose the capacity of the SSD, since it is available with 250, 500 GB, as well as with 2 TB of capacity on board.
Wrapping things up, the Seagate BarraCuda Fast will be an ideal solution for a laptop, gaming console, and even a smart TV that you can use to store large amounts of data that can be accessed on a whim.
Extreme Protection from Everything
Live an active lifestyle and take your laptop with you everywhere, whether to upload photos of your trips or for work? You’re going to need a sturdy device that can store your data with no risk of the elements ruining the electronic storage. For that, we recommend the SanDisk Extreme Portable.
This external solid state drive is made to resist all type of damage, not just regular physical one. Sure, it’s going to be fine if you drop it off of your table but it can also withstand extreme heat and vibrations. Not even a sweltering summer or an earthquake will ruin this SSD (well, okay, an earthquake might). It’s also reinforced to withstand water leaking into the drive, though the extra protection should keep moisture away anyway.
Moreover, your data is also protected from hackers and prying eyes as well. The SanDisk Extreme uses 128-bit AES encryption to secure your files and the data is also locked under a password that should deter would-be snoopers. However, you’d probably want your protection software to be up to date at all times to keep up with the new malware and viruses. But the EncryptStick software that comes with the drive requires a flat fee before it opens access to updates. While it’s not that high, it’s still a disappointing move on the manufacturer’s part.
At the Speed of Light
It’s also reasonable to want the fastest external SSD possible since data transfers can take a while and it makes sense to speed up the process to the best of your abilities. Luckily, the SanDisk Extreme Portable is probably one of the fastest SSDs out there, boasting a 550/550 read/write speed. Even if you get the 2TB model, you could fill it up in less than an hour, regardless of whether you’re copying a bunch of smaller files or one huge one. And if you go for the less capacious 250Gb model, your drive can get filled up in a matter of minutes.
However, the one flaw of this drive would be the fact that the TLC memory system is more prone to errors than its counterparts. This could lead to interruptions in some transfers, which ultimately prolongs the process and is just plain annoying.
It doesn’t matter what type of OS or computer you have since the SanDisk Extreme uses a USB Type C cable and has the right drivers to be compatible with both Windows and Mac OS. No matter what PC or laptop you have, you can transfer data to and from it.
In the end, if you want an ultra-reliable drive that you can take with you on the road, the SanDisk Extreme is a good choice. It has impressively high transfer speed, withstands a lot of wear and damage, and is sure to become a long-term companion for your digital needs.
WD My Passport SSD
Archiving the Data
Looking to get old photos or documents from your ancient Pentium PC to your brand new laptop? In most cases, you’d need several cables to plug in your external drive into the devices. However, the WD My Passport SSD is uniquely compatible with pretty much all generations of computers. Since it uses the USB 3.1 Gen-2 interface, this drive can be connected to any type of PC or laptop. Even USB 2.0 and USB-A are fine since the cable comes with a special adapter for these ports. You also don’t have to worry about the OS as the software pre-installed on the drive automatically adapts it to any operating system. This means you can use this model as an external SSD for Mac as well as Windows.
The WD My Passport SSD is also quite adept at transferring data, not just thanks to modern caching technologies but also owing to the 540/540 read/write speed. You can rest assured that even a large file transfer won’t be interrupted or take long enough for you to fall asleep.
We also have to commend the pretty great encryption methods that the WD My Passport SSD uses. It has password protection as well so you can rest assured knowing that your files are safe from any prying eyes. You should even be safe from malware as the hardware encryption helps avoid those as well.
Space Enough at Last
If you want your drive to store enough data to be viable as an extra storage space to, basically, double the capacity of your laptop, you’d have to get one that’s at least 500+Gb. However, since the WD My Passport external solid state drive comes in 1TB and 2TB sizes, we’d actually recommend going for those. That way you can be sure that you’ve got enough space and you could practically back up your whole system and still have some storage left over.
However, the storage capacity usually isn’t reflected by the drive’s size. That isn’t the case with the WD My Passport, which is probably the largest external SSD we’ve seen. It’s twice the size of other models and won’t fit in your palm or pocket. It’s quite lightweight though thanks to the choice of material for the casing. That same choice does mean that you should invest in a protective case that will keep the device from being damaged.
Still, don’t worry too much about the safety of the files on your WD Passport since it has software that lets you back everything up on a cloud service. That and the password protection plus encryption make this drive pretty safe. So if you need to archive data from an old computer or even simply store some important files, turn to the WD Passport as a trusty storage space.
Tiny But Awesome
The Crucial X8 is yet another portable drive that has no movable parts, but this time around it resembles a flash drive more than a bulky HDD drive that somehow got slimmer.
First things first, the main noticeable aspect of this portable drive is its size. But that’s not really what you are here for, right? Surely, it is quite small, measuring only 10.99 x 1.14 x 5.29 cm, yet the Crucial X8 can store an immense 500 GB of data, which easily makes it one of the most convenient drives to use with other gadgets.
We should also mention that the appliance is compatible with Windows PCs, Mac OS X computers and laptops, as well as with the PlayStation and Xbox game consoles, which is no small feat at all. Thanks to that, you can store important data that requires quick access on the drive and carry it with you whenever needed.
Aside from the drive itself, the box includes a USB-C cable with a convenient USB-A adapter that enhances the compatibility of the whole kit even further. What is more, the SSD is compatible with native Windows and Apple backup and data encryption software, which not only allows you to retrieve damaged files but also enables the protection of sensitive data. As an alternative, this external flash drive can be reinforced with third-party protection software applications from McAfee, Symantec or similar ones.
More Than Just a Flash Drive
With the means of software protection out of the way, let’s take a quick glance over the housing at its capabilities. On top of the shock-proof protective layer of the SSD’s body, it is additionally reinforced with a fall-proof buffer that gives the stored files an additional protective layer. Thus, even if in case you accidentally drop the drive on the ground or if it falls out of your pocket, the data stored on the SSD won’t get compromised.
Last but not least, the read/write rates of this USB 3.2-capable appliance make it easy to transfer data at lighting-fast speeds. To be more precise, once you connect the SSD to a 3.0 or 3.2 USB port, the transfer speed of your data can reach up to 1050 MB/s, which makes it almost 7 times faster than the fastest HDD out there.
In the end, this budget-friendly SSD will be a great way to upgrade from a regular flash drive to something that can both store more data and hold a punch at the same time. The combination of the small casing and large internal data capacity puts it high among our list, especially if you were looking for an external model that is ideal for the roles of a portable and stationary drive.
What Is an External SSD?
An external solid-state drive is a digital device for storing large amounts of data. Unlike external hard disk drives, these drives have no magnetic discs inside and all the information is stored on memory chips. One of the advantages of this data storage technology is the enormous data transfer rate - up to 500 MB/s (via USB 3.0) and up to 10 GB/s (via USB Thunderbolt 3.2). Moreover, since there are no moving parts in the casing, any solid-state drive works without making any noise at all, which is nice if you are looking forward to building a silent PC case. Likewise, most of the rugged external SSDs are rather resistant to such influences like shock, fall and physical damage in general. Moreover, modern SSD models can be rather small, which enables carrying them around in a pocket, just like a standard USB flash drive. While technology allows making them rather compact, the capacity of smaller drives can be rather lacking, and so it is important to keep that in mind upon picking the right model.
If you think that the overall storage space is more important than the data transfer speed, make sure to check out our review of the best external hard drives available on the market.
What Features to Compare
Capacity and Speed
The first aspect you should consider when choosing an external solid-state drive is the capacity and speed. Actually, these are the most important issues for any device of this kind and you should decide on the capacity first hand. The choice depends on what you need an external SSD for. If you need one for storing your favourite movies or other media files, pick the model with the capacity of over 500 GB. However, if you simply need to have safe and reliable storage for your working documents, a lower-capacity device is sufficient. Next, make sure to check the data transfer speed each device supports. Why is it important? The higher the speed is, the faster you will be able to copy files to and from the SSD. If you think that all external hard drives have more or less the same transfer speed, you are wrong! This feature depends on many different issues, such as connection type (USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, etc.), your system, and so on.
Compatibility and Interfaces
Once you've decided on the above-mentioned parameters, check the compatibility of each solid-state drive with operating systems (OS). Most modern external SSDs are compatible with nearly all available operating systems but we still recommend you to double-check it. If you have used your external solid-state drive with a Windows-operated computer and then want to use it with a Mac, a reformatting of the SSD will be required. Thus, you should make a backup copy of your data before doing it; otherwise, your information will be deleted. Next, go ahead and check the interfaces (ports) each external solid-state drive has. Any external SSD must be somehow connected to a computer and that's why different types of connection are used. Most devices have a USB 3.0 port that ensures pretty high data transfer speeds. If your laptops or PC has a USB 3.0 port, choose the external solid-state drive having the same one. If your computer is rather old and has no USB 3.0 compatibility, don't worry - any external solid-state drive with a USB 3.0 interface is backwards compatible with the older USB 2.0 interface. However, data transfer rates will be significantly lower in this case. Also, there are some superb external solid-state drives with a so-called Thunderbolt port - this type of connection is blazing-fast and transfers data twice as fast as USB 3.0, namely up to 10 Gb/s. Some devices are equipped both with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports.
Design and Protection
A typical external solid-state drive is a small and portable device that you can easily carry every day. So, you should certainly pay attention to design and protection. When choosing the design of a solid-state drive, you should rely mainly on your own preferences. However, there are some major points that are worth considering. For example, we recommend you to choose a device with a metal casing because it guarantees a fairly decent shock resistance of the device (so, your data won't be lost if you accidentally drop the unit on the ground). In addition, some manufacturers make their external SSDs dust- and water-resistant. Now it's time to draw your attention to the safety of your data. The best external solid-state drives encrypt your data and allow you to set a password, which means nobody but you can access the data. It's particularly important if you deal with some classified business information that should not get into the wrong hands. There are 2 major encryption types: 128-bit and 256-bit. It's self-evident that the latter option provides far better safety for your data.