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The Best Portable External Hard Drive Of 2016

by Justin Thomas •

The U32 Shadow is the best portable backup drive currently available.

This compact device is a fast Solid Sate Drive (SSD) drive with no moving parts. It’s housed in durable aluminium case. It is compatible with USB 3.0. It comes with a 3 year warranty, and the manufacturer (Oyen Digital) is responsive to customer requests.

Because it’s a SSD drive it’s a bit more expensive than similar mechanical drives. The 256GB version costs about $120 on Amazon. There’s also a 1 Terrabyte version that costs about $380.

The Details: The Best Portable Backup Drive

The Best Portable Hard: U32 Shadow

I’ve been testing the U32 Shadow over the last few months. The drive has been performs quite well on both my Linux and Mac computers. I’m able to play Blu-Ray movies from the drive without a problem. The manufacturer says the drive is great for HD video editing. Oyen Digital has bench-marked the drive at 400 MB/s when connected to a USB 3.0 port, using a MacBook Pro 2012.

I like the fact that the Shadow doesn’t require an external power source — it’s entirely powered by the included USB cable. The drive uses USB 3.0 by default (with transfer rates up to 400 MB/Sec), but it is also compatible with USB 2.0 connections.

The U32 Shadow is a solid state drive — so it’s resistant to shocks. Solid state drives are much less likely to breakdown than a mechanical drive. They also have faster access and seek times. See this article from ServerWatch for more details.

The drive’s dimensions are 4.9 x 2.9 x .48 inches, and it weighs 8 ounces.

The 256GB version costs about $120 on Amazon. and the 1 Terrabyte version costs about $380.

Another Compact Drive Option

The Transcend SSD is another compact and portable SSD with a similar price. This drive is about as small as a playing card, making it a bit smaller than the U32 Shadow. However, it comes encased in plastic rather than aluminium.

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