Best External Portable SSD


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Hard drives remain the optimal solution for creating data archives, but if we talk about expanding

storage and transfer of content between devices,portable solid state drives or SSDs are better suited for these purposes. They do the same job many times faster, and the absence of moving elements makes them more resistant to damage. But which of the dozens of external SSD options should you choose? We have selected for you five popular models with the best combination of price and features. Plus, you'll learn what to look out for before buying.

Top external SSDs:

  • Samsung T7 Touch
  • Samsung T5
  • ADATA SC685
  • SanDisk Portable Extreme E60
  • WD My Passport SSD
  • Transcend JetDrive 855

Samsung T7 Touch

Fast, thin, secure

The Samsung T7 Touch combines compactness,performance and practicality. The transition to NVMe gave a decent increase in speed characteristics, and the built-in fingerprint scanner will eliminate the need to enter a password to access data protected from extraneous data. And for those who are not going to change their habits, there is a version of Samsung T7 without a fingerprint.

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Samsung T7


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Samsung T5

High-speed portable SSD at the right price

Samsung T5 provides, if not the highest,but stable speed when writing large amounts of information. It can be used with PCs, Macs, mobile devices and even some professional camcorders. The metal case protects the drive from drops from a height of up to two meters.

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ADATA SC685

Available terabyte

ADATA SC685 is a pretty nimble portable SSDwithout overpaying for unnecessary features. It is suitable not only as a backup storage, the performance is sufficient for running games and for mounting videos. Solid good.

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SanDisk Portable Extreme E60

Convenient and unpretentious

The SanDisk drive is rain resistant and canwork in extreme temperatures. Thanks to the rubberized ends and back panel, the drive will not slip out of your hands, and there is also a convenient lanyard attachment. If you often have to work outside of a cozy office, the Portable Extreme E60 will be a great help.

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WD My Passport SSD (2020)

Stylish and reliable SSD for every need

The new version of WD My Passport is released immediately infour colors. Hidden behind a beautiful outer shell is a fast NVMe SSD with good write resources, and Western Digital's five-year warranty only adds to the confidence in the product. You can only find fault with the noticeable heating of the top cover during active work.

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Transcend JetDrive 855

Best SSD for Mac

The Transcend JetDrive 855 is a secret device.Its internal SSD is compatible with Apple computers, and with the included screwdrivers, users can easily expand their Mac's storage. It's also a decent portable drive with a fast Thunderbolt interface.

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Top pick: Samsung T7 Touch


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  • Read / write speed: up to 1050/1000 MB / s
  • Capacity: 500GB to 2TB
  • Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2

Samsung T7 Touch is compact enough toalways at hand. It also has excellent speed characteristics - up to 1050 MB / s when reading data and up to 1000 MB / s when writing. The main feature of the model is the built-in fingerprint scanner. This allows, on the one hand, to protect information using AES hardware encryption, and on the other hand, to unblock access to data with a simple touch, without entering passwords or installing additional programs. The initial setup is performed in the proprietary Samsung Portable SSD utility; in total, four fingerprints can be memorized. The biometric sensor frame acts as a status indicator.

Samsung T7 Touch with NVMe interface uses96-layer TLC 3D V-NAND memory, and the maximum speed is achieved through SLC caching technology. In the terabyte version, the SLC buffer is about 42 GB, after filling it, the write speed drops to about 350 MB / s. If you often have to work with large files, this point is worth considering. The kit comes with two cables at once for connecting to devices with a full-size USB connector or with USB Type-C. The rugged metal case is drop-resistant up to two meters and helps dissipate heat under load.

Do you think a fingerprint scanner is superfluous?Perhaps you should pay attention to the modification of the Samsung T7 without biometrics function. It shows the same speeds and is identical in size, but costs a little less.

3 reasons to buy:
1 reason not to buy:

  • great performance
  • Fingerprint's scanner
  • Slim, drop-resistant design
  • speed drops when the buffer is full

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Samsung T7

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Alternative: Samsung T5


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  • Read / write speed: up to 540/500 MB / s
  • Capacity: 500GB to 2TB
  • Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2

Samsung T7 Touch gets a significant boostperformance compared to the Samsung T5, but the predecessor also has something to show. Despite the initially lower sequential write speed of 500 MB / s, it stays consistently at this level across the entire memory array. 256-bit AES encryption is also implemented. By the way, after setting up password protection, you can access data both in Windows and macOS, as well as on Android devices (this requires the Samsung Portable SSD mobile application from Google Play). Without encryption, T5 can be used with iPad Pro too.

Portable SSD weighs only 51 grams and fitson the palm. The SSD is equipped with a USB Type-C port, two cables were put in the box: Type-A - Type-C and Type-C - Type-C, both 50 cm long.The brushed aluminum case can withstand drops from a height of up to 2 meters. The 500GB model comes in blue, the 1/2 TB options are only available in black.

Read also: Samsung T5 external SSD review

3 reasons to buy:
1 reason not to buy:

  • consistently high speed
  • robust metal case
  • hardware encryption
  • you need a better performance SSD

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Inexpensive external SSD: ADATA SC685


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  • Read / write speed: up to 530/460 MB / s
  • Capacity: 256GB to 2TB
  • Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2

It is one of the most affordable portableSSD disks based on the cost of one gigabyte. The ADATA SC685 performs well in the benchmarks, close to the stated 530 MB / s for reading and 460 MB / s for writing, although it is inferior to more expensive models in random access operations. A solid-state drive will in any case be several times faster than a hard drive, the bandwidth is also enough to work with the next generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S consoles (you can store your library on an external device so that every time you do not waste time downloading games through the Internet).

ADATA SC685 is slightly larger than Samsung T5 and weighsonly 35 grams. The case is completely plastic, with an LED indicator near the USB Type-C port. Not a bad option for those who are not chasing top-end performance.

2 reasons to buy:
2 reasons not to buy:

  • good price per gigabyte
  • compact and lightweight
  • cheap-looking plastic case
  • no hardware encryption

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Travel option: SanDisk Portable Extreme E60


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  • Read / write speed: up to 550/500 MB / s
  • Capacity: 256GB to 2TB
  • Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2

The SanDisk Portable Extreme E60 is good for working infield conditions. Thanks to IP55 protection, it is not afraid of dust, rain or accidental spills. Durable rubberized body is resistant to shocks and drops from a height of 2 meters. The drive can tolerate extreme temperatures ranging from -20 ° C to 70 ° C. The loop with an orange insert can be used as a strap or carabiner attachment (an SSD keychain is unlikely to work - it's too big). The model is suitable for both data backup and 4K video processing. When connected to a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port, data transfer speeds can be up to 550MB / s. Supports 128-bit AES encryption using proprietary SecureAccess software.

The dimensions of the SanDisk Extreme Portable E60 are96.5 × 50.8 × 7.6 mm, weight - 79 g. The device is grippy, does not slip in the hand, but the surface of the case collects small debris and dust. The manufacturer added a full-size USB adapter to the short cable with USB Type-C at both ends.

3 reasons to buy:
2 reasons not to buy:

  • protection against dust and moisture IP55
  • practical fun design
  • increased impact resistance
  • software encryption only
  • the rubberized body gets dirty

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Most Reliable: WD My Passport SSD (2020)


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  • Read / write speed: up to 1050/1000 MB / s
  • Capacity: 500GB to 2TB
  • Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2

In the 2020 WD My Passport series the manufacturer isabandoned angular forms. The body has become streamlined, and textured "waves" on the top metal cover provide a more confident grip. Inside, a WD Blue SN550E NVMe SSD is used. Apparently, we are talking about a modification of the M.2-drive SN550, which has a high recording resource (600 TB for a model with a capacity of 1 TB). The maximum data read speed is 1050 MB / s, and the write speed is 1000 MB / s (in the terabyte version, it drops to 710 MB / s after the first 12 GB due to the SLC cache filling).

SSD drives support hardware encryptionAES-256 algorithm, and although there is no fingerprint scanner like the Samsung T7 Touch, WD Security utility allows you to enable automatic unlocking on the user's main computer. While most external SSDs come with a three-year warranty, the WD My Passport has been extended to 5 years. And without any restrictions on recording. The kit consists of a 15 cm USB Type-C cable and a USB Type-A adapter.

4 reasons to buy:
2 reasons not to buy:

  • attractive design
  • fall protection
  • AES 256 hardware encryption
  • 5 years warranty
  • heats up under load
  • small amount of SLC-cache

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Best SSD for Mac: Transcend JetDrive 855


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  • Read / write speed: up to 1600/1400 MB / s
  • Capacity: 240 GB to 980 GB
  • Interface: Thunderbolt

Transcend has come up with an interesting 2-in-1 solution:The JetDrive 855 is a fast Thunderbolt external drive, while the JetDrive 850's internal NVMe SSD is suitable for upgrading Mac storage. The scope of delivery includes the required screwdrivers. Using the previous version of the JetDrive 825 as an example, we showed how easy it is to upgrade the 2013 MacBook Pro. It works the same way with the new model, but first you should check the list of compatible Apple devices on the manufacturer's website. You shouldn't rush to get rid of the old SSD strip either - you can insert it into the vacated JetDrive case and use it in a new capacity.

Compared to predecessor TranscendThe JetDrive 855 employs not two, but four PCI Express lanes. As a result, read / write speeds increased by one and a half times to 1600/1400 MB / s. Since the drive is primarily aimed at Mac users, the company says nothing about compatibility with other platforms. However, it can work with Windows laptops equipped with a Thunderbolt port ("regular" USB Type-C will not work).

2 reasons to buy:
1 reason not to buy:

  • you need a fast portable SSD with Thunderbolt
  • you are planning to replace the SSD in your Mac
  • you exist outside the Apple ecosystem

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How to choose an external SSD

When purchasing a portable storage device, you musttake into account many factors: how important are the sizes, what volume will be optimal, is there any point in overpaying for a higher write speed, plus you need to remember about the features of the device to which the SSD will be connected. All about this in more detail - below.

Capacity

A high-quality SSD will last longer than the warrantyterm, so choose the largest storage you can afford. In 2021, 1 TB can be considered the best option. At the cost of one gigabyte, 2 GB solutions are not much more profitable at an initially higher price (from $ 250). 500 GB models, in turn, are inferior to terabytes:

Price increase per gigabyte relative to the 2 GB model of the same series

Capacity

256 GB

512 GB

1 TB

Samsung T7 Touch

-

+ 16%

+ 7%

Samsung T5

-

+ 13%

+ 8%

ADATA SC685

+ 35%

+ 8%

+ 2%

SanDisk Portable Extreme E60

+ 37%

+ 18%

+ 10%

WD My Passport SSD (2020)

-

+ 13%

+ 10%

Unlimited online photo storage graduallyare becoming a thing of the past, and 4K videos shot on a smartphone can quickly fill up all the free space. The more data you can fit on the backup disk, the better.

Speed ​​and connection type

A portable SSD is essentially an internalsolid state drive with an external case and a "bridge" to USB. The maximum speed also depends on which SSD is the basis for it. So, in more affordable devices, drives with a SATA interface are installed, the bandwidth of which is limited to 600 MB / s. If speeds of 800 MB / s and higher are declared, this indicates a more productive SSD with PCIe / NVMe support.

All rating drives are equipped with a USB Type-C connector, but the bandwidth may differ depending on the interface used. Most often, we are talking about one of three options:

  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 (old name USB 3.1 Gen 1), up to 5 Gbps;
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 (formerly USB 3.1 Gen 2) with a bandwidth of 10 Gbps;
  • Thunderbolt 3, up to 40 Gbps.

SSD will be able to unleash its full potential withconnection to a port of the same standard as specified in the specifications. And always with a suitable cable. For USB 3.2, in the worst case, the speed will simply be lower than declared, while drives with Thunderbolt work only with USB Type-C ports that support the "lightning-fast" interface.

Modern SSDs usually use multilayer3D TLC NAND memory. As we have already discussed, one TLC cell can store three bits of information, however, higher density leads to a decrease in write speed. SLC caching technology helps to solve this problem, when a small section of memory operates in one-bit mode. As the capacity of the SSD increases, so does the size of the SLC cache.

Endurance and strength

Unlike internal SSDs, for portabledrives have an estimated record resource, so their reliability can be judged only by indirect signs - from customer reviews to reviews with disassembly. For example, opening a Samsung T5 reveals a proprietary 850 EVO SSD of the third version.

The memory chips themselves don't take up that muchinterior space, so manufacturers can afford to experiment with design. So, South Korean engineers are focusing on compactness, and SanDisk is releasing a series of drives in a shock-resistant case. Most devices can easily tolerate falls from a height of several meters.

Data encryption

Some SSDs allow you to protect your data withencryption. In general, the drive is unlocked with a password, the only inconvenience is that it must be entered in the manufacturer's software (which will have to be installed on every new computer or smartphone). To make things easier for users, Samsung has added a fingerprint scanner to the T7 Touch. This unlocking method allows you to easily connect the drive to a TV or projector to display content.


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Answers to popular questions

What is an external SSD drive for?

The portable storage can be used forbacking up important information or offloading the main drive. Modern devices provide sufficient speed to process photos and edit content immediately on an external SSD. All models in our rating, from Samsung T7 Touch to WD My Passport SSD, are small and lightweight, so you can always carry them with you.

How is an SSD different from a regular hard drive?

A hard drive is a rotating devicemagnetic plates on which information is stored, and reading heads. Winchester spends time on head positioning, after which it still needs to wait for the desired disk sector to appear. All this is accompanied by hum and clicking sounds. If the files are composed of many fragments scattered throughout the drive, reading is even slower. The HDD (from Hard Disk Drive) has a higher risk of damage from shocks and falls due to the principle of its operation, although modern models are better protected from mechanical stress.
The SSD (Solid State Drive) design does notmoving parts, so read and write requests are processed much faster. Solid state drives are virtually silent, more compact and lighter than hard drives.

What's the most reliable external drive?

Any SSD from the top will not serve its ownerone year, but the WD My Passport SSD has a potentially longer lifespan. In addition, this model comes with a five-year warranty against three years from major competitors.

Can i create partitions on an SSD?

In this regard, there is no difference between SSD and HDD,internal storage and external. Logical partitions allow you to separate the operating system from the rest of the data, and in Windows and macOS they can be created using standard OS tools without downloading third-party programs.

Do I need to keep free space on the SSD?

This is not absolutely necessary, sinceeach SSD has a reserve stock of cells. But experts recommend leaving 10-15% of free space, since when the drive is full, its performance decreases.

What can be installed on an SSD?

External storage can be installedapplications, games, and even the operating system. Some programs store some of the data on the system drive, and therefore will not work when the SSD is connected to another device. This is where Portable versions can come to the rescue, which run without installation.
Solid State Drive helps you speed upLaunching games on previous generation consoles. With the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, things are a little more complicated: you can only play older games with an SSD. For new projects, only backup to external media is allowed (the function is not yet supported in PS5, but it is promised to be added in updates).

How long is information stored on an SSD?

Data on the drive can be stored for tens of years,but with a prolonged power outage, the memory cells begin to lose their charge. The relatively safe downtime for consumer models is from one year to several years. But why tempt fate? If the SSD has been on the shelf for six months, it is worth connecting it to a computer and reading the entire array (for example, creating a backup copy, and in Linux systems, it is enough to read the disk in / dev / null).
In any case, you shouldn't keep all the important information in one place. SSDs are imperfect and sometimes fail before the warranty expires.

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