Portable HDD

Taking files with you can be a pain if you rely on flash drives, and for larger files or having everything in a single physical location, you're likely going to want to look at a portable drive of some sort. We rounded up a few great portable drives for when an internet connection is limited or you prefer to have data easily accessible with just a cable.

We always recommend storing important data in more than a single place, so be sure to use an available NAS (or cloud service) as well as a physical portable drive, just in case.

Samsung T5

Samsung T5

Samsung is responsible for some fantastic storage solutions. Whether you're after a solid-state drive (SSD), NVMe or RAM, the tech company has you covered with high-quality components. This is why the T5 is included in our portable roundup, because it sports a powerful Samsung SSD with read and write speeds of up to 540MB/s. It's also a full metal design for around $160, which isn't bad when you consider the cost of SSDs today and that this price is for the 500GB version.

The 250GB variant comes in at a little less, costing around $125, but $35 for double the storage is a worthy upgrade. This drive offers optional password protection and AES 256-bit hardware encryption, which means your data is relatively secure.

Samsung also offers a three-year warranty and USB Type-C to Type-C and Type-A cables for maximum compatibility. Overall, it is an excellent portable drive.

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PNY Elite

PNY Elite

This affordable portable SSD from PNY allows you to pick up 240GB of storage for just $89.99. The drive is a little slower than the Samsung T5, which is reflected in the price. Read speeds can hit 430MB/s and write speeds max out at 400MB/s. To be fair on the PNY Elite, you'll not likely notice the difference unless you're in a rush to transfer files.

The drive itself is smaller than a credit card, and the enclosure is made of aluminum for enhanced durability. Three years worth of warranty comes included alongside access to Acronis True Image Data Protection software. One should bear in mind that some owners have had issues with achieving transfer speeds that PNY claims, but for the price, it's an affordable choice.

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Seagate Backup Plus Slim

Seagate Backup Plus

Seagate is a well-known brand when it comes to storage, especially with the Xbox One. The company also offers the excellent Backup Plus external drive, starting at around $53. It's a really good price and the reason for that is Seagate using a mechanical hard drive, as opposed to a faster and compact SSD. The good part is you not only save a fair amount per GB but it also doesn't require a separate power supply (it's all powered through USB).

As a bonus, Seagate includes two months worth of Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography plan, which gives you access to Photoshop. The downside of the hard-disk drive (HDD) is the read and write speeds of around 120MB/s, considerably slower than competing SSDs.

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CalDigit Tuff

CalDigit Tuff

Should you truly value the safety of your data, this is when something like the CalDigit Tuff portable HDD makes more sense. It's a beast of an enclosure, specifically designed to take a battering without issue. The 2TB HDD will set you back around $180 but it's well worth it and can even survive a drop from up to four feet. There's also the fact that it can remain submerged for up to 30 minutes in 3.28 feet of water, plus it has a dust- and shock-resistant coating.

Unfortunately, like the Seagate offering, this uses a mechanical drive and not an SSD. This means transfer speeds are going to be restricted to around 130MB/s. It's not a deal breaker but is definitely something to consider if speed is a requirement.

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DIY options

Seagate Portable HDD

If you struggle to find a portable drive that ticks all your boxes, you can build your own. We have a guide that runs you through everything you will need to save a little and create a custom portable drive.

Create your own portable SSD

Even more storage