Portable Hard Drives Round-Up

If you want to store images safely and securely, a hard drive is a must-have accessory. Portable hard drives are a convenient solution for those on the move and here we look at six options, each offering a 1TB capacity.

Western Digital My Passport, Toshiba Stor.e Basics, Seagate Backup Plus Portable hard drives

Buffalo Mini Station Extreme, £83

This is a pocket-sized hard drive, boasting a slim design and a military grade construction. Encased in a shock-resistant body to protect it from damage, it's claimed to survive free-fall drop tests from 2.3 metres, though we wouldn't recommend you try it! Integrated into the unit is a USB cable and should you need to increase its length, a USB extension is provided. LED lights on the front of the drive reveal the port you've plugged the drive into - green indicates USB 2.0 and blue for USB 3.0. The USB 3.0 interface can move data at rates up to 5 gigabytes per second (Gbps), equivalent to 10x faster than USB 2.0. With 256-bit AES disk encryption to keep data safe and secure from unauthorised access, the drive also offers back-up utility and support for continuous backup on Apple computers running Time Machine. The hard drive's dimensions make it a very practical storage solution and a 500GB version is available too for £60.

Interface: USB 3.0
Capacities available: 500GB/1TB
PC/Mac compatible: Yes
Size:89 x 128 x 18mm
Weight: 230g

www.buffalo-technology.com

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G-Drive Mobile for Apple, £99

Mimicking the simplistic style of Apple products, the G-Drive Mobile is made to be as small and lightweight as possible. Weighing 250g and measuring 83 x 127 x 18.4mm, this super-slim storage hard drive device is bus powered like all the others meaning no AC adapter is required to run it. Featuring a super speedy USB 3.0 interface that's compatible with USB 2.0, the G-Drive also offers support for FireWire 800. Both USB 3.0 and FireWire 800 cables are included in the box and though the drive is preformatted in the HFS+ format, a simple initialization is all that's required for use with Windows systems. Complementing the look of Macbooks and iMacs, it's available in two other capacities including 1TB. Expect a 500GB to cost £55 and a 750GB version to cost £80. With such a strong and durable build quality, the G-Drive feels like it's built to last and it should be able to shrug off any accidental knocks.

Interface: 2x Firewire 800/USB 3.0
Capacities available: 500GB/750GB/1TB
PC/Mac compatible: Yes
Size:83 x 127 x 18.4mm
Weight: 250g

www.g-technology.com

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LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt £209

This LaCie hard drive is more expensive than its rivals here but it does provide connectivity the others don't. As well as USB 3.0 it has Thunderbolt connectivity, making it compatible with Apple's latest MacBooks and iMacs. Setting the benchmark for speed, Thunderbolt is an entirely new interface that's capable of transferring data up to 20x faster than USB 2.0 and up to 12x faster than FireWire 800. Offering an average transfer rate of 110MB/s, the drive adopts a similar look to LaCie drives we've seen before. With the hard drive encased in an aluminium shell and protected on the outside by a shock-resistant rubber sleeve, it's up to the task of preventing damage to its inner core. What's more, AES 256-bit encryption ensures your files are protected from unauthorised access and it comes with a free year's worth of Wuala Secure Cloud Storage (10GB). Solid State versions of this hard drive are also available in 120GB and 256GB capacities.

Interface: USB 3.0/Thunderbolt
Capacities available: 256GB/120GB/1TB
PC/Mac compatible: Yes
Size: 89 x 140 x 24mm
Weight: 260g

www.lacie.com

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Seagate Backup Plus Portable £88

With a footprint no larger than a passport and a thickness that's akin to a smartphone, Seagate's Backup Plus hard drive is a desirable portable storage solution. The USB 3.0 interface is backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports, it's supplied with an 18in cable and has been designed so it can be upgraded to support Thunderbolt or FireWire 800 using adapters which are sold separately. With automatic and scheduled backup options, there's the facility to save photos you've shared on social media sites directly to the drive. Alternatively, you can share photo and video content directly to Facebook and Flickr using Seagate's Dashboard facility. Compatible with both PC and Mac the portable hard drive has the NTFS driver pre-loaded. Available in a selection of colours including red, blue, silver and black, the Backup Plus Portable drive is also available in 500GB (£52) and 750GB (£75) capacities if 1TB is too large.

Interface: USB 3.0
Capacities available: 500GB/750GB/1TB
PC/Mac compatible: Yes
Size: 81.1 x 123.4 x 14.5mm
Weight: 224g

www.seagate.com

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Toshiba Stor.e Basics £70

With a simple yet purposeful design, the Toshiba Stor.e Basics is a featherweight hard drive weighing just 180g. It's barely noticeable that you're carrying it with you and though it may not be as slim as some of the other drives, measuring 16.5mm at its slimmest point, it is possible to slide it into a pocket if required. Catering for super-fast transfer rates of up to 5GB per second thanks to its USB 3.0 interface, it's also USB 2.0 backward compatible meaning you'll be able to transfer files no matter what system you're using; however you will need to re-format the hard drive if you're a Mac user because it's formatted for PC as shipped. As well as the 1TB version, Toshiba produces an almost identical drive with a smaller 500GB capacity for £60. If you're working to a strict budget and have no more than £70 to spend, Toshiba's Stor.e Basics hard drive makes a good storage choice but don't expect the very best build quality.

Interface: USB 3.0
Capacities available: 500GB/1TB
PC/Mac compatible: Yes
Size: 79 x 118.9 x 16.5mm
Weight: 180g

www.toshiba.co.uk

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Western Digital My Passport £80

Western Digital's My Passport hard drive packs in a large capacity within a small enclosure. Powered through the USB port, which saves you having to lug around a bulky power adapter, the drive comes pre-formatted in the NTFS format for Windows and requires reformatting for use on Apple Mac computers. Measuring 19mm at its slimmest point, this hard drive's slightly chunkier than the other hard drives in this roundup but benefits from Western Digital's automatic backup software that quietly works away in the background to ensure any changed files are backed up instantly. Featuring Western Digital's security utility, users can set password protection and hardware encryption to protect personal files from unauthorised access. If your computer isn't USB 3.0 enabled you needn't worry - it's backward compatible with USB 2.0. Available in a selection of colours, it's also available in different capacities between 500GB and 2TB.

Interface: USB 3.0
Capacities available: 500GB-2TB
PC/Mac compatible: Yes
Size: 82 x 111 x 19mm
Weight: 190g

www.wdc.com

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