There’s this common saying that it’s better to be safe than sorry, and no truer line can be applied to our lifestyle in this computer and data age. We live in a world where almost all that we do, both for work and pleasure, is captured and transformed into data. Our favorite songs, videos and photos are all data. That project you’ve been working on for the past six months? Data. Therefore, it goes without saying that you need to have all that’s important to you backed up so you can put your feet up and relax, knowing that your data world is secure, safe and easily accessible.
Having your desktop or notebook computer
crash is akin to having the rug pulled right out from underneath you, and it’s not a feeling you’ll want to experience, especially if you do not have a backup for your files. Or, even imagine your expensive and seemingly safe Digital SLR camera
malfunctioning and leading to an irreversible loss of all those captured moments of life, both in video and picture formats. The heartbreak can be quite devastating and, even if you can afford to pay a retrieval company to help get back your lost data, there’s no guarantee that you will get back all that you lost.
It, therefore, becomes imperative for anyone who generates data (obviously, everyone) to have a backup storage facility, and there’s no better option than a portable hard drive. This is similar to the internal hard drive of the computer, but in a portable design and often with a bigger storage capacity. It can either come in SSD or HDD format, with different connectivity options. Most of them are bus-powered, so you have one less cable to pack, and some of them are Wi-Fi compatible so you may not even have any need for a cable.
Portable hard drives offer safer and more reliable storage than the stick or USB drive
which, although smaller, tends to fail or crash easily and has a much more limited storage capacity. One thing is certain, you absolutely need a portable hard drive to back up your digital files and data to save you from future stress and avoidable expenses.
Having established the need for a portable hard drive, let’s now look at some of the factors that one needs to think about before purchasing. The amount of data you generate should be the determining factor in choosing the size or capacity of the portable hard drive. Other important considerations are the connectivity speed, drive speed, networkability and, of course, the price.
With a portable hard drive, you simply get what you pay for. Most portable hard drives on the market are designed with different features that greatly impact their prices. Take, for instance, a portable hard drive with touchscreen, Wi-Fi and other technological perks – it’s sure to cost a lot more than your average plug-and-save, no-frills hard drive. So, depending on your needs and style, you’ll have to choose a portable hard drive that best suits you and also agrees with your budget.
Most portable hard drives are within the price range of $58.00 to $130.00, while some with more technologically advanced options can cost as much as $770.00. To ensure that you get the best portable hard drive that you can afford, we featured quality products that run the gamut of the above-mentioned price range. So, there’s absolutely no excuse for you to look at some of the cheap portable hard drives that we came across while researching – they are likely not reliable enough and may end up wiping out your data, thereby taking you back to where you started.
Securing our digital data and reliably backing them up should be top priority in this data age, and to get the best portable hard drive, some factors need to be taken into serious consideration. These factors are:
- Connectivity and Speed
- Drive Speed
Construction and Design
Portable hard drives are built with different storage capacities, but they generally have more storage room than internal storage on desktops and laptops. If you’re the type that churns out media files that are large and space consuming, like high-resolution images and videos, then you’ll be needing a correspondingly large-capacity portable hard drive in the terabyte range. This is to ensure that data storage and retrieval is done easily without any hiccups, and also so you can have more files stored in one unit rather than having to split them up into many portable hard drives, thus making it cumbersome to deal with. And if your data are more in Word and Spreadsheet templates, then a 320GB storage unit or thereabout should suffice.
For most portable hard drives, you don’t need a separate power cable, as they are bus-powered, which means they get their power from the connected device. For such hard drives, all you need to check is the type of connectivity and connector it came with, which also determines the transfer speed between your media source and the hard drive. The USB 2.0 connectivity is quite universal and is the default connectivity option for most portable hard drives. It cuts across almost all types of computers, tablets, cameras, mobile devices and other types of media sources. Other types of connectivity include the latest USB 3.0 and 3.1, and thunderbolt and FireWire for Mac.
There’s another type of connector – the eSATA – meant for transferring dense files, and it requires you to plug the portable hard drive into the external power output. So, before you invest in that portable hard drive, be sure that the connector is compatible with what’s on your device.
Performance and Ease of Use
Apart from high-tech portable hard drives that incorporate full-function touchscreen and other perks, the average portable hard drive is just that: an external hard drive that helps you store and back up your files. Most of them don’t require any form of setup or formatting before use, and are basically plug-and-store.
And to make sure your data are safe, most brands make their portable hard drives rugged and bump/drop resistant by encasing them in a rubberized cushion. This is especially useful for travelers and people who work outdoors or in harsh terrain, where your hard drive is more likely to be dropped or bumped while on duty or in transit.
For small business owners or people with several computers in the house, buying a simple portable hard drive may be grossly inadequate. Such people will require a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device that has the capacity to auto-back up multiple computers and allows the connected computers access to same files. Although they are more expensive than your usual portable hard drive, they have large capacities that are quite invaluable if you run a multi-computer operation.
Another important but often-overlooked consideration when shopping for a portable hard drive is the drive speed. Portable hard drives are mechanical devices that work based on the movement of mechanical parts. The spinning speed of a hard drive is measured in rpm and, the higher it is, the faster the hard drive works. Conversely, the high revolution speed also means higher energy use and more heat production.
Almost all portable hard drives operate at 5400rpm, while some have less value as opposed to the 7200rpm of desktop hard drives. This reduced speed is so that the battery of the connector or host device can be conserved.
The amount of data generated and your storage needs are some of the important factors that affect the type of portable hard drive you should choose. The buying guide you’ve just read will equip you with relevant information that will make your search for the right portable hard drive a breeze. Having garnered this information, it’s time to head to our individual product review section so you can take a look at the portable hard drives we have lined up for you. We reckon you’ll find one that suits your needs just fine.
Having selected the ideal portable hard drive for your data security, go ahead and place the order right away and get on with the business of securing your data and peace for your mind.