Best External Solid State Drives

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 10, 2018
Need to add some storage to your computer? Want to enjoy the highest data transfer rates? Then, get a solid-state external hard drive, which is compact, lightweight, yet unbelievably reliable and fast. Read our external solid-state drive review and keep up with the cutting-edge technologies! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Capacity
Interfaces
NAND Memory Type
Read/Write speeds
Data protection
Compatibility
Warranty
 
PROS

The drive comes with software for both Windows and Mac as well an app that works on Android smartphones, allowing you to protect your data and control it.

CONS

The device doesn't come with any instructions on how to set it up.

OUR VERDICT

Offering extra-strong security measures, this external SSD is perfect for storing sensitive data that has to be protected at all costs. It's damage-resistant, capacious, and small enough to store in a messenger bag. Great for professional use!

detailed parameters
Capacity

2 TB, 1 TB, 500 GB, 250 GB

Interfaces

1 x USB Type C

NAND Memory Type

V-Nand

Read/Write speeds

Up to 540/540 MB/s

Data protection

Shock/Heat/Vibration-resistant, Password protection uses 256‐bit AES encryption

Compatibility

Windows 7, Mac OS X , Android 4.4 (KitKat) or higher

Warranty

3 years, limited

PROS

The drive works soundlessly so you won't be annoyed by any buzzing while the files are being transferred.

CONS

The disc slides around quite easily on smooth surfaces.

OUR VERDICT

While the lack of security features to protect sensitive data makes this a poor pick for work use, the huge storage capacity and reasonably high transfer speed keep the VectoTech Rapid an impressive SSD for personal usage.

detailed parameters
Capacity

4 TB, 2 TB, 1 TB, 500 GB, 250 GB, 128 GB

Interfaces

1 x USB 3.0

NAND Memory Type

TLC

Read/Write speeds

Up to 450/450 MB/s

Data protection

Shock/Heat/Vibration-resistant

Compatibility

Windows, Mac OS X

Warranty

3 years, limited

PROS

This drive supports the USB 3.1 Gen-2 interface, which is compatible with pretty much all old versions and, thus, computers.

CONS

The casing is a bit too big to fit into your hand and quite fragile so you'll have to buy a protective case.

OUR VERDICT

Although it's not the sturdiest model out there, the WD Passport is one of the most reliable in terms of data protection. It locks your files under a password, encrypts them, uploads them to a secure cloud service, and all of that makes it perfect for storing sensitive information.

detailed parameters
Capacity

2 TB, 1 TB, 512 GB, 256 GB

Interfaces

1 x USB Type C

NAND Memory Type

TLC

Read/Write speeds

Up to 540/540 MB/s

Data protection

Shock-resistant, password protection with hardware encryption

Compatibility

Windows, Mac OS X

Warranty

3 years, limited

PROS

The drive is reinforced to withstand falls, heat, water, and dirt getting inside the device.

CONS

The included EncryptStick software requires a fee to update.

OUR VERDICT

Probably the most protected SSD out there, the SanDisk Extreme also boasts high transfer speed and pretty impressive storage capacity. While the paid software updates do end up making this model pricier than average, we'd still call it a great pick for people leading an active life.

detailed parameters
Capacity

2 TB, 1 TB, 500 GB, 250 GB

Interfaces

1 x USB Type C

NAND Memory Type

TLC

Read/Write speeds

Up to 550/ 550 MB/s

Data protection

Shock/Heat/Vibration/Water/Dust-resistant, Password protection uses 128‐bit AES encryption

Compatibility

Windows, Mac OS X

Warranty

3 years, limited

PROS

The 3D TLC NAND flash memory improves the drive's performance and prevents interruptions of transfers. SLC and DRAM caching also raise the data write speed.

CONS

The USB cable that you get with the purchase breaks easily.

OUR VERDICT

Full compatibility with gaming consoles and all OS make this a viable choice for inter-device data transfers, while the silicone protectors ensure that your data is safe from external damage. Although the cable is a bit poorly made, the ADATA SD600 itself is sturdy and a reliable choice for home use.

detailed parameters
Capacity

512 GB, 480 GB, 240 GB

Interfaces

1 x USB 3.1

NAND Memory Type

3D TLC

Read/Write speeds

Up to 440/430 MB/s

Data protection

Shock-resistant

Compatibility

Windows, Mac OS X, Android, Xbox, PS4 consoles

Warranty

3 years, limited

Samsung T5

Everything Gets Connected

Need a reliable storage device that will help you transfer files from one system to another without any restrictions on the device type? Well then, you can’t go wrong with the Samsung T5. This model is compatible with any computer type and even has a special app compatible with all phones and tablets using the Android OS, as long as the OS version is above 4.4 (KitKat). So if you have an Apple laptop and a regular one, you can move data between them using the Samsung T5 or simply use it as a place to keep your extra files that won’t fit on your computer.

While there are no particular instructions on how to set the SSD up and get it working, it should only be a problem for the most inexperienced users. Most of the time you simply plug the SSD into your computer and the free software on the drive loads up automatically to set up all necessary drivers. One thing that may be a bit tough to figure out without help is the password protect feature. It’s easier to pull off via the mobile app since it has simpler navigation but not everybody has an Android phone. Speaking of which, an iOS app wouldn’t hurt as Apple has a pretty huge share of the smartphone market.

Review of Samsung T5 External SSD — USB 3.1 Type-C

Impenetrable Data Protection

Let’s take a deeper look at how secure your data will actually be while on the Samsung T5. We’ve mentioned that password setup takes a bit of time but we’d say it’s worth it in the end. All thanks to the 256-bit AES encryption, one of the more reliable methods used to keep information safe in today’s hacker-full world.

Of course, hackers aren’t the only danger to an SSD as clumsy hands end up destroying way too many drives every year. That’s why we like the shock- and vibration-resistant metallic casing of the Samsung T5, designed to protect it from falls and less than careful handling. Also, it’s heat-resistant and doesn’t get hot during operation, though that’s a less likely damage cause.

This external solid state hard drive fits 2TB of information but, if you’d like to save some money and don’t need that much storage, models with less space are available, including 1TB, 500Gb, and 250Gb.

The Samsung T5 is a well-rounded and reliable SSD that’s designed to be compatible with any computer, including Apple laptops. It’s a bit on the pricey side but the excellent damage protection, reasonably high data transfer speed, and high-end security measures make this a worthy purchase both for personal and professional use. Don’t hesitate to spend more on this top-notch SSD.

Samsung T5 External SSD — USB 3.1 Type-C in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

VectoTech Rapid

A Trove of Data

Need a lot of storage space, maybe even twice what most SSDs seem to offer? We’re not going to ask what kind of stuff you plan on saving that requires 4TB but we can indeed recommend the VectoTech Rapid, an external SSD that can replace 4 competitors in terms of sheer storage space. However, that’s not the only department where the VectoTech Rapid manages to impress.

Despite working with that much more space, the VectoTech SSD is pretty much noiseless and doesn’t get hot even when you transfer huge files. That way you don’t have to listen to an annoying whirr while a particularly large file is taking a while to load. And yes, we have to admit that transfers aren’t as speedy as they could be. We don’t dislike the 450/450 read/write speed but it’s already been surpassed by competitors and should certainly be the first feature to improve. That said, we’d argue that higher storage space is more important than high-speed transfers though your mileage may vary, of course.

It’s also quite energy-efficient, which is important for those who need to quickly transfer data from the SSD to their laptop and vice versa with no access to the AC. That way your computer doesn’t lose charge, which could be precious out in the field.

Review of VectoTech Rapid External SSD USB 3.0

Safe from Damage

Data loss is often a result of unscrupulous hackers gaining access to your information but let’s not forget about the other equally common cause - damage to the drive. That’s exactly why we appreciate the VectoTech Rapid’s sturdy and reinforced casing, made to be completely damage-resistant. The insides of the drive are also protected to withstand vibration and shocks which makes transportation safer. We can’t say much about the heat protection as it’s not as useful as the former two but it’s a nice bonus for sure.

However, there is absolutely no protection against the aforementioned hackers or, really, anyone looking to gain access to your data. You don’t even get a chance to put a password that might deter potential snooping. That’s a substantial security gap in our opinion.

It’s all the stranger as the VectoTech Rapid is pretty modern in terms of compatibility, offering full software for stable connection to both Windows- and Mac-using laptops. That coupled with excellent damage resistance and a large storage capacity raise the VectoTech Rapid above many of the competitors. We highly recommend this external SSD for laptop storage and personal use as long as you don’t plan on keeping any sensitive information on the drive.

VectoTech Rapid External SSD USB 3.0 in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

WD My Passport SSD

Archiving the Data

Looking to get old photos or documents from your ancient Pentium PC to your brand new laptop? In most cases, you’d need several cables to plug in your external drive into the devices. However, the WD My Passport SSD is uniquely compatible with pretty much all generations of computers. Since it uses the USB 3.1 Gen-2 interface, this drive can be connected to any type of PC or laptop. Even USB 2.0 and USB-A are fine since the cable comes with a special adapter for these ports. You also don’t have to worry about the OS as the software pre-installed on the drive automatically adapts it to any operating system. This means you can use this model as an external SSD for Mac as well as Windows.

The WD My Passport SSD is also quite adept at transferring data, not just thanks to modern caching technologies but also owing to the 540/540 read/write speed. You can rest assured that even a large file transfer won’t be interrupted or take long enough for you to fall asleep.

We also have to commend the pretty great encryption methods that the WD My Passport SSD uses. It has password protection as well so you can rest assured knowing that your files are safe from any prying eyes. You should even be safe from malware as the hardware encryption helps avoid those as well.

Review of WD My Passport SSD Portable Storage — USB 3.1 Type-C

Space Enough at Last

If you want your drive to store enough data to be viable as an extra storage space to, basically, double the capacity of your laptop, you’d have to get one that’s at least 500+Gb. However, since the WD My Passport external solid state drive comes in 1TB and 2TB sizes, we’d actually recommend going for those. That way you can be sure that you’ve got enough space and you could practically back up your whole system and still have some storage left over.

However, the storage capacity usually isn’t reflected by the drive’s size. That isn’t the case with the WD My Passport, which is probably the largest external SSD we’ve seen. It’s twice the size of other models and won’t fit in your palm or pocket. It’s quite lightweight though thanks to the choice of material for the casing. That same choice does mean that you should invest in a protective case that will keep the device from being damaged.

Still, don’t worry too much about the safety of the files on your WD Passport since it has software that lets you back everything up on a cloud service. That and the password protection plus encryption make this drive pretty safe. So if you need to archive data from an old computer or even simply store some important files, turn to the WD Passport as a trusty storage space.

WD My Passport SSD Portable Storage — USB 3.1 Type-C in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

SanDisk Extreme

Extreme Protection from Everything

Live an active lifestyle and take your laptop with you everywhere, whether to upload photos of your trips or for work? You’re going to need a sturdy device that can store your data with no risk of the elements ruining the electronic storage. For that, we recommend the SanDisk Extreme Portable.

This external solid state drive is made to resist all type of damage, not just regular physical one. Sure, it’s going to be fine if you drop it off of your table but it can also withstand extreme heat and vibrations. Not even a sweltering summer or an earthquake will ruin this SSD (well, okay, an earthquake might). It’s also reinforced to withstand water leaking into the drive, though the extra protection should keep moisture away anyway.

Moreover, your data is also protected from hackers and prying eyes as well. The SanDisk Extreme uses 128-bit AES encryption to secure your files and the data is also locked under a password that should deter would-be snoopers. However, you’d probably want your protection software to be up to date at all times to keep up with the new malware and viruses. But the EncryptStick software that comes with the drive requires a flat fee before it opens access to updates. While it’s not that high, it’s still a disappointing move on the manufacturer’s part.

Review of SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD — USB 3.1 Type-C

At the Speed of Light

It’s also reasonable to want the fastest external SSD possible since data transfers can take a while and it makes sense to speed up the process to the best of your abilities. Luckily, the SanDisk Extreme Portable is probably one of the fastest SSDs out there, boasting a 550/550 read/write speed. Even if you get the 2TB model, you could fill it up in less than an hour, regardless of whether you’re copying a bunch of smaller files or one huge one. And if you go for the less capacious 250Gb model, your drive can get filled up in a matter of minutes.

However, the one flaw of this drive would be the fact that the TLC memory system is more prone to errors than its counterparts. This could lead to interruptions in some transfers, which ultimately prolongs the process and is just plain annoying.

It doesn’t matter what type of OS or computer you have since the SanDisk Extreme uses a USB Type C cable and has the right drivers to be compatible with both Windows and Mac OS. No matter what PC or laptop you have, you can transfer data to and from it.

In the end, if you want an ultra-reliable drive that you can take with you on the road, the SanDisk Extreme is a good choice. It has impressively high transfer speed, withstands a lot of wear and damage, and is sure to become a long-term companion for your digital needs.

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD — USB 3.1 Type-C in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

ADATA SD600

Connects to Everything

Whether you’re planning to fill your drive full of sensitive information or just use it for gaming to speed up loading times, it makes sense to get the most reliable external SSD possible. Most of these devices are a bit brittle and won’t withstand a single drop. However, the ADATA SD600 has special metal reinforcements on its casing that prevent damage to the inner parts of the drive. Even if you drop the ADATA SD600 from a table where your laptop is sitting on, the device will be unfazed and you can plug it right back in.

A lot of the cheaper drives are only compatible with Windows OS and, occasionally, Mac OS. Thankfully, the ADATA SD600 doesn’t skimp on compatibility so you can connect it to your Xbox One and PS4 to watch videos on your TV or use it as an external storage device to make games run faster. There’s no limit on how new or old the device you’re plugging into has to be since this model has a USB 3.1 cable. We have to admit that it’s not exactly sturdy and you’d likely have to get a replacement one in about a year or so but the 3-year warranty should make this less of an issue. Just make sure that whatever damage the cable sustains is covered by the warranty as it is limited and some cases might end up forfeiting your right to a replacement.

Review of ADATA SD600 3D NAND Ultra-Speed External Solid State Drive

Smart Data Transferring

One of the main problems with first-generation external SSDs was the fact that they tended to disconnect from the computer, interrupting transfers and, occasionally, corrupting data. Luckily, the new generation is starting to fix the problem and the ADATA SD600 is no exception. The drive uses 3D TLC NAND flash memory to prevent crashes and make transfers more efficient. Despite offering modest read/write speeds of 440/430, the drive is great at copying large files as it uses SLC and DRAM caching. We still wouldn’t have minded a bit more speed, of course, but it’s still on par with more advanced and expensive models.

Despite having the silicone inserts that prevent damage, the ADATA SD600 is also quite compact and can fit easily into a small bag or even a pocket. We don’t recommend the latter option, though, if you have some valuable data stored on the drive. This model, sadly, has no protection software to prevent hackers from gaining access to your data so make sure you keep an eye on it.

Even though the ADATA SD600 has a maximum of just 512Gb of storage, it’s right up there with the best drives we’ve seen. It’s affordable, extra-sturdy, and highly efficient at data transfers. Pretty much all you could ask for from an external SSD.

ADATA SD600 3D NAND Ultra-Speed External Solid State Drive in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

What Is an External Solid State Drive?

An external solid-state drive is a digital device for storing large amounts of data. Unlike external hard disk drives, these drives have no magnetic discs inside and all the information is stored on memory chips. One of the advantages of this data storage technology is the enormous data transfer rate - up to 500 MB/s (via USB 3.0) and up to 10 GB/s (cia Thunderbolt). Moreover, since there are no moving parts in the casing, any solid-state drive works without making any noise at all. And such SSDs are rather resistant to external influences (shock, dust, etc.).

If you think that the overall storage space is more important than a data transfer speed, make sure to check out our review of the best external hard drives available on the market.

What Features to Compare

The first aspect you should consider when choosing an external solid-state drive is the Capacity and Speed. Actually, these are the most important issues for any device of this kind and you should decide on the capacity first hand. The choice depends on what you need an external SSD for. If you need one for storing your favorite movies or other media files, pick the model with the capacity of over 500 GB. However, if you simply need to have a safe and reliable storage for your working documents, a lower-capacity device is sufficient. Next, make sure to check the data transfer speed each device supports. Why is it important? The higher the speed is, the faster you will be able to copy files to and from the SSD. If you think that all external hard drives have more or less the same transfer speed, you are wrong! This feature depends on many different issues, such as connection type (USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, etc.), your system, and so on.

Once you've decided on the above-mentioned parameters, check the Compatibility of each solid-state drive with operating systems (OS). Most modern external SSDs are compatible with nearly all available operating systems but we still recommend you to double-check it. If you have used your external solid-state drive with a Windows-operated computer and then want to use it with a Mac, a reformatting of the SSD will be required. Thus, you should make a backup copy of your data before doing it; otherwise, your information will be deleted. Next, go ahead and check the Interfaces (Ports) each external solid-state drive has. Any external SSD must be somehow connected to a computer and that's why different types of connection are used. Most devices have a USB 3.0 port that ensures pretty high data transfer speeds. If your laptops or PC has a USB 3.0 port, choose the external solid-state drive having the same one. If your computer is rather old and has no USB 3.0 compatibility, don't worry - any external solid-state drive with a USB 3.0 interface is backward compatible with the older USB 2.0 interface. However, the data transfer rates will be significantly lower in this case. Also, there are some superb external solid-state drives with a so-called Thunderbolt port - this type of connection is blazing-fast and transfers data twice as fast as USB 3.0, namely up to 10 Gb/s. Some devices are equipped both with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports.

A typical external solid-state drive is a small and portable device that you can easily carry every day. So, you should certainly pay attention to the Design and Protection. When choosing the design of a solid-state drive, you should rely mainly on your own preferences. However, there are some major points that are worth considering. For example, we recommend you to choose a device with a metal casing because it guarantees a fairly decent shock resistance of the device (so, your data won't be lost if you accidentally drop the unit on the ground). In addition, some manufacturers make their external SSDs dust- and water-resistant. Now it's time to draw your attention to the safety of your data. The best external solid-state drives encrypt your data and allow you to set a password, which means nobody but you can access the data. It's particularly important if you deal with some classified business information that should not get into the wrong hands. There are 2 major encryption types: 128-bit and 256-bit. It's self-evident that the latter option provides far better safety for your data.

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