Over the past two decades, the demands placed on storage have skyrocketed to the point where even average home users are now juggling what would have been considered enterprise levels of data a few years ago.
While there are plenty of hard drives and solid state drives with monster capacities (and in the case of SSDs, monster price tags!), sometimes you want storage that's small enough to pack into a pocket, handbag, or case.
Here are a handful of portable storage devices, ranging from something so small that James Bond would be impressed, to something that is capable of surviving car crashes and flooding.
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).
(Source: Western Digital)
This is a DIY solution.
You buy the S252SMTB3 2-bay Thunderbolt enclosure and then add two 2.5-inch SATA I/II/III hard drives (HDD) or solid state drives (SSD) to give data transfer rates of up to 10Gbps. This flexibility allows you to put together the sort of storage that you need.
Let's move to the absurdly small – the PK K'1. With a volume of only 0.07-in3 — no bigger than a fingernail — it is the world smallest USB 3.0 flash drive. But don't let the small size fool you into thinking that capacity is limited – this drive comes in 32GB and 64GB flavors.
Not only is its small size great for plugging into car stereos and USB TVs, it's also great for popping into a spare USB port on a notebook. It's so small that you'll hardly notice it! And its all-metal construction means that it can take the occasional knock and scrape.
Ideal for those looking to add more storage to their MacBook Air/Pro.
I've been around the houses in terms of compact flash and SD cards, ranging from cheap stuff all the way to high-end professional cards, and I have to admit that when my data matters, I go with high-end Lexar cards. Fast, ultra-reliable, backed by expert support and limited lifetime warranty.
I remember a time when I dreamt of owning a 1TB hard drive. How 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!
Sometimes you want storage but without the wires, say if you want to expand the storage of your tablet. This is where wireless storage comes in, and the LaCie FUEL is ideal.
The LaCie FUEL combines a 1TB drive with a rechargeable battery offering 10-hours of run time and wi-fi connectivity to give you a totally wireless experience. The FUEL is also AirPlay-compatible so you can send music, photos and movies to your Apple TV and well as your iPad and iPhone.
Up to five devices can access the drive at the same time, and it is fast enough to allow the streaming of an HD movie to up to three devices simultaneously.
Great for road trips with the family!
Hard drives are fragile things, and people who take their storage with them into the great outdoors – people like photographers and videographers – need drives that can take knocks and bumps in their stride.
One drive that's been built to take punishment is the LaCie Rugged. It takes a fast SSD capable of a sustained transfer rate of 385MB/s, hooks it up to USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports, and puts it all into a rubberized case that can withstand drops of 1.2 meters (4 feet) in non-operating mode. (Although I've seen these drives survive falls much greater than this.)
If that's not enough for you, you also get 256-bit AES encryption to keep prying eyes out of your data.
Drives range from 120GB to 500GB for the SSD versions, and 1TB to 2TB for the hard drive version.
Want a no-holds-barred fast Thunderbolt drive? You need the Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+, which offers transfer speeds up to 420 MB/s thanks to server-grade controller chips and high quality flash chips and custom firmware, all of which combine to offer the lowest average annualized failure rate (AFR) in the industry.
The drive is also totally silent and rated dust and waterproof to IP64 (which means it is dustproof and protected from splashing water).
Without a doubt one of the fastest, best-made, most reliable portable storage devices on the market.
Now we come to the "black box flight recorder" or portable storage – the ioSafe Rugged Portable.
How rugged is this drive? Thanks to its aluminum or titanium constructions, it can withstand:
These are the world's most robust portable storage devices and are designed to survive situations that you might not!