Best Portable Drives of 2020: It’s Backup Time!

IMG 20200902 085559
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech What a nice collection of SSD-based portable SSDs somebody has!

Portable drives are storage devices that allow you to conveniently carry a large amount of data from one computer to another. Or you can use one as an offline backup — tuck it away, and nobody can hack into your essential information.

Find below the list of the best portable drives I’ve tested — latest reviews on top. Chances are you’ll find one that goes well with your situation or makes a great gift for any occasion.

Dong’s note: This is a regularly updated post.

Best Portable Drives of 2020: The list

This list includes both hard-drive-based and SSD-based portable drives. They also include devices of different interfaces, including USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps), Gen 2 (10Gbps), Gen 2×2 (20Gbps), and Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps). If you’re confused about these interfaces, check out this post.

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Scroll to the bottom of the page to find out how their performance stacks up against one another.


12. WD My Passport 2020: The most complete portable SSD to date

WD My Passport SSD 2020 1
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The WD My Passport SSD 2020 version has a completely new design.

The latest WD My Passport SSD is very different from the previous model below. It now has everything you’d ask from in a portable SSD: Top speed, compact design, storage space, and security.

While it’s not perfect and slightly more expensive than competing drives, it’s easily one of the best portable SSD on the market.

WD My Passport SSD (2020 version)

9

Performance

9.0/10

Features

8.5/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 performance
  • Compact, rugged, practical design
  • USB-C-ready with cable and adapter included
  • Useful security feature
  • 5- year warranty

Cons

  • Runs a bit hot
  • Useless WD Backup and WD Utilities applications
  • Slightly more expensive than competitors
READ NOW:  WD My Passport SSD Review: A Sleek, Fast, and Secure portable Drive

11. Crucial X6: The tiniest 2TB portable SSD

Crucial X6 3
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Crucial X6 is easily one of the tiniest portable SSD on the market.

In many ways, the Crucial X6 is the mini (and lesser) version of the Crucial X8 below. Since the latter is already ultra-compact, we’re now talking about a tiny portable storage device.

Despite the diminutive physical size, the X6 is a formidable portable SSD. It delivers up to 2 TB of storage space and has the performance that can match that. You won’t need to wait for a long time even when you want to fill it up.

Crucial X6 Portable SSD

8.6

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast performance
  • Super compact, yet rugged, beautiful design
  • USB-C-ready

Cons

  • Comparatively low perform cap
  • No USB-A converter or cable included
READ NOW:  Crucial X6 Review: The Tiniest, yet Fast and Spacious Portable SSD

SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD 9
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The new SanDisk Extreme Pro includes two USB cables.

10. SanDisk Extreme Pro: Still a simple portable SSD but much faster

The SanDisk Extreme Pro is the upgrade version of the Extreme drive below. Sharing seemingly the same hardware specs and design, but now hosting an NVMe SSD on the inside, the new drive is much faster than its older cousin. It makes a great accessory to hook to your keychain.

SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD

8.3

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast performance
  • Pretty, rugged, and compact design
  • USB cables included
  • Generous 5-year warranty

Cons

  • A bit larger than previous version
  • Dust magnet, no larger capacity than 2TB.
  • Terrible security software
READ NOW:  SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD Review: A Tough Little Performer

9. Samsung T7 Touch: First portable SSD with a fingerprint scanner

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech Super-compact, the Samsung T7 Touch fits right in one’s palm.

The Samsung T7 is one of a kind. It’s the first on the market that has a built-in fingerprint scanner that allows for quickly unlocking it. Featuring USB 3.2 Gen 2 with USB-C, NVMe internal SSD, and 256-bit AES hardware encryption, this little tough drive has an excellent combo of performance, features, and security. Get yours today!

Samsung T7 / Touch Portable SSD

8.4

Performance

8.0/10

Features

9.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Hardware encryption with an optional integrated fingerprint scanner
  • Compact and rugged design
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2-Class performance
  • Includes both USB-C and compatible cables

Cons

  • Write speed reduction during extended operations
  • More expensive than similar portable SSDs
READ NOW:  Samsung T7 and T7 Touch Review: Well-Rounded Portable SSDs

8. WD Black P50 Game Drive: First USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 portable SSD

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech You can get the WD Black P50 in any colors as long as it’s black.

The WD Black P50 is potentially the fastest USB portable SSD on the market. Potentially because we can only know for sure when computers supporting USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 are available. For right now, it’s still easily one of the fastest when working with the USB 3.2 Gen 2 standard. The drive is rugged and very cool-looking to boot.

WD Black P50 Game Drive SSD

8.4

Performance

9.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Super-fast performance
  • Compact, rugged design
  • Top USB specs with USB-C port
  • High compatibility

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Currently, there are no hosts that support USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
READ NOW:  WD Black P50 Review: Potentially the Fastest USB-C SSD

7. Crucial X8: Micron’s first portable SSD, with USB 3.2 Gen 2

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Crucial X8 is a USB portable SSD but it will work well with any Thunderbolt 3 port.

Micron joint the portable SSD market with a bang. The Crucial X8 delivers stellar speeds via USB 3.2 Gen 2. It, too, is one of the fastest portable SSD on the market. And the fact the drive comes with a beautiful design and a friendly price tag doesn’t hurt.

Crucial X8 Portable SSD

9

Performance

9.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

9.5/10

Pros

  • Fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 performance
  • Friendly pricing
  • Compact, rugged, aesthetically pleasing design
  • USB-C ready, USB-A converter included

Cons

  • No bundled software or security feature
READ NOW:  Crucial X8 Review: (Still) the Fastest USB Portable SSD to Date

6. iStorage datAshur PRO2: The little impenetrable storage vault

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The iStorage datAshur Pro2 is one tough thumb drive.

This tiny thumb drive is the most secure of its kind. It’s a type of storage device you can entrust your most confidential information. It’s a storage vault that fits inside your pocket.

iStorage datAshur PRO2

8.4

Performance

9.0/10

Features

9.0/10

Design and Setup

7.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Top-notch security against data breach
  • Rugged, weather-proof, compact design
  • Fast performance

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No safeguard against deliberate data deletion
  • Loose sleeve
READ NOW:  iStorage datAshur PRO2 Review: A Tough Little Data Vault

5. WD My Passport 2019: The go-to high-capacity portable hard drive drive

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The new 5TB WD My Passport 2019 portable drive.

The WD My Passport is an easy choice for those needing a large portable storage device that will fit any budget.

WD My Passport Portable External Hard Drive

8.4

Performance

8.0/10

Features

9.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Fast and reliable performance
  • Compact yet capacious
  • Useful backup and security software

Cons

  • No USB-C
  • A bit pricey
  • No color options for certain capacities
READ NOW:  WD My Passport 2019 Review: A Go-To Choice of Portable Storage

4. WD Black P10: The ultra-large rugged gamer’s portable hard drive

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The WD Black P10 has a look that means business.

It’s the portable hard drive for gamers. The rugged, cool-looking drive delivers tons of storage space inside a rugged casing.

WD Black P10 Game Drive

7.6

Performance

8.0/10

Features

6.0/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Solid and stylish design
  • Fast performance
  • Plug-n-play out of the box

Cons

  • Expensive
  • A little bulky
  • No USB-C or encryption support
READ NOW:  WD Black P10 Review: More than a Gaming Drive

3. Samsung Portable SSD X5: The Thunderbolt 3 bootable speed demon

X5Plug
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Samsung X5 has no port for an external power adapter and hence won’t work with USB-C port.

The X5 is the fastest portable SSD by far. The catch is it only works with Thunderbolt 3 and not USB. For this reason, it’s more suitable for professional Mac-based environments.

Samsung Portable SSD X5

8

Performance

9.5/10

Features

7.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Super-fast performance
  • Solid, pretty, rugged design
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac right out of the box
  • Useful and effective security feature
  • Can work as a boot drive

Cons

  • Only works with Thunderbolt 3
  • Expensive
  • Only one Thunderbolt 3 port
  • The 3-year warranty is a bit short.
READ NOW:  Samsung X5 Review: A Crazy Fast Thunderbolt 3-Exclusive Portable SSD

2. SanDisk Extreme Portable: The simple, low-cost portable SSD

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD 6
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD includes an USB-C cable and an USB-A adapter.

The SanDisk Extreme is a frill-free portable SSD for daily storage needs.

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

8.3

Performance

8.5/10

85

7.0/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Super-fast performance, affordable pricing.
  • Pretty design, ultra-compact, water/dust resistance.
  • USB-C port with USB-C cable and USB-A adapter included
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac right out of the box

Cons

  • Security feature is a pain to use and doesn't work well.
  • Dust magnet, no larger capacity than 2TB.
  • The 3-year warranty is a bit short.
READ NOW:  SanDisk Extreme Portable Review: A Super-Fast Little SSD

1. WD My Passport SSD: The best USB 3.2 Gen 1 portable SSD

The new WD My Passport SSD 2018 version remains a tiny portable drive.
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The new WD My Passport SSD is a tiny portable drive.

Compact, fast, affordable, and delivering lots of features, the WD My Passport SSD is an excellent portable SSD for anyone.

WD My Passport SSD 2018

9.4

Performance

9.5/10

Features

9.5/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

Value

9.5/10

Pros

  • Super-fast performance
  • Compact rugged design with USB-C
  • More affordable than competitors
  • USB-C cable and USB-A adapter included
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac right out of the box

Cons

  • No larger capacities than 2TB
  • Fingerprint magnet
  • The 3-year warranty is a bit short

READ NOW:  WD My Passport SSD Review: The Ultimate Portable Drive


Best Portable Drives of 2020: The performance

When it comes to portable drives, the most important performance is copy speeds. Find below how the drives mentioned above stacked against one another in my testing.

Best Portable Drives Chart
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

Again, keep in mind that this chart includes drives of different connection and storage types, not to mention the pricing, and therefore is only for references. Comparing them using their performances alone is like comparing apples to oranges. It’s a good idea to read their reviews to find out how well they fit your needs.

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