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Portable storage devices: Gigabytes (and terabytes) that fit in your pocket

While the cloud has appeared just in time to offer free and easy access to gigabytes of storage space, some people like to keep their data close to hand. Here are some of the best portable storage devices money can buy that will help you keep your data safe.
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1 of 9 Western Digital

Introduction

As we go about our day creating more data, so the demand for storage space increases. While the cloud has appeared just in time to offer free and easy access to gigabytes of storage space, some people like to keep their data close at hand. This is where personal storage comes into play. Also, it's not easy to shift gigabytes of data to and from the cloud unless you have a serious web connection.

As well as being a tech geek I'm also a photographer, and this means that I create enormous quantities of data. Just the other day I created a 10 second timelapse video, which on the face of it doesn't seem like much, but adding up the input, output and intermediate files put the total space consumed by this one project at 16GB.

That's a lot of data. I remember when all I had was a 10MB hard drive!

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2 of 9 Kingston

Kingston DataTraveler microDuo

A tiny, fingernail-sized drive that also works with Android 4.0+ devices that have USB OTG support, allowing you to access the storage, which in turn allows you to expend the storage on your smartphone or tablet.

This tiny drive is also compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Price: Ranging from $12 for 16GB to $30 for 64GB.

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3 of 9 SanDisk

SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.0

Store up to 64GB is something not much bigger than your fingernail.

Not only are these drives great when you want to pack the maximum amount of storage into the smallest space possible, but they are also work great as additional storage for tablets, smart TVs and car stereos where low-profile is paramount.

I have a few of these, and other than being easy to misplace/lose, there's not much wrong with them.

Price: 16GB for around $10/32GB for around $20/64GB for $35.

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4 of 9 Western Digital

Western Digital My Passport Ultra

A portable drive that you can slip into your pocket, but it also features 256-bit hardware encryption and integrated local and cloud backup solutions that allows you to make use of your Dropbox account for create a separate backup.

This offers up to 2TB of storage is a small, robust and stylish package.

Price: 1TB for around $80/2TB for $120.

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5 of 9 Imation

IronKey

One of the biggest worries when carrying data about is loss. Sure, it sucks being down a storage device when you've left it on the train or had it stolen off you, but what sucks more is realizing that you didn't encrypt something important, and now that data is potentially out in the wild.

You might choose to mitigate this by using a software solution, but in my experience people forget to use this at the most inopportune times. Far better to use a hardware encryption solution that forces the user to encrypt the data at all times.

This is where the IronKey comes into play. Not only does it offer AES 256-bit hardware encryption, but it is also built to resist very determined and sophisticated attack. The device will permanently self-destruct after 10 consecutive incorrect password attempts, and a ruggedized, waterproof metal chassis resists physical break-ins and features a tamper evident design.

Price: The S250 starts at $110 for 2GB.

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6 of 9 Lexar

Lexar Professional Workflow storage drive

This is an interesting idea. It's a portable storage drive that not only acts as a standalone USB storage drive, but it can also slot into Lexar's Professional Workflow Hub allowing it to be integrated with my media card readers.

If you're handling a lot of photos and video, then this approach gives you a flexible way to add dedicated storage to your system. This is especially useful if you are working on a system that either has limited storage space, or is using a hard drive as opposed to a faster SSD.

Price: 256GB for around $130/512GB for around $170.

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7 of 9 Kingston

Kingston DataTraveler HyperX Predator

I remember a time when I dreamt of owning a 1TB hard drive. Now you can fit 1TB of storage into a pocket!

The Kingston DataTraveler HyperX Predator combines colossal capacities – up to 1TB – with incredible performance – read speeds of 240MB/s and write speeds of 160MB/s.

This is a monstrous drive that feels more like a metal ingot in your pocket than a flash drive. I'll be honest with you though, if you have to ask what the price is – over $1,000 for the 1TB version – then this drive isn't for you!

Price: Eye watering.

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8 of 9 Western Digital

Western Digital My Passport Pro

For a few years now I've been a fan of Western Digital My Passport drives. They're small, fast, and reliable. Given my happy past experiences with these external drives, I was excited when Western Digital sent me a pair of 2TB My Passport Pro.

Unlike the My Passport drives which house a single drive, the My Passport Pro houses two drives. This makes them thicker, but the two drives have benefits. Using the supplied software you can configure these drives as RAID 0 or RAID 1 (depending on whether you want speed or data duplication) or you can set them to appear as separate drives.

The My Passport Pro comes equipped with Thunderbolt connectivity, and the cable is attached, which is great because it means I don't have to buy one, and won't lose the one supplied! This drive delivers transfer rates as high as 233 MB/s, so it's no slouch. The drive also gets power from the Thunderbolt connector so there's no separate AC adaptor to carry (or lose).

Price: Starts at $299 for 2TB.

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9 of 9 Elgato

Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+ 512GB

A lightning-fast, no-nonsense, Thunderbolt-compatible SSD-based portable drive. An extra USB port means you can access your files wherever you are.

The Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+ is fitted with Plextor True Speed technology, server-grade controller chips guarantee sustained high performance, while high quality flash chips and custom firmware provide the lowest average annualized failure rate (AFR) in the industry.

Price: $899.95.

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