Por­ta­ble hard drives

Keep your photos and videos mo­bile with­out sac­ri­fic­ing stor­age or speed

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Six ways to back up your images when you are at home or abroad

G-Tech­nol­ogy G-Drive Mo­bile SSD R-Se­ries £140-425 / $170-740 www.g-tech­nol­ogy.com

Tech­nol­ogy: Solid-state drive Avail­able ca­pac­i­ties: 500GB-2TB

Di­men­sions: 94 x 50 x 14.5mm Image read/write speed: 307/298MBps (500GB) Video read/write speed: 410/353MBps (500GB) Best price per gi­ga­byte: 21p (1TB & 2TB mod­els)

1 De­spite nearly ty­ing with the Sam­sung SSD for top spot in the speed stakes, this drive also boasts the cheap­est price per gi­ga­byte here for an SSD, with the £215 1TB ver­sion of­fer­ing the most tempt­ing value.

It comes for­mat­ted for macOS and there­fore won’t show up in Win­dows, but the drive can be eas­ily re­for­mat­ted for a PC us­ing third-party soft­ware: we rec­om­mend the free MiniTool Par­ti­tion Wizard (www.par­ti­tion­wiz­ard.com).

G-Tech­nol­ogy’s case de­sign is thicker than the other SSDs on test, but this re­flects the drive’s IP67 wa­ter and dust re­sis­tance, three-me­tre drop re­sis­tance, and even a 1,000lb crush­proof rat­ing. Its USB 3.1 Gen 2 in­ter­face fronted by a USB-C con­nec­tor is bang up to date.

PROS Stun­ning speed; fair pric­ing; very com­pact; built to last

CONS Still in­evitably much pricier per gi­ga­byte than a hard disk drive

La­cie DJI Copi­lot £330 / $350 www.la­cie.com

Tech­nol­ogy: Hard disk drive Avail­able ca­pac­i­ties: 2TB Di­men­sions: 136 x 110 x 36mm Image read/write speed: 84/82MBps (2TB) Video read/write speed: 127/127MBps (2TB) Best price per gi­ga­byte: 16.1p

2 This hard disk-based drive also packs a full-size SD card slot, so at the touch of a but­ton you can back up your shots in the field with­out need­ing a lap­top. De­spite the DJI brand­ing, it’s a trick that works just as well with con­ven­tional cam­era stills as drone footage.

Down­load the Copi­lot Boss app, and files stored on the drive can be viewed on your smart de­vice via a ca­ble con­nec­tion, avoid­ing any wire­less pair­ing or buffer­ing headaches. The app is slick and works well, but the sin­gle-but­ton con­trol on the Copi­lot isn’t im­me­di­ately in­tu­itive. We were also un­der­whelmed by the rel­a­tively slow image trans­fer speeds, though video read/write rates are more re­spectable. Fi­nally, this is the bulki­est drive here, al­though it does con­tain a power bank.

PROS Ver­sa­tile drive with plenty of stor­age ca­pac­ity and a clever dis­play read­out

CONS Rel­a­tively slow; pricey when com­pared with the ri­val WD My Pass­port Wire­less Pro

Sam­sung Por­ta­ble SSD T5 £104-587 / $100-698 www.sam­sung.co.uk

Tech­nol­ogy: Solid-state drive Avail­able ca­pac­i­ties: 250GB-2TB

Di­men­sions: 74 x 57 x 10.5mm Image read/write speed: 308/298MBps (500GB) Video read/write speed: 415/365MBps (500GB) Best price per gi­ga­byte: 27.5p (1TB model)

3 Sam­sung’s con­tender sports a slick satin metal en­clo­sure, mak­ing it ar­guably the most stylish drive of the bunch, and it’s also one of the small­est and light­est at just 74mm long and 51g. Plump for the 250 or 500GB flavours and you’ll get a blue fin­ish, while the larger ca­pac­i­ties come in black. All drives get 2-me­tre shock pro­tec­tion and the lat­est USB 3.1 Gen 2 con­nec­tiv­ity. (It’s back­ward-com­pat­i­ble us­ing the in­cluded USB-C to USB-A ca­ble.)

Our 500GB re­view sam­ple led all our speed tests – al­beit by a slim mar­gin, mak­ing the 30-40% price pre­mium over an equiv­a­lent G-Drive SSD seem high. Sam­sung does at least in­clude a hard­ware data en­cryp­tion fea­ture that lets you pass­word-pro­tect your me­dia.

PROS Su­per-sleek and com­pact de­sign; blaz­ing fast; dis­creetly rugged

CONS Rel­a­tively ex­pen­sive, espe­cially for larger-ca­pac­ity drives

SanDisk Ex­treme Por­ta­ble SSD £100-600 / $100-630 www.sandisk.com

Tech­nol­ogy: Solid-state drive Avail­able ca­pac­i­ties: 250GB-2TB

Di­men­sions: 96 x 50 x 9mm Image read/write speed: 266/281MBps (2TB) Video read/write speed: 412/361MBps (2TB) Best price per gi­ga­byte: 29p (500GB model)

4 Here’s an­other ul­tra-com­pact SSD. It’s longer than the Sam­sung T5, but is even nar­rower and in­cred­i­bly thin. The mildly ruggedised plas­tic shell feels solid and is IP55 rated to re­sist wa­ter and dust. Like the Sam­sung drive, it’ll with­stand a 2-me­tre drop.

We ob­served slightly slow image read speeds – oddly, writ­ing photos to the drive was faster – but video per­for­mance is top-notch and a match for the fastest SSDs here.

Our only other com­plaint is pric­ing, which is even more than the faster Sam­sung drive for 1TB and 2TB ca­pac­i­ties; al­though at £150, the 500GB ver­sion slightly un­der­cuts the T5 and is a tempt­ing buy for its com­pact­ness. It’s also pre-for­mat­ted to work with both Win­dows and macOS out of the box.

PROS Very com­pact; su­per speedy video trans­fer speeds; PC and Mac for­mat­ting

CONS Pric­ing too high for larger ca­pac­i­ties; medi­ocre image read speed

Tran­scend ESD400 Por­ta­ble SSD £75-343 / $85-550 www.tran­scend-info.com

Tech­nol­ogy: Solid-state drive Avail­able ca­pac­i­ties: 128GB-1TB

Di­men­sions: 92 x 62 x 10.5mm Image read/write speed: 315/226MBps (256GB) Video read/write speed: 398/258MBps (256GB) Best price per gi­ga­byte: 33.5p (1TB model)

5 At £75, the 128GB ver­sion of the ESD400 is the cheap­est SSD here, but it’s also the low­est ca­pac­ity, so you’d bet­ter be se­lec­tive about what you store. Step up to a more prac­ti­cal size like the 512GB model and you’ll need to part with £246, mak­ing it more costly than a 1TB G-Drive. Sadly, per­for­mance doesn’t jus­tify the price pre­mium: while image and video read speeds are very good, write rates are much more mod­est.

This is also the bulki­est SSD on test and it doesn’t boast any ingress or shock pro­tec­tion rat­ings, al­though it’s still ex­tremely com­pact and weighs only 56g. We also like the con­ve­nient one-touch auto-backup but­ton, which makes it easy to syn­chro­nise back­ups in con­junc­tion with Tran­scend’s Elite soft­ware for Win­dows or macOS.

PROS Fast read speeds; 128GB op­tion; use­ful one-touch backup fea­ture

CONS Rel­a­tively slow write per­for­mance; way too pricey; no wa­ter/dust re­sis­tance

WD My Pass­port £50/$50-£95/$100 www.wdc.com

Tech­nol­ogy: Hard disk drive Avail­able ca­pac­i­ties: 1-4TB

Di­men­sions: 110 x 82 x 14mm (1-2TB); 110 x 82 x 22mm (3-4TB) Image read/write speed: 112/112MBps (2TB) Video read/write speed: 114/114MBps (2TB) Best price per gi­ga­byte: 2.3p (4TB model)

6 WD’s My Pass­port range of por­ta­ble hard drives has long been a pop­u­lar choice for well-priced and spa­cious mo­bile stor­age. This lat­est My Pass­port de­sign is unashamedly plas­tic but comes in black, white, red, blue, orange and yel­low colour op­tions. It’s about as light and com­pact as a con­ven­tional por­ta­ble hard drive gets, though the 3TB and 4TB ver­sions are over 50% thicker than the lower-ca­pac­ity mod­els.

File trans­fer speeds may not be blis­ter­ing, but con­sid­er­ing this is a me­chan­i­cal hard drive, it man­aged de­cent speeds across the board. How­ever, it’s value that’s the My Pass­port’s big­gest sell­ing point, with the 4TB ver­sion be­ing espe­cially en­tic­ing thanks to its un­beat­able price per gi­ga­byte. WD’s in­cluded backup soft­ware and en­cryp­tion soft­ware sweeten the deal even more.

PROS High ca­pac­ity for lit­tle money; fairly quick

CONS Not USB-C; no ex­te­rior shock pro­tec­tion

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