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7 mobile hard drives: More portable and more powerful

By Rick Broida
August 19, 2013 06:00 AM ET

Bottom line

While some of these portable hard drives are a bit better than others when it comes to design, performance, warranty and bundled software, there's really not a bad option in the group. Corsair, Seagate and Western Digital share the speed crown, while Corsair and Patriot get points for severing the USB cord altogether -- though Patriot's model wins the day by being more compact and less expensive.

How important is speed, anyway? For some users, it won't be at all important, as any of these units will blow your existing USB 2.0 drives out of the water. That said, if you want really fast file transfers, look to the drives from Corsair, Seagate and Western Digital.

You should also consider each drive's warranty. While the average is two years, some models are covered for only one year, while a few raise the stakes to three. Obviously there's no way to predict when a drive might fail on you, but a longer warranty does suggest greater durability.

Whatever drive you pick, you're likely to enjoy high-speed file transfers and a barely noticeable bulge in your carry-on -- the real joys of portable storage.

7 mobile HDs: Specs & test scores

Capacity (as tested) Price Size/Weight Warranty Read/write scores*
Buffalo Technology MiniStation Slim 500GB $89.99 3.1 x 0.3 x 4.5 in. / 4.9 oz. 2 yr. 62,645 / 61,147
Corsair Voyager Air 1TB $199.99 - $249.00 9.6 x 2.0 x 6.8 in. / 16 oz. 3 yr. 112,551 / 113,503
Patriot Memory Aero 1TB $166.00 - $220.00 3.9 x 1.0 x 5.5 in. / 11.2 oz. 2 yr. 110,923 / 109,120
Seagate Slim 500GB $79.99 3.0 x 0.4 x 4.5 in. / 5.3 oz. 2 yr. 113,263 / 115,954
Silicon Power Diamond D20 500GB $51.68 3.1 x 0.4 x 4.9 in. / 4.8 oz. 3 yr. 59,126 / 53,155
Toshiba Canvio Connect 750GB $76.99 3.1 x 0.8 x 4.3 in. / 5.8 oz. 2 yr. 59,191 / 51,033
Western Digital My Passport Ultra 1TB $99.99 3.2 x 0.6 x 4.3 in. / 5.4 oz. 3 yr. 119,837 / 119,304
*Tested using the ATTO Disk Benchmark tool with an 8MB file. Higher numbers are better.

This article, 7 mobile hard drives: More portable and more powerful, was originally published at

Rick Broida has written about technology for nearly 25 years. He pens the popular Cheapskate blog and writes for Computerworld, PC World, Popular Science and Wired.

Read more about Storage Hardware in Computerworld's Storage Hardware Topic Center.

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