The volume of personal data is constantly increasing, driving the need for higher capacity portable storage. Higher capacity drives are now available in 2.5-inch form and are convenient to tag around. The capacity of portable storage drives has evolved greatly and with the advent of the super-speed USB 3.0 interface, they are faster and roomier than ever. These hard drives are as fast as internal hard drives, which means you can now transfer your data to and from USB storage at blazing speeds. Some manufacturers have been pushing the envelope to secure and protect data in portable drives, as they are quite prone to vibrations and impact. In order to make them sturdier and less prone to physical damage, manufacturers are designing their drives with rugged shells and are even water-proofing and fire-proofing some of them. To an extent, some enable encryption and password protection using biometrics to incorporate an additional layer of security to sensitive data. This added reinforcement ensures that your data is not only safe, but can also be safely lugged around any terrain across the globe.

This incredibly slim drive feels like a slab of metal!

This incredibly slim drive feels like a slab of metal!

Portable storage drives are presently the only way to securely store large amounts of personal data without having to fret about slow transfer speeds. We tested nine portable drives this month, including standard USB 2.0 and high-speed USB 3.0 drives, besides ones with rugged builds. Let’s check out which of these boast of speedy data transfers, which ones are pocket friendly and which are large enough to store all your data.

Table of scores - click to enlarge

Table of scores – click to enlarge

Best Performer: Seagate Backup Plus, 1TB

The Seagate Backup Plus 1TB hard drive stole the Best Performance title from the Transcend StoreJet 25M3 1TB by just a single point. The drive performs just a few megabytes faster than the Transcend StoreJet. The drive looks good and is encased in a scratch-resistant plastic shell with a brush-finished surface that will keep it safe from damage and scratches. The drive has a detachable USB 3.0 connector, which separates the interface from the main internal hard drive. The Backup Plus can be used on a desktop dock compatible with Seagate drives.

A stellar performer with plenty of storage space

A stellar performer with plenty of storage space

The interface is upgradeable with optional adapters that are sold separately. Mac users can opt for a FireWire 800 adapter or a Thunderbolt adapter for even higher speeds. The drive does not feature a physical backup button, but does bundle along a backup and encryption suite. The software included with the drive, the Seagate Dashboard Agent, is pretty powerful and very easy to use; it is available for Windows and Mac users.

If you are looking for blazing fast speeds for data transfer rates with an interchangeable interface between USB 3.0 for Windows and FireWire or Thunderbolt for Mac, the Seagate Backup Plus is a good option. But if you want better features, a rugged shell and a lower priced drive with the same capacity, the StoreJet 25M3 is a better deal. You would sacrifice the interchangeable adapters and a bit of performance, but you will gain much more in terms of a physical backup button, a shock-proof and slip-resistant body, and definitely a good price.

Best Value: Transcend StoreJet 25M3, 1TB

Transcend is a well-known manufacturer when it comes to storage options such as memory cards, pen drives and external storage drives. The StoreJet series is built using anti-slip, anti-shock and durable rubber outer cases to prevent damage to the fragile hard drive from shocks, vibrations and falls.

A perfect blend of performance, capacity and security

A perfect blend of performance, capacity and security

The StoreJet 25M3 is the latest in its product range and sports a USB 3.0 interface for blazing data transfer speeds. It can match the internal drive speeds to quite an extent. This means you can transfer your data from a USB 3.0-compatible PC or laptop at speeds exceeding 100MB per second. Shipped along with the drive is a USB 3.0 Y-cable for additional power, which is beneficial for older PCs that find it difficult to power hard drives using a single bus cable. The 25M3 series features capacity variants such as 500GB, 640GB, 750GB and 1TB—all of them perform equally well.

The drives feature the StoreJet Elite backup and security suite, which can help you maintain backups of your important data. The drive is also equipped with a one-touch backup button. You can back up or synchronise your data by simply plugging in the hard drive, depressing the button and using it with the backup suite. You would have to install the utility on the PC and initially set up the files and folders to be backed up before you use the button, though. The feature-set it offers, the capacity it holds, the performance it delivers and the price it sells for is what helped the 25M3 bag the Best Value Award in this round-up. The product packs a 3-year warranty period and the 1TB version is available for Rs 6,000.

Consider one of these drives If high capacity and portability are of concern to you. Note that these drives are also available in other capacity variants.

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