Best Portable Hard Drives in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update July 20, 2018
Have no idea where to store gigabytes of your data? That's simple - a portable hard drive! Thanks to this small device, you will be able to store and play your favourite movies, enjoy music, keep all your photos, and so on. We have selected 5 best portable hard drives, so go ahead and pick one! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
CAPACITY
INTERFACE
OS COMPATIBILITY
SIZE
BACKUP AND DATA PROTECTION
WARRANTY
 
PROS
Seagate Backup Plus portable hard drive is available in 5 different colours, so you can choose your favourite one. Once you've registered your portable HDD on seagate.com, you will receive 200GB of OneDrive cloud storage.
CONS
OneDrive storage is given if you activate your OneDrive account before June 30, 2017.
OUR VERDICT
Seagate Backup Plus 1TB portable hard drive allows you to store a big number of files and back them all up to OneDrive cloud. A win-win choice for a good price!
detailed parameters
CAPACITY
5TB, 4TB, 2TB, 1TB
INTERFACE
USB 3.0/ USB 2.0
OS COMPATIBILITY
Windows, Mac OS (reformatting required)
SIZE
113.5 x 76 x 12.1 mm
BACKUP AND DATA PROTECTION
Lyve App, Seagate Dashboard, Free 200GB of OneDrive Cloud storage (2 years)
WARRANTY
2 years
PROS
WD Elements portable hard drive is really durable and reliable. This device ensures excellent data transfer speeds and protects your data thanks to WD SmartWare Pro software.
CONS
Backup soft is a trial version, a license must be purchased afterwards.
OUR VERDICT
It's a superb portable hard drive that allows you to store your data and back it up either on the HDD itself or right to your Dropbox™ cloud.
detailed parameters
CAPACITY
3TB, 2TB, 1.5TB, 1TB, 750GB, 500GB
INTERFACE
USB 3.0/ USB 2.0
OS COMPATIBILITY
Windows, Mac OS (reformatting required)
SIZE
111 x 82 x 16.3 mm / 111 x 82 x 21.5 mm
BACKUP AND DATA PROTECTION
WD SmartWare Pro backup software (free trial)
WARRANTY
2 years
PROS
Automatic backup continuously saves changes, thus there is no risk of losing all the entered data. All personal information can be protected with a password.
CONS
Some users noted that at times data transfer speed drops.
OUR VERDICT
Maxtor M3 is a great solution for storing all your valuable data in a safe place. An elegant design and high performance make this portable hard drive ideal for daily tasks.
detailed parameters
CAPACITY
4TB, 3TB, 2TB, 1TB, 500GB
INTERFACE
USB 3.0/ USB 2.0
OS COMPATIBILITY
Windows, Mac OS
SIZE
110.6 x 82 x 17.6 mm / 118.2 x 82 x 19.85 mm
BACKUP AND DATA PROTECTION
AutoBackup, Secure Drive, SecretZone data encryption
WARRANTY
3 years
PROS
Advanced 3-stage shock protection system protects the device in case of falling. OneTouch Backup is responsible for making backup copies of all stored files. With Transcend TS1TSJ25M3, everything has become easier and faster!
CONS
Encryption is software-based.
OUR VERDICT
An extremely protected case conforming to the military standards makes this hard disk perfect for people who lead active life. Store the data without worrying about external influences!
detailed parameters
CAPACITY
2TB, 1TB, 500GB
INTERFACE
USB 3.0/ USB 2.0
OS COMPATIBILITY
Windows, Mac OS, Linux
SIZE
129.5 x 82.4 x 20.4 mm
BACKUP AND DATA PROTECTION
Shock Proof, OneTouch Backup, 256-bit AES encryption
WARRANTY
3 years
PROS
The portable hard drive doesn't require installing drivers. Start using right out the box! A compact, classic matte black casing lets you bring this device wherever you go!
CONS
The model is available only with 1TB of memory.
OUR VERDICT
Toshiba HDTB310EK3AA is an ideal portable hard drive for those who value their time. Transfer all your personal files within seconds!
detailed parameters
CAPACITY
1TB
INTERFACE
USB 3.0/ USB 2.0
OS COMPATIBILITY
Windows, Mac OS (reformatting required)
SIZE
119 x 79 x 15 mm
BACKUP AND DATA PROTECTION
Internal shock sensor, NoTouch ramp loading technology
WARRANTY
2 years

Seagate STDR1000100

Capacity and Transfer Speed

It's a 1TB portable hard drive manufactured by Seagate. This capacity is sufficient for storing up to 1,000 hours of high-resolution videos, up to 250 2-hour DVD movies, up to 320,000 photos, or 16,600 hours of music. If you think that 1TB isn't enough, there are other versions of this Seagate portable hard drive: 500GB, 1.5TB, 2TB, 4TB. And those who wish to copy files at a really high speed will certainly appreciate a 4TB Fast drive. This 1TB portable hard drive shows the maximum data transfer rate of around 120 MB/s.

Review of Seagate STDR1000100 Portable Hard Drive

Connection and Compatibility

Seagate Backup Plus Slim portable hard drive connects to computers and other devices via a USB 3.0 interface. If you wish to enjoy the maximum data transfer rate, use this device with computers and laptops that have the same connection type. If you use a USB 2.0 port, the speed will be significantly lower. Seagate is formatted in the NTFS file system, so it's compatible with Windows-operated computers; no drivers are required. As you've, probably, guessed, the drive must be reformatted for Mac OS compatibility.

Seagate STDR1000100 Portable Hard Drive in the use

Design and Protection

Seagate Backup Plus Slim portable hard drive is made of plastic that has a matte surface. So, the device looks pretty stylish. The model we have tested is black but there are several other colour options: blue, red, grey, and silver. As for protection, Seagate has a lot to offer. First of all, the unit comes with Seagate Dashboard which allows you to save backups from mobile devices, cloud storages, and social networks. Just download this app, set it correctly - and your videos, photos, and other files will be protected. The program can be installed on Windows and Mac-operated computers. Also, Seagate portable hard drive comes with 200GB of OneDrive storage space, free for 2 years. However, you must activate your account before June 30, 2017. Thus, when buying this 1TB portable hard drive, you also get a cloud storage for keeping all your backups and important files. Also, Backup Plus Slim portable drive is compatible with Lyve app which allows you to free some space on your mobile devices and store your files by off-loading them to your portable hard drive.

Detailed review of Seagate STDR1000100 Portable Hard Drive

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WD WDBUZG0010BBK-WESN

Capacity and Transfer Speed

WD Elements portable hard drive boasts quite a large storage capacity - 2TB. That's enough to store a backup image of your computer's whole system drive (i.e. the one your operating system is installed on). If this capacity seems too much for you, this very portable hard drive is available in 1TB and 1.5TB versions. The 2TB portable hard drive on our shortlist allows you to store around 500 DVD movies (approximately 2 hours long each) - quite a decent result! The data transfer speed of this Western Digital portable hard drive is pretty high - it reaches 5 Gb/s in case of USB 3.0 connection, but if you connect this device to an older computer with USB 2.0 interface - the transfer rate will go down to 480 Mb/s.

Review of WD WDBUZG0010BBK-WESN Portable Hard Drive

Connection and Compatibility

We have already mentioned that WD Elements 2TB portable hard drive has a USB 3.0 connection interface. The cable is included in a package, so you don't need to buy it separately. It's self-evident, this device is backward compatible with USB 2.0. WD is pre-formatted in the NTFS file management system like most other brand-new portable hard drives. Thus, this device works with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10. No drivers are required - just plug and use. As for Mac, this hard drive can work with any Mac-operated computer that has Mac OS X 10.6.5 and higher. However, this portable hard drive must be reformatted for being compatible with Mac.

WD WDBUZG0010BBK-WESN Portable Hard Drive in the use

Design and Protection

The casing of WD Elements 2TB portable hard drive is made of plastic that has a smooth surface. Therefore, be careful and don't drop the device, otherwise, you can seriously damage it. As for protection, Western Digital 2TB portable hard drive comes with the latest version of WD SmartWare Pro backup software that helps you back your data up. Moreover, save it either to the portable hard drive or right to your Dropbox™ cloud (if you have it, of course). Let's also mention the size of this portable hard drive: 4.4 x 3.2 x 0.6 inches. The weight is really small - 0.3 pound, so you can carry this device in your laptop bag all the time.

Detailed review of WD WDBUZG0010BBK-WESN Portable Hard Drive

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WD Elements 1TB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive Unboxing And Review
 

Maxtor M3 Slimline

Ideal for Daily Tasks

If you are looking for a solution to store or transfer large volumes of data from your PC, the Seagate Maxtor M3 is actually what you need! Apart from an excellent value for the money, this portable hard disk offers a really flawless performance. Maximum data transmission speeds can reach 5GB per second, which is enough to transfer all your data within seconds! The design looks elegant and sets the device apart from the overwhelming majority of other similar products. The bottom side has rubber feet ensuring stability when using. The compact size is one more crucial benefit of the device, even models with the higher capacity have a length of 118 mm. It's safe to say, that this portable hard drive will match perfectly any of your needs! To protect the device from external impacts, you may also want to get a protective case optionally!

Review of Maxtor M3 Slimline Portable Hard Drive

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
External Hard Drive 1TB USB 3.0 | Maxtor M3 Portable (Passport) | YouTube vid archive
 

Transcend Shock Resistance

Flawlessly Protected

To begin with, the StoreJet 25M3 stands out with its extremely protected design that complies with MIL-STD-810G 516.6 military drop-test standards. Made with the 3-stage shock protection system, this portable hard disk will be a real discovery for travellers and people leading active lives. Don't worry about using it under extreme conditions — an advanced internal hard drive suspension system combined with a durable anti-shock rubber case will do their job! Additionally, the hard disk is suitable even for using in a high-temperature environment, so all your valuable data won't be lost! 256-bit AES file & folder encryption will also provide protection for your personal information from prying eyes. The Transcend TS1TSJ25M3 Military is also equipped with One Touch Auto-Backup button to make backup copies and restore any type of files easily. Great! 

Review of Transcend Shock Resistance Portable Hard Drive

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Review: Transcend 1TB External HDD
 

Toshiba Canvio Basics External

Ready for Use Right Out-of-the-box

The first thing to be noted when considering the Toshiba HDTB310EK3AA is that it doesn't require installing additional software on your PC or laptop. Thus, you'll be able to start using the device right away! The hard disk boasts USB 3.0 connectivity, however, it's also fully compatible with USB 2.0. The ramp loading technology and special internal shock sensor will protect all files stored. No matter where exactly you are going to use the hard disk, it will ensure secure storage of all your important files and data! The Toshiba HDTB310EK3AA doesn't require drivers for installation! Transfer all your photos and other personal files effortlessly! 

If you're contemplating buying a new laptop, pay your attention to our best laptop review, too!

Review of Toshiba Canvio Basics External Portable Hard Drive

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


VIDEO
Toshiba Canvio Basics 3.0 1TB Portable Hard Drive
 

What is a Portable Hard Drive

Sooner or later all computer users face a problem of data storage. New formats make video files extremely 'bulky' and new PC games take dozens of gigabytes. Storing your stuff on CD and DVD discs makes no sense since they provide quite a small storage space. This is where portable hard drives come in useful. Portable hard drives are designed for storing and backing up a lot of data and they are very compact. Thus, you can take a portable hard drive wherever you go! It's particularly useful for people who travel a lot and need to have some important files at hand. Connecting a portable hard drive to a computer is simple and often no drivers are required. You just use a USB cord and that's all. However, making the right choice is still quite difficult, particularly for people who don't know much about computers and hardware. That's why we have picked 5 best portable hard drives and compared them according to their most important features.

If portability isn't your priority and you just need a super-capacious drive, take a look at our shortlist of external hard drives. While if you wish to reach stunning data transfer rates, our review of external solid state drives should be of interest to you, too.

What Features to Compare

Capacity and Transfer Speed

The first feature you should consider is the capacity of a portable hard drive. This parameter tells you how much digital information a device can store. Portable hard drives usually have at least 500GB of storage space, though most customers prefer models offering larger space (from 1TB to 4TB). If these bare figures tell you nothing, here are some details: 1TB stores up to 1,000 hours of digital videos, up to 250 hours of 2-hour DVD movies, up to 320,000 photos or 16,660 hours of music playback. Next, don't forget to check the maximum data transfer rate (speed) each device supports. This rate denotes the amount of data that is transferred within 1 second. There are quite a lot of issues that impact the transfer speed: spindle rotation speed, connection interface, buffer cache, etc.

Connection and Compatibility

Any peripheral device must be somehow connected to a computer. As usual, most portable hard drives have a USB interface - either USB 2.0 or USB 3.0. The best devices have a brand-new USB 3.0 interface which is several times faster than USB 2.0, ensuring the highest data transfer rate possible. The maximum data transfer rate for the USB 3.0 interface reaches 5 Gb/s. Some portable hard drives offer other connection interfaces such as eSATA and FireWire, but they are quite rare on the market. Also, you should know what operating systems each portable hard drive is compatible with and what file management system it has. FAT32 is a popular system used for many years but it puts a limit on the maximum file size (4GB). FAT32 is compatible with most Windows operating systems (starting from XP), Mac OS, and Linux. Newer portable hard drives are formatted in NTFS file management system - it doesn't limit the file size and allows you to encrypt the data. However, there's a drawback - NTFS can't work with Mac-operated computers. If you wish to use a portable hard drive with your iMac or MacBook - you will have to reformat the portable HDD. It will erase all your files, so do it right after the purchase.

Design and Protection

Finally, there are some other features that you should consider before buying a portable hard drive. Find out what material a device is made of since the durability will heavily depend on it. The best portable hard drives are made of metal - they are shock-resistant and don't melt down if exposed to fire. Plastic devices are cheaper and less durable. As for design, it's up to you to decide. Many manufacturers offer their portable hard drives in different colours and the casing of a device has either matte or glossy surface. It's self-evident that no fingerprints will be seen on a matte surface. The last but not the least, pay particular attention to the data protection features each device offers. Some models come with some backup software while the best portable hard drives boast a highly reliable 256-bit AES hardware encryption. Choose the latter if you wish to keep your data 100% safe.

Sources:

1. Natalia Real How To Buy an External Hard Drive, Digital Trends. December 9, 2012.

2. Lisa Johnston 3 Tips for Buying a Portable or External Hard Drive, Lifewire. September 3, 2016.

3. Everything You Wanted to Know About Hard Drives, Seagate.

4. Michael Brown How to buy the best portable hard drive, PCWorld.  December 5, 2012.

5. How to Choose the Right External Hard Disk Drive for You, eBay. March 10, 2016.

6. Shoaib Khan What Is the Difference Between an External and a Portable Hard Drive for a Computer? Techwalla.

7. Joel Lee 5 Things You Need to Consider Before Buying a Hard DriveMakeUseOf.

8. Lisa Johnston Before You Buy an External Hard Drive, Lifewire. September 3, 2016.

9. The Complete Guide to Buying External Hard Disk Drives, eBay. March 1, 2016

10. Chris Woodford How does a hard drive work? Explain that Stuff. April 24, 2016.

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