Round-Up Peruses The Portable Hard Disk Market

Looking for a portable hard drive? Here's a pointer to a review roundup that can help you pick the right model for your small business.

Matthew McKenzie, Contributor

January 4, 2010

2 Min Read

Looking for a portable hard drive? Here's a pointer to a review roundup that can help you pick the right model for your small business.Last week, PC World reviewer Jon Jacobi set himself a gigabyte-sized task: making sense of the insanely crowded portable-drive market: Good things come in small packages--and when it comes to storage, the saying couldn't be more true. No matter what size your data set is, you can find a stylish, pocketable wonder of modern miniaturization to store it and transport it.

All portable storage units do basically the same thing, but these days they come in more flavors than you'll find at Baskin-Robbins. PCWorld Labs tested 22 models, from the credit-card-size Samsung 120GB S1 Mini to the latest capacious yet svelte 1TB Seagate FreeAgent Go and Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1TB drives. We tested dockable models, ruggedized units, and multiple-interface units that can connect to almost any PC. Many of them came with surprisingly capable customized software packages that pop up the minute you attach the drive.

As those capacities suggest, the review focuses strictly on high-capacity portable drives; look elsewhere if you're shopping for a USB dongle.

A summary of the top 10 finishers in the review is available here. The Iomega eGo 500GB takes the top spot, followed by models from Western Digital, WiebeTech, Verbatim, and Seagate, among others. A complete review summary of all 22 models tested is also available.

Perhaps the best news here is the fact that so many different vendors offer solid choices. While price is always an issue, there is also plenty of room to compete on features such as durability and the availability of multi-interface support (including eSATA). And while I personally don't take bundled software very seriously when I make a hardware choice, the review has very kind things to say about some of the vendors' software packages.

Don't Miss: NEW! Storage How-To Center

By the way, if you're looking for a drive that offers outstanding security, dig a little deeper and check out the Rocstor Rocbit FX KT. The PC World review assigned the Rocbit just two and a half stars, based mostly on its 250GB capacity and USB-only interface. But the Rocbit offers something very few of its competitors can match: hardware-based security that uses a USB dongle to access encrypted data. It's a superior approach to security, especially in cases when you're on the move and want a safer, more convenient alternative to software-based encryption.

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