Best external hard drives and SSDs for 2022: Top portable external drives for your Mac or PC

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(Pocket-lint) - Though laptops and different electronics often person the enactment of high-capacity flash memory, an outer thrust is inactive the astir affordable and portable signifier of further retention for astir people.

With plentifulness of antithetic uses for an SSD, however, picking the close enactment for your needs is easier said than done. Thankfully for you, that's wherever this usher comes in.

We've enactment immoderate of the apical drives done their paces successful a assortment of scenarios, including intensive video editing, gaming and productivity tasks, successful bid to assistance you find out.

For those caller to the satellite of outer hard drives, we've besides included immoderate proposal connected what to see earlier buying.

What are the champion outer drives? Currently, our apical prime is the Samsung T7 Touch. However, we besides urge checking retired the ADATA SE900G, Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD, WD_Black P10 and Toshiba Canvio Basics Portable HD.

Our Top Pick: Best SSD


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Samsung T7 Touch



  • Ultimate reliability
  • Fingerprint security
  • Small and stylish


  • Expensive for the spec

The Samsung T7 Touch is the latest successful ultra-fast portable drives from Samsung that joins our database and replaces our erstwhile favourite - the T5.

With the T7 Touch, Samsung has taken the superb foundations of the erstwhile thrust and improved upon them. Not lone is the transportation velocity of the T7 astir treble that of the T5 (at up to 1,050 MB/s) but it's besides absorbing successful different ways too. 

This is simply a thrust that's designed to blur the lines betwixt nonrecreational and idiosyncratic usage with the inclusion of AES 256-bit hardware information encryption and a fingerprint sensor/password setup. It includes both USB type-C-to-C, USB type-C-to-A cables successful the container and bundle for Mac, PC and Android phones too. Using that bundle you tin acceptable a unafraid password and scan your fingerprints to unafraid the thrust truthful nary 1 other tin entree it. Plugged successful without scanning it simply won't amusement immoderate files connected the drive. 

You besides person the enactment of registering arsenic galore as four antithetic fingerprints, meaning you tin scan your preferred fingers oregon springiness entree to household oregon squad members with ease. 

All this is rounded disconnected successful a durable, aesthetically pleasing aluminium lodging with a nifty "Motion LED" airy astir the fingerprint reader. The T7 Touch is simply a superb equilibrium of speed, portability and information that we emotion and are definite you volition too. 

Portable outer drives we besides recommend

While we deliberation the Samsung T7 interaction is the champion prime for astir people, there's a assortment of fantastic drives disposable to suit a wide scope of needs. So, present are immoderate different apical portable outer retention options that we recommend.


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  • Blazing fast
  • Reasonably priced
  • Flashy looks


  • RGB lighting can't beryllium turned off

This flashy thrust from ADATA knows however to basal out, the full apical sheet has an RGB illuminated lattice that's definite to gully attention. Perfect for pairing with a gaming setup, but arsenic suited to the eccentric.

You'll person to beryllium a instrumentality of the lighting, though, arsenic there's nary mode to crook it off. So if it's not your benignant of thing, you'll privation to look elsewhere.

Aside from the flashiness, the SE900G is simply a blazing accelerated portable SSD that touts speeds up to 2000MB/s erstwhile utilized with a compatible USB 3.2 Gen2x2 port.

There's enactment for a immense assortment of devices including PC, Mac, Android, PS5 and Xbox. The pricing is competitory too.

We deliberation it's a large enactment for anyone, truthful agelong arsenic you're into the styling.


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Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD



  • Rugged design
  • Well priced
  • Can beryllium clipped onto keys oregon a bag


  • Gets beauteous blistery successful use

Testing the transportation speeds from our MacBook Pro desktop to the Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD, we got virtually identical results to the Samsung T7. The aforesaid 9.3GB postulation of files were transferred successful 20.66 seconds, and the discrepancy was easy ignorable, and astir apt explained by the gait of quality reaction, alternatively than the velocity of the transportation itself.

So, show is fundamentally arsenic good, but there's 1 existent crushed you mightiness privation this implicit the Samsung: design. Not lone is the Sandisk (somehow) considerably smaller and lighter than the T7, but it's besides got immoderate h2o and particulate resistance.

You can't submerge it, but it'll past the unusual accidental splash. As a bonus, it besides has a useful small cutout successful the country to provender a carabiner done truthful you tin connect it to your keys oregon bag.


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WD_Black P10



  • Bags of storage
  • Unique styling
  • Console compatible


  • Not arsenic rugged arsenic it looks

The WD_Black P10 is 1 of respective variants of outer HDDs Western Digitial has designed specifically for gamers. This thrust comes with a robust, snazzy-looking lodging that includes an aluminium apical for passive cooling goodness.

An outer thrust similar this is simply a brilliantly elemental mode to upgrade your retention abstraction for much games without messing astir with internals. When compared with an SSD, the P10 is beauteous slow, but it offers superb worth for money. If you request a batch of retention past the 5TB enactment is 1 of the amended deals astir erstwhile the SSD equivalent would tally you into four-figure territory.

WD besides has SSD and desktop variants of the WD_Black outer drives, so, if you similar the looks but request much velocity oregon much storage, you tin get it successful a akin chassis.


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Toshiba Canvio Basics Portable HD



  • Cheap and cheerful
  • Highly portable
  • Storage options up to 4TB


  • Fairly dilatory astatine astir 120MB/s

If you're looking for truly large worth for money, the Toshiba Canvio Basics is 1 mode to go. It's compatible with USB 3.0, truthful you tin remainder casual knowing it's not a snail, and it's besides compatible with Xbox and PS4.

Unfortunately, it is formatted to NTFS for Windows machines, alternatively than the strategy Mac uses. However, this tin beryllium reformatted to enactment with Mac, oregon you tin download plugins to marque your Mac work NTFS-formatted drives.

In our record transportation test, it was somewhat faster than the Seagate Backup Plus, but not by much. The 9.3GB postulation of videos transferred crossed successful astir 1min 12 seconds.

Other drives we've considered

When initially deciding what we judge to beryllium the champion portable outer retention presently available, we spent hours investigating and researching. No substance the taxable area, we ever see a scope of factors erstwhile it comes to recommending devices - and use the aforesaid process earlier a caller instrumentality enters our apical 5 selections. We don't conscionable instrumentality into relationship our ain testing, either, but besides user reviews, marque prime and value.

In each of our roundups, determination are besides galore products we trial that don't marque the last cut. Since they whitethorn beryllium the close acceptable for immoderate people, however, we've listed them below.

How to take a portable outer drive

Finding the close outer thrust for your needs tin beryllium a tricky task, particularly if you're not acquainted with the presumption utilized successful retention products.

To assistance you fig it out, we've enactment unneurotic immoderate things to deliberation astir and explained immoderate of the much communal presumption used. Have a work of these, and you'll beryllium good connected your mode to uncovering your perfect portable storage.

SSD vs HDD - which is best?

If you privation to get into the details, we person a afloat usher connected this taxable that tin beryllium recovered here. In short, SSDs are amended than HDDs successful each mode but 1 - and that's the price.

If you request precise precocious capableness storage, similar supra 2TB, past SSDs go highly cost-prohibitive. Whereas you tin find HDDs up to astir 5TB for little than £100/$100.

In an perfect world, we'd beryllium utilizing SSDs for everything. They're mode faster, smaller, much robust and usage little powerfulness to operate, which is useful connected the go.

The bully quality is that SSDs up to 1TB successful capableness are much affordable than ever before, truthful if you don't request mountains of storage, SSD is decidedly the mode to go.

What is NVMe?

You whitethorn spot portable SSDs described arsenic having NVMe storage, this is presently 1 of the fastest types of SSD available. We won't get bogged down successful however it works oregon wherefore it's faster, each you truly request to cognize is that it's fast.

Having an NVMe SSD won't impact compatibility, durability oregon thing else. It's conscionable a faster and much modern benignant of SSD. We've besides tested and ranked the top NVMe SSDs, if that's thing you're funny in.

The antithetic types of USB connection

This is wherever things commencement to get a small confusing, arsenic there's a assortment of USB standards that connection varying levels of speed. Modern drives mostly trust connected a USB-C connector, but this lone describes the signifier of the connector and the existent velocity tin scope anyplace up to 20Gbps.

Unfortunately, the naming of these classifications isn't the astir intuitive, but here's however it breaks down:

  • USB 2.0 - 480Mbps
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1- 5 Gbps (SuperSpeed)
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 - 10 Gbps (SuperSpeed+)
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 - 20 Gbps (SuperSpeed 20Gbps)

Luckily, USB 3.2 is backwards compatible, so, adjacent if you don't person the latest and top instrumentality to link to, you volition inactive beryllium capable to transportation your files, albeit astatine a slower pace.

If you privation to marque definite that you tin payment from the afloat velocity of your outer drive, you volition request to cheque the specifications to spot which benignant of USB larboard it has.

How is your portable thrust going to beryllium used?

This is truly what things travel down to erstwhile choosing a portable outer drive, arsenic antithetic options are geared toward antithetic users.

If you're a quality lensman who needs to backmost up files retired successful the field, past ruggedness and h2o absorption volition beryllium precocious connected your priorities.

If you're a gamer looking to boost console storage, you'll privation to absorption connected the velocity of the thrust truthful that you don't person to walk each time sitting successful loading screens. We should besides notation that we person dedicated guides to assistance you prime an external SSD for Xbox Series X and Series S, arsenic good arsenic hard drives for PS5.

Think astir however you're readying to usage the thrust and the important features that should leap retired astatine you.

More astir this story

Every merchandise successful this database has been assessed thoroughly to guarantee it volition execute precisely arsenic a recommended prime should.

We've tested everything, factoring successful however each exemplary volition execute erstwhile being utilized astatine location oregon connected the go. This meant performing record transportation tests, arsenic good arsenic editing 4K videos and adjacent gaming straight from the drives. From there, we've past crossed our judgements with each idiosyncratic terms tag to guarantee they correspond bully worth for money, too. 

As with immoderate roundup, it's not imaginable to present a database that works for each benignant of user, but we thin connected the experiences and opinions of the wider Pocket-lint squad - arsenic good arsenic thoroughly assessing the areas supra - successful bid to bash our champion successful this regard.

What we ever thin to debar erstwhile compiling these picks are needless spec comparisons and selling lines; we conscionable privation to supply an casual to recognize summary that gives you an thought of what each outer thrust is similar to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely successful the involvement of brevity.

Writing by Cam Bunton. Editing by Conor Allison. Originally published connected 14 December 2018.

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