The 10 best portable hard drives

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Iomega eGo, Capacity: 500GB

Why we like it: The Iomega eGo 500GB Portable Hard Drive performed well across the board in our PCWorld Labs tests, earning it first place on our Top 10 Portable Hard Drives chart.

The eGo is fast and it has a unique design (read: it's red and shiny). This $100 drive has FireWire 400 and 800 ports to complement a USB 2.0 port, and it comes equipped with two pieces of useful software - Retrospect Express and Iomega QuikProtect - to simplify backups.

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A-Data Sport SH93, Capacity: 320GB

Why we like it: The Sport SH93 has an impressively rugged design.

Need a hard drive that can last through your outdoor adventures - or survive a fall from your desk? Check out the A-Data Sport SH93, a 320GB portable USB hard drive built to be extremely durable. The $115 Sport SH93 lacks bundled software, but it can handle many office or outdoor mishaps. It's waterproof, to resist coffee spills and spring showers; its case is rugged, to shrug off bumps and falls; and it's bright yellow to make it easy to find.

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Rocstor Rocport ID9, Capacity; 320GB

Why we like it: The Rocport ID9 is a lively-looking triple-Interface drive.

For an aesthetically pleasing triple-interface drive, try the Rocstor Rocport ID9 320GB portable hard drive. Its punchy red-and-black design packs FireWire 400, FireWire 800, and USB 2.0 interfaces in a boxy but stylish case. Like other Rocstor models, the $140 Rocport ID9 comes without bundled software, so this drive is most suitable for experienced users.

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CMS V2ABS, Capacity: 500GB

Why we like it: The CMS V2ABS 500GB hard drive is noteworthy for its unique drive-mirroring software. CMS's proprietary BounceBack Professional program lets you boot from the portable drive if your system's main hard drive fails, making the V2ABS 500GB ideal as a backup device for a PC that contains lots of crucial and time-sensitive data.

This USB 2.0-only drive has a sturdy case designed to withstand minor bumps and drops.

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Western Digital My Passport Elite, Capacity: 500GB or 1TB

Why we like it: Both this 500GB model and its 1TB sibling provide big capacity in a space-saving size.

The Western Digital My Passport Elite SE comes with your choice of 500GB (shown) or 1TB of capacity. For a 2.5-inch device, that's an impressive combination of portability and storage space. Either version of the My Passport Elite features an LED gauge on the front to track available storage capacity - an especially helpful feature if you use multiple drives.

Though the My Passport Elite is a USB 2.0-only drive, it comes with versatile WD SmartWare software and a low-profile docking station. The 500GB model costs $130, the 1TB version, $179.

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Seagate FreeAgent Go, Capacity: 500GB or 1TB 6

Why we like it: The FreeAgent Go offers large capacity, folder-level syncing, and individual file selection.

The Seagate FreeAgent Go comes in two capacities: a 500GB model (shown) for $145, and a heftier 1TB version for $199. Both versions of the drive come with a handy docking station for easier storage.

Though the FreeAgent Go has only a USB 2.0 port, its backup and security software supports folder-level syncing and allows you to modify file selections for your backups individually.

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Rocstor Rocbit FX KT, Capacity: 250GB

Why we like it: The Rocbit FX KT provides good security functions.

Strong security is the key feature of the Rocstor Rocbit FX KT. This 250GB USB 2.0 drive has a removable mini-USB encryption dongle for an added measure of safety. The dongle acts as a key to the drive: No dongle, no data. The $179 drive comes bundled with two dongles in case you lose one.

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Samsung S1 Mini, Capacity: 120GB

Why we like it: The S1 Mini offers extreme portability.

Though it has a relatively small storage capacity of 120GB, the Samsung S1 Mini packs a lot of power into its tiny body. Its SecretZone software creates password-protected images that you can activate for extra security, and the drive carries uncomplicated backup software as well.

This pint-size $85 drive makes an ideal travel companion and can slip easily into your back pocket.

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Rocstor Airhawk A9, Capacity: 320GB

Why we like it: The Airhawk A9 is a fast performer.

The Rocstor Airhawk A9 is a sleek triple-interface drive that works as speedily as an eSATA-connected back-up drive. It supports USB 2.0, FireWire 400, and FireWire 800 interfaces, and offers 320GB of storage space.

This high-speed $135 portable drive's chief drawback is that it lacks bundled software.

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WiebeTech ToughTech XE Mini, Capacity: 500GB

Why we like it: The ToughTech XE Mini is a quad-interface drive with a speedy eSATA option.

The 500GB WiebeTech ToughTech XE Mini ($200) is a great drive if you're looking for maximum interface flexibility - it comes with dual FireWire 800/400, USB 2.0, and eSATA ports. In particular, this quad-interface drive's eSATA interface gives it exceptional speed.

Though it lacks security software and USB bus power, the ToughTech XE Mini can fly.




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