The best portable SSDs enable you to rapidly back up and bring your files with you. Reading and writing data to them is considerably faster because they are Solid State Drives with no moving parts.

Also, because they don’t have any moving components, they’re more durable than normal portable hard drives, so a minor bump or drop shouldn’t harm them – or cause your crucial files to be lost. Many of the best portable SSDs, in fact, have tough casings that have been intended to withstand accidental damage. If you need to carry your work about with you, these are well worth considering, even if they are a little more expensive.

The best portable SSDs have always been more expensive than an external hard drive, putting the most powerful devices out of reach for many. Regardless, we’ve compiled a list of the best external SSDs for 2021.

 

WD My Passport SSD (NVMe)

Tech Reviews - WD My Passport SSD NVMe - Tech News

  • Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
  • Transfer Protocol: USB 3.2 Gen 2
  • Sequential Reads: 1,050 MBps
  • Warranty: 5 Years
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This is not to be confused with the earlier generation of WD’s popular MyPassport SSD, which is still available. The new version has a smoother, more rounded form, but despite the differences in appearance, it still bears the same My Passport SSD name (which adds to the confusion).

The original My Passport SSD didn’t wow us with its speeds, but this new one is based on NVMe SSD technology and promises to be nearly twice as fast, with maximum read/write rates of 1050MB/s and 1000MB/s, respectively. And, surprisingly, we found WD’s promises to be accurate, as CrystalDiskMark measured read/write rates of 1041MB/s and 1002MB/s, respectively. When switching to real-world testing, performance suffers, but the new My Passport SSD still performs admirably. With video files, we got an average read/write speed of 651MB/s and 569MB/s, respectively, and 538/364MB/s with multiple image files. Apart from the image write speed, where the My Passport SSD was roughly 30% slower, these are somewhat faster results than SanDisk’s excellent Extreme Pro Portable SSD.

You can choose from 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities, with USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 connectivity. The bundle includes a USB-C to USB-A adaptor.

 

SanDisk Extreme v2 Portable SSD

Tech Reviews - SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD - Tech News

  • Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
  • Transfer Protocol: USB 3.2 Gen 2
  • Sequential Reads: 1,000 MBps
  • Warranty: 5 Years
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For content creators on the go, SanDisk’s Extreme v2 is one of the best portable 10 Gbps SSDs. SanDisk’s Extreme v2 boasts double the performance of its predecessor, thanks to a fast NVMe SSD and a USB 3.2 Gen 2 bridge chip, as well as greater security with hardware-accelerated total disk encryption.

It is one of the fastest-writing portable USB 10Gbps SSDs for the price, not only when reading your media files or documents, but also when subjected to big write transfers. The design of the Extreme v2 is identical to that of the Extreme Pro v2, however, it is smaller and lighter. However, the Extreme v2 lacks the more expensive model’s strong aluminum frame and power indicator light. The Extreme v2 is, on the other hand, reasonably priced, IP55 water and dust resistant, with capacities up to 4TB and a 5-year warranty.

 

Samsung T7 Touch

Tech Reviews - Samsung T7 Touch - Tech News

  • Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
  • Transfer Protocol: USB 3.2 Gen 2
  • Sequential Reads: 1,050 MBps
  • Warranty: 3 Years
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Samsung’s T7 Touch portable SSD is a cutting-edge, safe, and user-friendly portable SSD. It looks and performs quickly, with sleek aesthetics and read/write speeds of up to 10 Gbps. It even boasts hardware encryption for data security, which works in tandem with a built-in fingerprint scanner. However, while it’s unique, it’s not the best bargain for a 10 Gbps portable SSD, and it’s also not the fastest in its class.

Portable SSDs provide quick data recovery, whether you’re just backing up your data or keeping your video library. The increased speed over a conventional HDD can be beneficial in a variety of scenarios, particularly if you value your time. With Samsung’s T7 offering 9.5x the performance of an HDD, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify a slow portable hard drive over a fast external SSD.

The T7 Touch is available in three capacities: 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. The T7 is more expensive than the T5 (the 1TB unit we tested costs $230), but it also boasts double the performance. The compact portable SSD can give outstanding speed through its USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface, with read and write speeds of 1,050 MBps and 1,000 MBps, respectively. The T7 Touch, like other portable SSDs, doesn’t specify an endurance rating, although it does come with a 3-year warranty.

 

LaCie Rugged RAID Pro

Tech Reviews - LaCie Rugged Raid Pro - Tech News

  • Capacities: 2TB, 4TB, 5TB, 8TB
  • Transfer Protocols: Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • Sequential Reads: Depends on configuration
  • Warranty: 3 Years
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While it is on the expensive side, LaCie’s Rugged RAID Pro isn’t unreasonable when you consider its target market and the piece of mind that data redundancy provides. LaCie gives you a free month of all Adobe programs, worth $79.49. More crucially, the drive comes with a three-year warranty on data recovery. This treatment can cost hundreds of dollars at times.

If you’re a creative worker looking for an external hard disk, you should consider getting this drive. There aren’t a lot of rivals: The majority of other HDD options are substantially larger, and flash-based SSDs don’t currently provide comparable capacity or value-adds. The LaCie Rugged RAID Pro 4TB comes with a unique set of features and accessories that make it simple to use and a great travel companion.

 

Transcend ESD250C

Tech Reviews - Transcend 960GB - Tech News

  • Capacities: 960GB
  • Transfer Protocol: USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • Sequential Reads: 520 MBps
  • Warranty: 3 Years
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If you’re looking for a seriously thin SSD, Transcend’s product is ideal. It’s far thinner than a standard portable SSD, measuring only 7.5mm thick, and while it’s longer than most at 120mm, it’s only 33.6mm wide. The matte aluminum outer casing is extremely stylish, with a space-grey finish that goes well with Apple devices.

The drive can be formatted for Windows or Mac using Transcend’s included Elite software, or it can be connected straight to an Android mobile device that supports USB On-The-Go. To connect to a desktop, laptop, or phone, a USB Type-C to Type-C cable is included, as well as a Type-C to Type-A cable.

The drive is equipped with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface. Its 10 Gbit/s speed rating is more than adequate to push the drive’s claimed maximum read and write speeds to 520MB/s and 460MB/s, respectively. In CrystalDiskMark, we got even quicker read/write rates of 564/476MB/s, albeit real-world speeds were a little lower in our testing, as is often typically the case. The ESD250C managed 464/328MB/s video read/write speeds while transferring numerous images and a single large video file.

The ESD250C comes in only one capacity option: 960GB. Despite the lack of a smaller alternative, the price is relatively competitive, matching that of other manufacturers’ 500GB SSDs.

 

Samsung Portable SSD T5

Tech Reviews - SAMSUNG T5 - Tech News

  • Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
  • Transfer Protocol: USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • Sequential Reads: 540 MBps
  • Warranty: 3 Years
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With a basic matte aluminum housing that embodies understated elegance, Samsung’s entry is as elegant as portable SSDs go. It fits comfortably into a shirt pocket, measuring only 74 x 57.3 x 10.5mm, and comes in four colors: black, blue, gold, and red. The SSD T5 is also rated to survive a 2-meter plunge, and your data is safeguarded by 256-bit hardware encryption, something you wouldn’t expect from the attractive design. There are capacities of 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB, with the 1TB version offering particularly good value, costing only a little more than many competing 500GB drives.

While the promised 540MB/s transfer speed may be difficult to reach, the USB 3.1 Gen 2 connection (Type-C and Type-A cables are included) will ensure outstanding speeds. When transferring video, we saw 415/365MB/s rear/write speeds, and picture read/write speeds of 308/298MB/s are also impressive.

 

Lexar SL200 Portable SSD

Tech Reviews - Lexar SL200 - Tech News

  • Capacities: 128GB, 240GB, 256GB, 480GB, 512GB, 960GB, 1TB, 2TB
  • Transfer Protocol: USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • Sequential Reads: 550 MBps
  • Warranty: 3 Years
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Lexar is best known for its high-quality memory cards and card readers, but it also makes a number of portable SSDs. The SL200 is the company’s newest model, with dimensions of 86 x 60 x 9.5mm. The matte silver surface looks good next to most recent laptops, and the build quality is reassuringly solid.

The maximum read/write rates advertised by Lexar are 550/400MB/s, which is very normal for a non-NVMe SSD. When reading/writing a single huge video file, we measured the drive at a maximum of 448/289MB/s – a best-case real-world speed scenario. Even though transferring huge numbers of little image files slows any SSD, the SL200 nevertheless managed a respectable read/write speed of 384/267MB/s. When comparing equal capacities, these speeds are broadly comparable to the similarly tiny Samsung SSD T5. However, when considering storage sizes, the Samsung SSD T5 tends to be less expensive than the Lexar.

The Lexar SL200 is available in 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities, and connects to a computer via a USB 3.1 Type-C connection on the drive. The box includes USB Type-C to Type-C and Type-C to Type-A cables.

 

Adata SE800

Tech Reviews - ADATA SE800 - Tech News

  • Capacities: 512GB, 1TB
  • Transfer Protocol: USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • Sequential Reads: 1000 MBps
  • Warranty: 3 Years
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This 1.4oz, 2.8-inch long flash drive is the size of a matchbook. It’s also quite durable: With an IP68 designation, AData claims it is water, dust, and shockproof, meaning it can withstand 30 minutes of immersion in water up to 10 feet deep, as well as dust and drops from a few feet. However, this necessitates the presence of the plastic cover over the USB-C port, which might be easily pulled away from the single piece of plastic that keeps it in place. Both USB-C and USB 3-compatible cables are included.

We found it to be a fair performer in our tests, transferring our 2.7GB test file in 5.5 seconds. That’s average, and it means copying files to or from the drive should be fairly speedy, which is crucial considering the drive can contain up to 2TB of data. When in use, the drive gets a little warm to the touch due to heat dissipation through the aluminum shell.

 

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