Top Pick for
Budget portable SSD
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Our editorial team selected the products in this list based on our own reviews, customer reviews and professional reviews weighted against each other. This accumulated data was used to determine our overall winners for each different category or type of wireless keyboard. For each category, we carefully selected parameters based on our research and identified the products with the highest review score within those parameters.
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With a look and feel that allows it to double for either business or pleasure, the Seagate Fast SSD offers good dollar-per-gigabyte value regardless of the drive size. It's flexible, too, with both USB-C and USB-A support, and while there are faster drives out there, the read and write speeds are still very solid. At only 9mm thick, its sleek design certainly deserves the claim of being portable, too.
What's frustrating about this portable SSD are the super short cables. It's also worth noting that some consumers have complained about receiving only one of the two promised cables with their package as well.
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The new PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles from Sony and Microsoft respectively come with small internal hard drives. It means many gamers will need to upgrade their space with an external SSD. The Samsung T5 SSD delivers the incredible speeds you need for gaming, but it retains a small profile and comes in multiple colours. This is great given it will likely be on public display sitting under your TV.
If you're looking for the larger capacity Samsung T5, know that this drive can get relatively expensive. And it's a bit annoying that the cool colours are restricted on some of the capacities – you may not get the look you want. But the surprising ability of this drive to handle a two-metre drop also helps allow the Samsung T5 to survive an active space like a lounge room.
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If you've got a decent budget to play with and want the fastest possible transfer speeds, then we recommend the Samsung X5 Portable SSD. By combining NVMe technology with a Thunderbolt 3 port, this external SSD provides near internal SSD performance. We're talking up to 40GB/s transfers and read-write speeds at 2,800MB/s and 2,300MB/s respectively. Premium extras come in the form of temperature protection, shock resistance up to two metres and encrypted password protection.
As you might have guessed, all this comes at a cost, especially when you're looking at the top capacities. Plus, that power and cooling make for a heavy and bulky drive. You obviously also need a Thunderbolt 3 port to make the most of what it offers.
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If you're looking to enjoy the speed of a portable SSD but don't have a big budget, the Adata SD700 External SSD can be picked up for less than $100 at the 256GB capacity. It's built for movement, can be submerged in water and has a rubber bumper, so it can handle significant shock.
However, you won't be getting a USB-C speed boost, and while it's quite small, its square shape may make it a little more awkward for you to carry than the classic rectangle shape. It's worth noting that the built-in back-up software is dated, too, and you'll want to explore third-party back-up software.
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By combining M.2 NVMe tech with a Thunderbolt 3 interface, this portable SSD solution delivers speed to meet its price. On top of that, it's also the most robustly built SSD on the market, encased in a rubber bumper for military-grade protection. Despite being a premium SSD, the price is quite reasonable, and it's great you get to opt for the rare capacity of 4TB.
As you may have guessed, all this protection and power make this likely the biggest portable SSD on the market. Indeed, many will wonder if the word "portable" is being too generous. Many consumers also complain about the fixed cable, which is just 15cm in length. Since you can't replace it with a longer cable, you're stuck with it being quite close to your computer.
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If securing your data is an important part of your portable SSD purchasing decision, then the Samsung T7 SSD needs to be in the conversation. Not only does it deliver password protection in the form of AES 256-bit encryption, but it also provides fingerprint security. The LED square that offers the latter also doubles to give you feedback on the drive's activity, and the lengthy 18" USB-A and USB-C cables are a welcome change.
Considering this is a drive that focuses on securing content, it's a shame the design doesn't deliver any weatherproofing or shock resistance. Although depending on how you plan to use the drive, that might not be a big issue. The extra security features do increase the price slightly, too.
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If you're a content creator constantly needing to dump photos and video off a device and onto a reliable storage solution, then you have some particular needs. Getting an SSD is a given due to its speed when you're dealing with bigger media files, but there is more than just that on offer with the WD My Passport Wireless SSD.
The big win of this SSD is the ability to insert the SD card from your video cam or camera directly into the portable SSD. You can also transfer over Wi-Fi or even stream files on the SSD to your mobile so you can run through the content you already have – even if it's in 4k! It has a built-in 10-hour battery, too, which allows that functionally to work when you're in the field.
While it does offer great transfer speeds, these won't be maximised when you are using the device over Wi-Fi. And it's a shame that it only offers a USB 3.0 connection. When you compare it to other SSDs, it's a bit on the bulky and heavy side, which – to be fair – is somewhat thanks to the bumper that surrounds it, giving it some shock protection.
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There are three key features that make the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD standout for travellers. It's extremely durable, with an IP55 weather rating that ensures your data will stay safe regardless of where your adventure takes you. Even if something does go wrong – the USB port is exposed, bizarrely – its lengthy five-year warranty means you can travel with confidence for many years after purchase. Plus, it has an excellent write speed that maintains a consistent pace even if you're moving 100s of gigabytes at a time.
The unique design is a bit hit and miss, depending on your tastes. That hole in the corner is for attaching a carabiner; another nod to the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable's travel-friendly approach. Indeed, it is impressive that this SSD still fits in your pocket despite all its weatherproof features. It's worth noting this SSD does get expensive at the higher capacities. And bizarrely, there's no power indicator light, which can leave you wondering on occasion if it's connected properly.
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If you want an SSD that is ultra-portable while still retaining a solid 960GB of storage space, the Transcend ESD250C is a nifty option. It's very thin at 120.16mm x 33.6mm x 7.5mm, but still feels sturdy in your hand. You can easily fit it in your pocket, barely noticeable at 47g. There are no problems with its pace either – it delivers a very solid performance.
You don't get much in the way of weatherproofing or shock resistance as a result of its form factor. And because everything is so crammed in against the casing, it does tend to heat up when under consistent use. That can be a little uncomfortable if you want to place it straight into your pocket.
You may be wondering what the difference is between the two sides of the SSD coin: portable vs desktop. Desktop SSDs are bulkier and use AC power. They tend to be cheaper as a result and offer bigger capacities. Desktop SSDs are generally used when the storage will stay in a fixed location with plenty of space; literally on your desk's top next to your PC or laptop.
Portable SSDs are smaller and are powered through the USB connection. They tend to be a bit more durable, but are also more expensive and don't generally come in large to extra-large capacities. Choose a portable SSD if you intend to move it around a lot or if you don't have much space in the area you intend to use it. For example, next to a PS5 or Xbox Series X console in your lounge room.
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