The Best Portable Hard Drives (2021 Reviews)

Rajat Hardy
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There’s never been a better time to upgrade to a device with a built-in or plug-in hard drive. Thanks to the tremendous drop in price for the terabytes of storage, hard drives have been increasing in popularity lately.

With a built-in hard drive, you can store so much more music, movies, pictures and videos. The best thing about the new hard drives is the much faster performance compared to the predecessors, which are now considered old technology.

This guide has reviews of the best portable hard drives (also called portable hard drives, HDDs, flash or thumb drives and USB drives).

The hard drives you see here are our favorites, and they are listed based on their storage capacity. These are great for anyone seeking extra hard drive capacity for data, music and video files.

NameCategoryProduct
WD Black 2TB P10 Game Drive Portable External Hard Drive CompatibleBest OverallWD Black 2TB P10 Game Drive Portable External Hard Drive Compatible
Silicon Power 1TB Black Rugged Portable External Hard Drive HDD Armor A60Budget PickSilicon Power 1TB Black Rugged Portable External Hard Drive HDD Armor A60
G-Technology 2TB G-DRIVE mobile SSD Durable Portable External StorageUpgrade PickG-Technology 2TB G-DRIVE mobile SSD Durable Portable External Storage

1. WD Black 2TB P10 Game Drive Portable External Hard Drive Compatible

Our rating: 9 / 10

WD Black 2TB P10 Game Drive Portable External Hard Drive Compatible

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Pros:

  • Anti-shock rubber bumper that provides added protection
  • Plug-and-play for ultra-compatibility
  • Complete backup solution to safeguard your files

WD Black 2TB P10 Game Drive Portable External Hard Drive Compatible with PS4 Xbox One PC and Mac – The new WD My Passport drives have a sleek, modern design that’s easy on the eyes. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes from 500GB to 4TB.

You can back up your entire hard drive on the WD My Passport SSD drive to make it safe. You can access valuable content by quickly saving, editing and sharing your files.

WD 2TB Black My Passport Pro Portable External Hard Drive – This is the one you’ve been waiting for. With the new My Passport Pro line of fast USB 3.0 drives is the first drive from WD that’s designed specifically for Windows PCs. If you’re thinking, “Why should I get a My Passport Pro drive over another brand?” Well, WD offers an additional two years of warranty when purchased directly from WD to go along with…

2. SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable External SSD

Our rating: 9 / 10

SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable External SSD

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Pros:

  • Great Speed
  • Top-notch encryption
  • Data Recovery Services

The SanDisk Extreme Portable External SSD is a solid choice if you need something that’ll last a few years to come. While the price might be a little steep, it’s worth the extra money for the included Data Rescue Services, a SanDisk service that helps you get your important data back if your drive gets broken or stolen.

For those who work with sensitive data, you also have the option to encrypt the drive, which I recommend. This means that those without the password can’t access your data.

This is a great choice for a portable drive, as it’s both fast and durable. Plus, it’s small enough to fit in your pocket.

3. SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD 1TB

Our rating: 9 / 10

SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD 1TB

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Pros:

  • Plug & Play
  • Compact

Not as fast as USB 3.1.

This portable SSD from Samsung is a decent choice if you’re looking for a fast, portable storage device. The Samsung T5 Portable SSD is a stylish and compact external solid state drive with a high-speed USB 3.1 Gen2 interface.

It offers a blazing-fast transfer speed of up to 540 MB/s with Samsung’s proprietary TurboWrite technology for faster file transfer performance. With this solid state drive, you’ll have fast access to your files on the go.

4. Seagate Portable 1TB External Hard Drive HDD

Our rating: 9 / 10

Seagate Portable 1TB External Hard Drive HDD

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Pros:

  • Available in black, red, and silver, this Seagate external hard drive is a budget-friendly option that caters to those who need to back up several devices at the same time
  • Since the portable hard drive comes with ample space, you don’t have to worry about having not much room for your important documents
  • The hard drive is compatible with both PC and Mac computers so you can share your files with anyone with a simple connect
  • It’s easy to use with plug-and-play capability. You don’t have to worry about any installation issues or even power issues since the PC is powered by a USB cord while the drive is fed by a wall unit
  • The cable is long enough to allow you to connect it to various devices with ease, but it’s not so long that it becomes tangled and a bothersome item
  • The Seagate portable hard drive is very sturdy, allowing you to place it in a rugged bag and take it wherever your travels take you
  • The hard drive has quite a bit of storage capacity, so you can store hundreds of photos, hours of video, or countless numbers of important files

5. Seagate STGD4000400 Game Drive 4TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD

Our rating: 9 / 10

Seagate STGD4000400 Game Drive 4TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD

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Pros:

  • Fast data transfer speed
  • Compatible with Xbox One
  • Compatible with PS4
  • Includes 2-year warranty
  • Lightweight

And Xbox One – USB 3.0

To sum it up, the Seagate Game Drive is far from being the greatest portable hard drive out there but it’s one of the faster ones and it’s extremely affordable per GB as well.

It’s really lightweight, weighing less than a pound, and is compact enough to easily throw in your suitcase. The 4TB model comes with a built-in USB 3.0 cable with a cord that’s a tad too short but… you can always replace it with a longer one. (That’s where most of the extra-long cables come in handy)

6. Silicon Power 1TB Black Rugged Portable External Hard Drive HDD Armor A60

Our rating: 9 / 10

Silicon Power 1TB Black Rugged Portable External Hard Drive HDD Armor A60

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Pros:

  • Corrosion-resistant aluminum casing
  • IPX4 splash-proof resistant (allows you to get it wet and even drop it in the water), crush-proof, and dust-proof
  • Heaviest product from the list. Check it on Amazon
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
  • IPX4 rated waterproof cable
  • 4 color options

Cons:

  • A little more expensive than some competitors
  • Small storage capacity
  • A bit heavier than some competitors

The Silicon Power 1TB Armor A60 Portable External Hard Drive was designed to be a good option for anyone who needs a strong, durable backup drive that you can take anywhere. Weighing an impressive 1.5 pounds, the A60 is your toughest, most reliable, and quickest way to share, transfer, and store large files.

This rugged drive is made of a virtually indestructible and slim aluminum chassis. The textured surface makes for a stronger grip but the Armor A60 is also designed to be drop-proof and can resist e-shock and vibrations.

You can easily and quickly transfer files via the super-fast USB 3.0 interface. Within a minute and a half, you can install any of your favorite programs, applications, or files to this drive and be ready to explore.

7. Seagate STHP5000400 Backup Plus 5TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD

Our rating: 9 / 10

Seagate STHP5000400 Backup Plus 5TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD

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Pros:

  • Great capacity
  • Great speed
  • Affordable

(STHP5000400)

A five-terabyte model of Seagate's Backup Plus Portable drive is a top pick among the best external drives in 2019. It comes with a one-year subscription to Mylio, a cloud-syncing app, and two months of Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography subscription.

This lightweight portable drive can store as much as 5TB of your critical files. This portable drive is powered by a USB 3.0 connection so it will work on a PC or a Mac. While the drive format itself is not Mac-friendly, Mac users can use the drive to copy Windows-formatted PC files.

8. Seagate Portable 5TB External Hard Drive HDD

Our rating: 9 / 10

Seagate Portable 5TB External Hard Drive HDD

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Pros:

  • Back up your computer while on the go and protect your data from an unfortunate crash.
  • Highly durable. Seagate is known for making world class hard drives. This portable hard drive is no different, being made out of a durable aluminum frame.
  • Much cheaper than other hard disk manufacturers.

The Seagate Portable 5TB External Hard Drive comes with two years of Seagate Rescue service, which can restore your data in the case of a disaster.

There is also a two-year limited hardware warranty, allowing you to get a replacement unit if the one you purchased gets damaged.

The Seagate Portable 5TB External Hard Drive also comes with an additional 1 year of Seagate’s exclusive Mobile Backup service.

9. WD 5TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive

Our rating: 9 / 10

WD 5TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive

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10. LaCie Rugged USB-C 5TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD

Our rating: 9 / 10

LaCie Rugged USB-C 5TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD

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Pros:

  • Aesthetically Pleasing
  • Functional
  • Stylish and Timeless
  • Awesome Customer Service Experience
  • Easy to Use
  • Affordable (Thus a Great Value)
  • Excellent Performance
  • Has an Interchangeable Interface (Small Hdmi Port, USB C Port, and Micro Usb Port)
  • Easy to Install
  • 2 Year Warranty

Cons:

  • No Mac Support
  • No Official Support Site
  • App Compatibility
  • Style Over Substance
  • Cannot Stand the Test of Time

11. Toshiba

Our rating: 9 / 10

Toshiba

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Pros:

  • USB 3.0
  • Great Price

Toshiba's HDTB410XK3AA Canvio Basics external hard drive is affordable, portable and has USB 3.0 connectivity…but that's about it.

If you're an average computer user and just need a basic terabyte hard drive to hold your files and maybe some movies, this is a great option. It's portable, reasonably priced, and it also looks good.

Toshiba backs the hard drive with a two-year warranty.

12. WD 4TB WD Gaming Drive works

Our rating: 9 / 10

WD 4TB WD Gaming Drive works

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13. WD 5TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive

Our rating: 9 / 10

WD 5TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive

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Pros:

  • Plug and play
  • Nice and sleek
  • External hard drive
  • Allows you to use your own password
  • Affordable
  • Can store a lot of data
  • Cute and compact

This hard drive is amazing. I love that I can stick this in my pocket in my purse and not even realize it's there. It's so small and compact but yet it stores so much data. I have tons of storage for all my pictures, music, and files. I loved that I didn't have to have a large bulky computer to plug this in and that I could just plug this in and I was off and ready to go. I love that I don't have to worry about whether it will work or not because of the portability it provides.

14. G-Technology 5TB ArmorATD All-Terrain Rugged Portable External Hard Drive

Our rating: 9 / 10

G-Technology 5TB ArmorATD All-Terrain Rugged Portable External Hard Drive

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Pros:

  • Rugged build quality
  • USB-C plus USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
  • Very fast data transfer rates
  • Sufficient battery power
  • Good internal specifications

Cons:

  • Awkward USB-C connector
  • Same-as-basic chassis

G-Technology leapfrogs Seagate as the leader in the portable hard drive market thanks to its newly released G-Tough range of external drives. It offers storage capacities ranging from 6 to 16TB, ideal for people who need to keep massive amounts of data with them on the road or at home.

One of the most interesting things about the G-Technology G-Tough range is how well rounded each drive in the series is. Features that make sense for the hotswap, high end, enterprise ranges invariably appear on the portable drive range too, and the G-Tough drives are no exception, coming with rubberized feet, a velvet padding under the brushed aluminum shell, and heavy duty plastic wheels on the casing.

We can’t forget to mention the fact that these are the only portable hard drives that feature a Thunderbolt 3 port. This is becoming more and more common on higher end storage drives, but seeing it on a drive in this capacity class is a very welcome surprise.

15. G-Technology 2TB G-DRIVE mobile SSD Durable Portable External Storage

Our rating: 9 / 10

G-Technology 2TB G-DRIVE mobile SSD Durable Portable External Storage

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Pros:

  • Comes with Thunderbolt 3 cable
  • Stylish design
  • Powerful drive
  • Fast transfer

The G-Technology G-Drive mobile SSD has all of the features of a regular external hard drive connected to your computer, but with so many interesting extras. This makes this product very interesting for people who have to move data quickly and often, and even more importantly, safely.

This external storage device offers you many unique features thanks to its high-quality case, powerful USB-C connection (although other options are available) and overall high performance capabilities. This product is ideal for business-related work as well as for personal use.

Thanks to this hard drive’s compact size, it allows you to take it with you anywhere you go.

16. LaCie Portable SSD High Performance External SSD USB-C USB 3.0 2TB STHK2000800

Our rating: 8 / 10

LaCie Portable SSD High Performance External SSD USB-C USB 3.0 2TB STHK2000800

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Data transfer speeds are the most important factor when you think about expanding your PC storage space. No one wants to wait forever when they save a file. So to take it a step further, this StoreJet unlocks a fast data transfer speed of 540Mbps. In addition, it’s transfer speed increases when paired with a USB 3.0, USB 3.1, or USB-C port.

You may think that it’s possible for any hard drive to transfer data at a fast speed, but you’d be surprised. This LaCie has an exclusive data protection feature, AES 256-bit, which safeguards your files whenever you transfer or back them up. There’s also an integrated password protection on the device for added security.

This portable hard drive also has an overall rugged design for durability. It has a shock-resistant rubber bumper around the edge to guard your data in case of drops. The heavy-duty waterproof, fire-proof case also guarantees a long-lasting life. It has an aluminum alloy shell and a shock-resistant rubber bumper around the side. It’s also got this sleek design that’s easily accessible and looks great on your desktop.

17. Maxone 1TB Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive HDD USB 3.0

Our rating: 8 / 10

Maxone 1TB Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive HDD USB 3.0

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Pros:

  • Cute design
  • Reasonably priced

My favorite external hard drives list doesn’t include the ordinary external hard drives.

Maxone’s Rose Pink portable hard drive is amazingly lightweight and easy to carry around. It’s also remarkably quiet. It’s hard to hear it clicking or whirring.

The package gets you the rose pink hard drive, a USB cable, and a quick-start guide. Inside the drive, you’ll find a plastic shell that you shouldn’t throw away. Apparently, this is the part that protects the drive from external influences. The shell is weighted and sturdy, so it should do the job well despite being made of plastic.

18. Crucial X8 1TB Portable SSD

Our rating: 8 / 10

Crucial X8 1TB Portable SSD

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Pros:

  • Extremely fast speeds
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Affordable
  • USB-C and USB-A support
  • Transfer from old hard drive to new drive
  • Can be used like a flash drive and plug into any computer

Cons:

  • No physical disk drive
  • Should not be dropped

The Crucial X8 is fast and affordable and has an aluminum enclosure that will stand up to daily use. It’s money well spent for a 1TB solid state drive from a trusted brand.

This SSD is pocket-sized, lightweight, portable, and rugged. It’s a perfect portable hard drive to take with you anywhere. Whether you’re working while traveling, taking a break at the coffee shop, or on a trip, your files will be secure.

It’s also so easy to use that you can plug it into any PC, copy your files, and be on your way. This SSD also works great with laptops. You can simply plug it in, load your data, and get back to your work without having to carry the entire hard drive.

19. KESU 2.5" 1TB Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive USB3.0 HDD Storage Compatible

Our rating: 8 / 10

KESU 2.5" 1TB Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive USB3.0 HDD Storage Compatible

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Pros:

  • Good quality hard drives
  • Very portable

20. Seagate

Our rating: 8 / 10

Seagate

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Pros:

  • Broad compatibility with all kinds of devices
  • Very portable

(STCM1000400)

The Seagate STCM1000400 Portable USB-C Hard Drive is the perfect storage solution for all your devices, and it’s very compact and lightweight, making it highly portable.

The USB-C cable is included in the package, thus you can start using the Seagate Fast SSD Drive right out of the box. The drive measures 4.2 by 3.3 by 1.0 inches and weighs a mere 6 ounces.

21. Seagate Game Drive

Our rating: 8 / 10

Seagate Game Drive

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This portable hard drive is great for Xbox users, but you can also use it for Mac. If you don’t have an SSD on your PC, this will give you a dramatic performance increase. Basically, if your computer starts up slowly and applications and files take forever to open, you can fix that by sticking this in your computer and it will run like new.

Depending on your computer’s configuration, you can expect this to increase the speed around 30%. If you want the best performance possible, you’ll want to replace your current startup hard disk drive with this external SSD.

The Seagate Game Drive for Xbox is also a great replacement if you’ve upgraded and now you need to replace your Xbox hard disk drive. The game bundle makes this highly attractive for users who want this for their gaming console.

22. WD 1TB My Passport SSD External Portable Drive

Our rating: 8 / 10

WD 1TB My Passport SSD External Portable Drive

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Pros:

  • Solid Perfomance
  • Does a great job on moving large files
  • Has a useful app, and it's easy to use with the software
  • The SSD card has a 1TB memory capacity, which is enough to store up to 7,500 songs in high-quality audio
  • The 256-bit AES file encryption is more than enough to keep your data safe and sound if it’s stolen or the drive is lost
  • The drive comes with software that allows you to encrypt and password-protect your password-protected files
  • It doesn’t make noise

It’s hard to make a list of the best portable hard drives without including WD. This manufacturer has been making a name in the storage industry for quite some time now by producing quality products that perform well and are reliable. WD is one of the top competitors of Seagate when it comes to external hard disks.

This is a great external hard drive for moving large files. I prefer using SSD storage to iPods and flash cubes because I can store as many files as I want. With a memory that can store up to 7,500 songs, I have no issue when it comes to moving files or storing a few movies.

23. Fantom Drives 8TB External Hard Drive

Our rating: 7 / 10

Fantom Drives 8TB External Hard Drive

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Pros:

  • Fast shipping
  • Nice customer service **USB A to B cable included
  • Very effective against moisture

Cons:

  • No AC adapter
  • Expensive
  • Not the most aesthetic design

If you’re looking for the best portable hard drive, it’s hard to go wrong with the Fantom Drives external hard drive. This model isn’t flashy but there’s a reason for that. The Fantom Drives 8TB (also available in 3TB and 4TB) has a rugged aluminum construction that’s designed to withstand moisture and other environmental factors that can damage your data. This might be the best hard drive if you’re working in places where it’s hard to avoid getting your gadgets wet.

Fanom Drives backs up your data with a 3-year warranty and free data recovery in case anything goes wrong. To add more security to the data on this hard drive, there are password protection and encryption features. This ensures that no one but you can access anything on the hard drive. Another thing to note is that Fanom drives only ships this hard drive to your address with a USB Type-A to USB Type-B cable included.

24. WD 1TB My Passport

Our rating: 6 / 10

WD 1TB My Passport

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Pros:

  • Portable
  • Does well since it’s 1tb

Cons:

  • Super difficult to set up
  • Can’t be formatted to exfat or fat 32

This portable hard drive comes in four colors: Black, Blue, Red and White. The Black color has been the type that’s pretty rare to be seen. It’s simple looking with a glossy, smooth plastic that looks great no matter if it’s in your bedroom on your desk at work or it’s in the bag.

It’s lightweight and can easily fit into any backpack or briefcase that you might bring with you no matter where you go. It’s well worth the asking price.

You could just plug this hard drive into one of your computer’s USB ports and you’re ready to go. You can either transfer the files that are on the computer that you want to save to the hard drive or you can transfer files from the hard drive onto the computer.

25. RAVPower Mini SSD Hard Drive 1TB Portable External SSD USB-C Solid State Drive

Our rating: 6 / 10

RAVPower Mini SSD Hard Drive 1TB Portable External SSD USB-C Solid State Drive

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Pros:

  • Decent capacity
  • Transfer speeds
  • Unique design
  • Very versatile

& Encryption, for MacBook, Samsung Galaxy Series & Other Computer Devices (RAVPower U1).

This is a very versatile drive that uses MQM for a high level of compatibility with both MacOS and Windows.

It also comes with a long 3-year warranty and a 24/7 support if ever there are any problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the most reliable portable hard drive?

When selecting a hard drive, the factors you need to consider are 1) capacity or storage size, 2) interface or connection type, 3) hard drive speed, 4) durability, and 5) cost per gigabyte.

The top hard drive manufacturers are— Seagate, Western Digital, and Toshiba. You can find hard drives in a variety of capacities and connection types. Modern hard drives can have capacities from 500 GigaBytes to 8 TB today.

For a MacBook, I’d recommend going for at least 1 TB of hard drive space. You can check out the top portable hard drive reviews here.

Which hard disk brand is best?

In recent years, hard disk manufacturers have been creating storage devices designed for the on-the-go consumer, and we are seeing a boom in the number of portable hard disks…but there are certainly hundreds of options to choose from.

The good news is that there are plenty of options to choose from, and there is sure to be one that will meet your requirements. With that said, it’s also important to consider the hard drives that have consistently performed well, like Lacie, Samsung, and WD.

As a good rule of thumb, the more you pay, the more reliable the hard drive is. It’s definitely worth spending a bit more for extra peace of mind.

What is the best type of external hard drive?

The first thing to keep in mind is whether you need a hard drive for bulk data storage or for backups. If you need a lot of space, a desktop external hard drive is a better option. They are more affordable than portable hard drives as well.

Portable hard drives are more durable and more reliable than the more cheap desktop external hard drives. They can survive a fall from a few feet, get submerged in a few feet of water, and generally any realistic external force. Because they are portable they are also easier to bring with you wherever you go.

Portable hard drives can range from 500GB all the way up to 4TB of storage space. They also come from all sorts of brands like Western Digital, Toshiba, Buffalo, Seagate, and many more. The price varies along with more storage space on the drives.

Are desktop external hard drives more reliable than portable?

A portable hard drive is an external storage device that can save lots of information. These are great for storing films, photographs, and work files.

A desktop external hard drive, as the name suggests, is used on a desktop. They are bigger and more reliable when compared to portable hard drives. These are great for storing important work, films and other documents.

Which one to choose? Well, it all depends on the usage and the kind of data you will be storing.

What Is An External Hard Drive & Do You Need One?

Hard drives are electronic devices that can store large amounts of digital information in the form of files. These files can include important documents and movies that cannot be deleted due to reasons like work or research.

Hard drives come in different storage capacities and several brands manufacture them. Some customers may feel overwhelmed with the wide choice in selecting the best external hard drive for them.

Conclusion

HDD stands for “hard disk drive”; it is a storage mechanism, containing one or more hard disks. An HDD usually has a mechanical counter to keep track of how many times (and in what direction) the head flies. It’s useful when the drive is used for file storage and backup. When the drive is used for data storage, it needs to have a mechanical mechanism to synchronize the rotation direction. This ensures the data is written and retrieved in an accurate manner.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
WD Black 2TB P10 Game Drive Portable External Hard Drive CompatibleBest OverallWD Black 2TB P10 Game Drive Portable External Hard Drive Compatible
Silicon Power 1TB Black Rugged Portable External Hard Drive HDD Armor A60Budget PickSilicon Power 1TB Black Rugged Portable External Hard Drive HDD Armor A60
G-Technology 2TB G-DRIVE mobile SSD Durable Portable External StorageUpgrade PickG-Technology 2TB G-DRIVE mobile SSD Durable Portable External Storage