Lab Tested: Portable External Hard Drives
Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive 500GB
This speedy, colorful drive has FireWire 800 and 400 ports, and useful software (Retrospect Express and Iomega QuikProtect).
Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1TB
This palm-size (though thicker than usual) 1TB USB drive performed well. The included WD SmartWare software is nicely designed, too.
WiebeTech ToughTech XE Mini 500GB
The ToughTech XE Mini comes with dual FireWire 800 ports; its eSATA interface made it the fastest drive we saw, but it lacks USB bus power.
Verbatim SureFire 500GB
The SureFire 500GB has neither bundled software nor a snazzy design, but it's a great performer when used with FireWire 800.
Seagate FreeAgent Go 1TB
This 1TB drive fits in an optional Go docking station ($20); it lagged a bit behind WD's 1TB drive in our file-reading and installation tests.
Western Digital My Passport Elite 500GB
The best USB performer we tested, this My Passport model comes with versatile WD SmartWare software and a docking station.
Rocstor Airhawk A9 320GB
The sleekly designed Airhawk A9 320GB is speedy, with test results similar to those of other drives tested via FireWire 800 or eSATA.
Rocstor Rocport ID9 320GB
Distinguished by a boxier, more colorful design than its Airhawk sibling, the Rocport ID9 320GB performed almost as well.
Seagate FreeAgent Go Special Edition 500GB
Stylish design, large capacity, and a docking station that can handle even the 1TB Go keep this drive in play as your storage needs grow.
CMS V2ABS 500GB
The V2ABS 500GB includes CMS's BounceBack Professional software, which uniquely lets you boot from the drive if your main drive fails.
Seagate BlackArmor PS110 500GB
Great USB performance and a docking station make this a top pick.
Toshiba Portable Hard Drive 640GB
This drive's NTI Backup Now EZ software makes backing up easy.
Hitachi SimpleDrive Mini 500GB
A tougher-than-ordinary drive with good capacity and performance.
HP SimpleSave Portable 320GB
This plug-and-play backup drive is convenient but not glitch-free.
Rocstor Rocbit FX KT 250GB
A removable encryption dongle makes this drive supersecure. It's fast, too.
LaCie Little Disk 250GB
The integrated USB cable and black monolithic design make for a stylish portable drive.
Hitachi SimpleTough 320GB
A rugged drive with a rugged cable for rugged use.
Buffalo Technology MiniStation Metro Portable HD-PX250U2 250GB
A nice, slightly ruggedized unit with an integrated USB cable for everyday use.
LaCie Starck USB Mobile 320GB
The integrated USB cable and unique slide-out design make for a fashionable portable drive.
A-Data Sport SH93 320GB
The Sport is a brightly hued, rugged, waterproof drive for the sportsperson.
Buffalo Technology MiniStation Colbalt 250GB
A decent software bundle highlights this otherwise pedestrian portable.
Samsung S1 Mini 120GB
This drive's small size and great software more than make up for its slow performance.