Back to School: Portable Hard Drives


These days, many classrooms have replaced traditional pen and paper with laptops. Assignments that used to be submitted on loose-leaf paper in barely legible handwriting are now prim and proper, without any spelling errors, thanks to spell check. Instead of binders and folders, we now use portable storage solutions to organize our files. It’s important that you have a copy of your files, whether it’s so you can work on them wherever you go, or if your friends need some help with a difficult assignment. That doesn’t mean these devices have to be used solely for work, though. You can still store and share your photos, videos, music, applications, and more, as with any storage device, so here are five for you to consider on your way back to school.

WD My Passport Wireless SSD

As its name implies, the WD Passport Wireless SSD (reviewed here) features wireless connectivity that allows you to connect to eight devices. When Wi-Fi is not in question, it still functions as a standard external drive. Just plug it in and it’ll work. The best parts of this drive are its built-in SD card reader with one-touch copy button, 10-hour battery that can charge other devices, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity with SSDs speeds for fast data transferring. It’s also Android and iOS compatible with the My Cloud mobile app.

WD 500GB My Passport Wireless SSD

WD Elements Desktop USB 3.0 Hard Drive

The Elements is categorized as a “desktop” drive and most likely not something you’d take around daily, but still a great option when considering its sheer storage size. At up 10TB, this external hard drive offers plenty of room for storing and sharing content. If you’ve ever wanted to have an “old school movie night” in your dorm room, this would be a great choice. It can also be a great temporary storage solution when you or your friends are having computer issues and need to offload data before a reformat. The only downside to this drive is that it’s not bus-powered, so you’ll need to carry its power supply with it.

WD 10TB Elements Desktop USB 3.0 External Hard Drive

G-Technology G-Drive ev RaW

Sometimes bulky devices are a good thing. Take the G-Technology G-Drive ev RaW, for example. It is surrounded by a rugged bumper to protect it from bumps and drops which, you know, might be a good thing for a portable drive in a school environment. For times when protection isn’t necessary, simply remove the outer bumper. Additionally, it has a USB 3.0 and SATA interface and comes in both HDD and SSD variants, so you can decide what’s best for you. It is preformatted for Mac, but can be reformatted to work with Windows. This drive’s USB connection relies on the micro-USB Type-B interface.

G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE ev RaW USB 3.1 Gen 1 SSD with Rugged Bumper

GNARBOX Portable Backup & Editing System

The GNARBOX is a Swiss Army Knife of a storage solution. Available in 128GB and 256GB capacities, the GNARBOX is designed mainly for photographers, but its features can be useful for plenty of others. On it, you’ll find USB 3.0 and 2.0 Type-A ports, as well as SD and microSD card readers for compatibility with a wide range of devices. If that isn’t enough, you can use the USB ports to connect additional adapters and card readers. Moreover, it’s designed to be used wirelessly (with up to four users) via a smartphone app that lets you view, edit, and share photos in real time. As a photographer’s choice, it’s also water-resistant, shockproof, and dustproof for outdoor shooting.

GNARBOX 128GB Portable Backup & Editing System

SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive

With a compact and handy keyring design, the iXpand Flash Drive features a USB Type-A connector and a Lightning connector for use with Lightning-equipped devices like iPhones and iPads. Thanks to its dual interfaces, you’ll be able to transfer files from your mobile device to a laptop or desktop quickly and easily, as well as offload files from your device to free up room for more important items.

SanDisk 128GB iXpand Flash Drive

SanDisk USB 3.0 / micro-USB Flash Drive

Like the iXpand Flash Drive, the USB 3.0 / micro-USB Flash Drive has a micro-USB connector, as well as a Type-A port. With it, you’ll be able to connect to your OTG-compatible device and start transferring files back and forth without any issues. It’s much more compact and the connectors slide in flush when not in use so there won’t be any odd protrusions that may break off. A small loop on the drive can be used to hook your keychain or a tether of choice so you won’t lose it.

SanDisk 128GB Ultra Dual m3.0 USB 3.0 / micro-USB Flash Drive

SanDisk Ultra USB Type-C Flash Drive

There’s not much to say about the Ultra USB Type-C Flash Drive other than it features the reversible USB Type-C connector, which is becoming more common nowadays. If you happen to be using a laptop that only has USB Type-C ports and want to ditch all the adapters, consider this flash drive for easy storage.

SanDisk 128GB Ultra USB Type-C Flash Drive

Samsung Portable SSD T5

The most recent version of the Samsung Portable SSD keeps its compact form factor and AES 256-bit encryption, but now features faster transfer speeds, USB 3.1 Gen 2 compatibility, and an aluminum case, which adds shock protection, as opposed to plastic on the T1. Also, instead of a USB Type-A port, the T5 uses the modern Type-C interface for compatibility with newer devices. It’s one of the few drives out there that supports up to 2TB of storage, so if you’re looking for a hefty yet portable SSD, this might be worth looking at.

Samsung 2TB T5 Portable Solid-State Drive

What features are you looking for in a portable hard drive? Let us know in the Comments section, below!


Great article.

Why do you feature the outdated Samsung T1, that has now been replaced by the updated and imporved samsung T3?

Because they aren't computer experts...

How much do these each cost?  Can't compare without this Basic Information which you somehow missed?

Hi Frank -

Please click on the green hyper-linked  text  or the product photos above to view the complete product information on the B&H website which also lists the price.