If your going to backpacking or travelling for a long time one worry has to be backing up your data. External hard drives are a great way to ensure any photos and videos are keep separate from your camera and you free up space on your memory cards. However your average external hard drive from PC World might not withstand all the bumps and scraps travelling comes with.
First of all, a few points in what your looking for when buying a travel friendly external hard drive.
- Drop proof
- Protective casing
- Single USB power, no need for a power lead
- 2.5 size rather than the larger desktop size
- Compatibly with a wide range of operating systems
- You want a decent size, anything above 500GB should be fine.
- Check how big your file sizes are from your camera to calculate the number of photos you can store
We’ve investigated the current market and here’s three options.
The LaCie Rugged is a 2.5 drive with a protective rubber like sleeve. Single cable too and it can be dropped from a hight of around 2.2 meters. Also there is USB 3.0 which supports faster transfer of files on newer computers, so less time in computer cafes waiting for files to transfer.
Sizes range from 160 gb all the way up to 2 TB which is more than enough space. It is on the pricer side and a one missing feature is a USB lead that’s integrated into drive. A friend of mine left the lead plugged into the drive, placed it in their bag and this caused the lead to break the connector. The drive is ok and needed a new housing but not ideal on travel. It’s also bright orange so less chance of losing it! Weights in at 241 g the heaviest of our selection.
The Freecom ToughDrive is a cheaper option and comes in three ranges TOUGH DRIVE, TOUGH DRIVE SPORT and TOUGH DRIVE LEATHER. The leather version is just for the buinsess traveler , the sport version features a toughened USB lead and a hole to clip the drive to your bag. It weights in at 200g making it the lightest of our selection. All of the ranges have anti drop up to 2 meters, similar to the LaCie it’s powered by a single USB lead.
However the Freecom ToughDrive has an intergrated USB lead which flicks out of the drive. Thats great as it avoids any probelems with it being snapped off like the LaCie, but it’s a short lead which can leave your drive hanging out of the PC. A few reviews on Amazon have sighted this as a problem.
A-Data SH93 hard drives look tough! Most importantly they are the first-ever waterproof HDD. The device proved water-tight after being submerged in meter-deep water for up to 30 minutes. It’s also has a shock-absorbing structure, and it passed the U.S. military-class MIL-STD-810F 516.5 drop test2.
Like the Freecom ToughDrive the A-Data SH93 has a wrap around USB wire so it stays with your hard drive. It comes in sizes 320GB , 500GB , 640GB , 750GB and colours red, black and yellow. It’s slightly heavier than the Freecom ToughDrive at 240g.
Its competativly priced to at £58.48 for the 500 GB version. You can pick one up from Amazon. The black version seems to be slightly cheaper
Overall we have to recommend the A-Data SH93 due to the built in USB, shock proof and being waterproof. The pick of the bunch the Adata SH93 2.5 inch 750GB External Shockproof Hard Drive in Black for £72.