When it comes to storing a lot of files and backups that you can carry in your bag or pocket, a portable solid-state drive (SSD) is your best bet. You get a small size with big performance, with portable SSDs offering breakneck data transfer speeds while sometimes being the size of a credit card. For many, the best SSD is the one you can take anywhere.
Samsung T7/T7 Touch
Samsung makes amazing SSDs, and the T7 is the latest and greatest that you can slip into a pocket. Coming in a range of capacities, the T7 is fast, tiny, and not massively expensive. Expect read/write speeds of up to 540 MB/s, and if you wish, there's a version with a built-in fingerprint scanner to help keep your stuff a little safer. If you'd rather spend a little less, the regular T7 is the same SSD but without the scanner.
Western Digital My Passport
A respected brand, a teeny tiny little box, and a solid price, WD's My Passport is a winner for sure. Transfer speeds can hit up to about 515 MB/s, you can add a password and 256-bit AES encryption, and automatic backup makes it easy to keep your data current. Capacities range from 256GB up to 2TB.
Rough and Tough
This is pricey, but more importantly, it's ridiculously rugged and durable, so it's perfect for the outdoorsy laptop user. It also supports USB-C 3.2, which boasts about the fastest data transfer speeds you'll get outside of a Thunderbolt 3 drive. If you're especially hard on your gear, know that this purchase also includes a five-year limited warranty and access to LaCie's data recovery service.
DIY Satechi enclosure
Make Your Own
If you already have a 2.5-inch SSD to spare, you can save yourself some cash and get this enclosure from Satechi. Simply pop in the drive, and you've got your own, homemade portable SSD. Of course, it has USB-C 3.1, so you'll still get excellent data transfer speeds. For anyone with some spare hardware and who wants to save some cash, this is the best bet.
Sabrent Rocket Pro
Sabrent has some excellent value storage solutions for PC, and the Rocket Pro is no exception. Besides being compact and incredibly well made, it uses the NVMe standard and USB-C 3.1, with the end result being superfast data speeds while maintaining an affordable price. It also comes with a USB-A adapter, so regardless of the PC you use it with, you can always get at your data.
RAVPower External SSD Pro
Portable SSDs are generally quite small, but this is something else, being not much larger than a pack of gum. Despite its tiny size, inside is 512GB of SSD storage, and thanks to USB-C 3.1, you get up to 540MB/s data transfer speeds. It's durable, attractively priced, and comes included with pretty solid encryption to help keep your data safe.
SanDisk Extreme PRO
SanDisk has wrapped up an NVMe SSD inside a rugged, but tiny case, and paired it with USB-C 3.2 for fast, but accessible data transfer speeds. It's IP55 rated, can survive a two meter drop and the aluminum chassis has also been designed to act as a heatsink to ensure maximum performance for longer. Backed up by a five-year warranty and optional hardware encryption, this really is an SSD you can take anywhere.
Plenty of great choice
Even with cloud storage as ubiquitous as it is today, sometimes you simply can't substitute being able to carry data with you on a portable drive. An SSD is by far the best way to do this, and with the advancement of the USB-C standard, prices are beginning to fall. If we had to choose one we'd always lean towards, it would be the Samsung T7, for similar reasons to recommending the company's internal SSDs.
Like Samsung internal storage, the T7 is fast, reliable, good value and comes with a solid warranty. The T7, in particular, is insanely portable, sizing little more than a credit card. You really could carry it in a wallet.
There are plenty of other good choices out there as well with a special shout out for Sabrent, a brand you may not be familiar with, but that has been producing some good quality, high performing, affordable storage solutions recently. The Rocket Pro is another excellent choice.
And if you have a spare desktop drive gathering dust doing nothing, why not use something like the Satechi DIY enclosure to repurpose it as a portable, USB-C equipped SSD. It's affordable, high quality, and definitely better than tossing out your old drive!
Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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