Best portable SSD

Best portable SSD of 2023

In case all your shooting is overflowing your computer’s storage – or if you need to keep your digital portfolio portable – it’s time to buy a portable SSD. You can still get the most bytes out of a conventional portable hard drive, but you’ll want solid state drives for top transfer speeds. Even though SSDs still command a premium over hard drives for their speed and portability, the cost of storage space up to 1 terabyte has become more accessible for consumers due to their smaller size and weight.

In order to ensure that there were no bottlenecks during the testing, we performed maximum sustained read and write rates using a Windows PC equipped with a fast internal m.2 SSD and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, rather than testing transfer speeds with unrealistic benchmarking software.

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The best portable SSDs in 2023

We test and compare products as well as services to help you make the right choice. Learn more about how we test.

  SanDisk Extreme portable SSD v2~The best portable SSD

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SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD


Available capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TBDimensions: 110.26mm x 57.34mm x 10.22mmImage read/write speeds: 693/496MB/sVideo read/write speeds: 780/564MB/s



Speed unmatched

Rugged and small

A competitive price


Computers with high speed are required for maximum performance

An expensive capacity of 2TB


However, this is still one of SanDisk’s cheaper non-Pro versions – that honour is currently held by the Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2 (see below), which is the company’s top-of-the-range portable SSD. Due to the fact that almost no computer currently available can fully benefit from the Extreme Pro’s extra speed, it’s barely faster than this SSD in real-world use.

With the CrystalDiskMark storage benchmark app, we were able to verify SanDisk’s claim that the Extreme Portable SSD reads at 1050MB/s, but this speed is unlikely to be achieved in the real world. Although we tested on a blazingly fast laptop, we were only able to read a large video file at 780MB/s and write it at 564MB/s at a peak speed. However, a portable SSD will rarely – if ever – perform as fast in actual file transfers as it does in a software benchmark, and image transfer speeds of 693/496 MB/s read/write are equally impressive.

It comes in capacities of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB, but 500GB is the best choice, as the price doubles as capacity increases.

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 WD My Passport SSD (NVMe)

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Best portable SSD of 2023

WD 1TB My Passport SSD Portable External Solid State Drive,

The latest My Passport SSD is significantly faster than its predecessor


Available capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TBDimensions: 100mm x 55mm x 8.9mmImage read/write speeds: 538/364MB/sVideo read/write speeds: 651/569MB/s


Most scenarios are very fast

Easily pocketable and sleek

Options for good capacity


In terms of video writing speed, it is not among the best

An uninteresting appearance


It is not to be confused with WD’s previous version of the MyPassport SSD, which is still available. Even though it has a smoother, more rounded design, it still goes by the same name as the previous version of My Passport SSD, just to make things even more confusing.

The old My Passport SSD didn’t deliver very good read/write speeds, but this new one features NVMe SSD technology and is advertised to be nearly twice as fast as the old one. With read/write speeds of 1050MB/s and 1000MB/s, this SSD promises to be nearly twice as fast. It was refreshing to find that WD’s claims were accurate, as CrystalDiskMark showed a read/write rate of 1041MB/s and 1002MB/s – quite impressive.

 The new My Passport SSD still performs well in real-world testing, despite taking a performance hit. We read/written videos at an average rate of 651MB/s and 569MB/s, respectively, and multiple image files at an average rate of 538/364MB/s. Apart from the image write speed of the My Passport SSD being nearly 30% slower than the Extreme Pro Portable SSD from SanDisk, these results are marginally faster than those from the Extreme Pro Portable SSD. The box includes a USB Type-C to USB-A adapter, as well as options for 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacity.

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 SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD

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Best portable SSD of 2023

SanDisk Professional 2TB G-DRIVE SSD – Ultra-Rugged, IP67 Dust/Water Resistant, Portable External NVMe Solid State Drive


Available capacities: 500GB-2TBDimensions: 94 x 50 x 14.5mmImage read/write speeds: 307/298MB/sVideo read/write speeds: 410/353MB/s


 Speed that is breathtaking



 Gigabytes are expensive

 PC needs to be reformatted


A key feature of this SSD is the ruggedized design, which prevents the drive from falling three metres and being crushed by 1000lbs, as well as its IP67-rated exterior to repel dust and moisture. The 95mm x 50mm x 14.5mm dimensions of the drive are only marginally more bulky than the non-ruggedized WD My Passport SSD, despite this extra exterior protection.

There’s a 500GB SSD in the toughened shell, which SanDisk claims can transfer data up to 560MB/s. It connects via the latest USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C connector, though a Type-A converter is included to keep it compatible with older PCs.

Our test results showed the drive could transfer video at 410/353MB/s when reading/writing video, though we were unable to match its claimed 560MB/s maximum speed. This drive also has impressive image transfer speeds of 307/298MB/s read/write. Add the five-year warranty and you’ve got everything covered.

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 Samsung Portable SSD T7

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Best portable SSD of 2023

SAMSUNG T7 1TB, Portable SSD, up to 1050MB/s, USB 3.2 Gen2, Gaming, Students & Professionals, External Solid State Drive


Available capacities: 500GB-2TBDimensions: 85 x 57 x 8mmAdvertised read/write speeds: 1,050/1,000MB/s


 Speed of up to 1050 MB/s when reading

 Ruggedly discreet


 There is a huge price difference between 2TB and 3TB

 Colours are not available in all capacities


A simple matte aluminum casing makes Samsung’s entry easy to slip into a shirt pocket. Measuring just 85 by 57 by 8mm, it easily slips into a shirt pocket, and it comes in three attractive colors: gray, blue, and metallic red.

Although the SSD T7 looks stylish, it is also capable of surviving a 2-metre drop and has 256-bit hardware encryption to protect your data. The storage is available in capacities of 500GB, 1TB and 2TB with speedy transfer rates up to 1050MB/s read and 1,000MB/s write.

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  OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3

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OWC 2TB Envoy Pro Elektron USB-C Portable NVMe SSD

A big bruiser of a portable SSD, but it packs a punch


Available capacities: 480GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TBDimensions: 145mm x 74mm x 23mmImage read/write speeds: 612/278MB/sVideo read/write speeds: 645/481MB/s


 A stunning speed of reading

 Shockproofing of military grade

 Quality construction in a class of its own


 Disappointingly average writing speeds

 Heavy and huge


This rugged Envoy Pro EX boasts military-grade MIL-STD810G drop protection thanks to its removable rubberized bumper and bombproof build quality. However, all this ruggedness does come at a price: bulk. Its size and weight with the bumper are nearly as big as rival Sandisk or WD portable SSDs, and it even outweighs the power brick for our top-end laptop.

Fortunately, the Envoy Pro EX offers exceptional performance thanks to its NVMe SSD technology and Thunderbolt 3 connection (4x faster than USB 3.1 Gen 2)

In CrystalDiskMark’s sequential read/write test, the maximum speed reached was 1440MB/s and 726MB/s, respectively, although this was much lower than OWC’s claimed “up to 2800MB/s”. The performance of a real-world file transfer is always slower than it is in a synthetic benchmark test, but when we transferred one massive video file at a peak speed of 995MB/s, we recorded a significant improvement, although this figure did drop as the transfer progressed, leaving a final average video read speed of 645MB/s – still very fast. As a result, multiple image files can be read at an average speed of 612MB/s, but writing multiple images at just 278MB/s results in significant performance degradation. During the transfer, the image write rate peaked at a healthier 413MB/s, but the drive could not keep up, resulting in a slower average speed.

There are four capacities available for the Envoy Pro EX: 460GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB – the latter is unusual for portable SSDs, so it’s perfect for storing and moving 4K or even 8K video files.

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  Lexar SL200 Portable SSD

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Lexar SL660 Blaze 1TB Gaming Portable External SSD


Available capacities: 512GB, 1TB, 2TBDimensions: 86 x 60 x 9.5mmImage read/write speeds: 384/267MB/sVideo read/write speeds: 448/289MB/s


 Performance was decent

 Well-built and small


 Pricing above average

 SSDs with NVMe technology are faster


There are several portable SSDs offered by Lexar, which is a brand normally associated with excellent memory cards and card readers. It measures an easily portable 86 x 60 x 9.5mm, making the SL200 an ideal choice. The matte silver finish looks great next to most modern laptops, and the build quality feels reassuringly solid.

We clocked the drive at a maximum of 448/289MB/s when reading/writing one large video file – a best-case real-world speed scenario. Lexar advertises maximum write/read speeds of 550/400MB/s, which is relatively typical for non-NVMe SSDs. Large quantities of small image files slow down any SSD, but the SL200 managed to read/write at a reasonable 384/267MB/s rate when it transferred large numbers of small images. In terms of speed, the Lexar SSD is roughly comparable to Samsung’s similarly-compact T5, though that SSD tends to be cheaper when compared to Lexar’s equivalent capacity.

A USB 3.1 Type-C port on the Lexar SL200 connects the drive to a computer, and the drive has 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacity options. Cables are included for USB Type-C to Type-C and Type-C to Type-A connections.

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  Transcend ESD250C

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Available capacities: 960GBDimensions: 120 x 33.6 x 7.5mmImage read/write speeds: 327/305MB/sVideo read/write speeds: 464/328MB/s


 Portable and very slim

 A commendable effort


 It is not possible to increase the capacity


This offering from Transcend is perfect for anyone looking for a seriously slim SSD. It is 7.5mm thick, which is much thinner than most portable SSDs, and is only 33.6mm wide even though it measures 120mm long. A space-grey finish complements Apple products particularly well on the matte aluminum outer casing, which looks the part too.

You can format the drive for Windows or Mac using Transcend’s bundled Elite software, or you can connect it directly to an Android mobile device using USB On-The-Go. Various cables are included to allow desktop, laptop, and phone connection, including USB Type-C to Type-C and Type-C to Type-A cables.

In addition to a modern USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface, the drive has a speed rating of 10 Gbit/s, which is more than enough to achieve its claimed read and write speeds of 520MB/s and 460MB/s. In CrystalDiskMark, we actually achieved even faster read/write speeds of 564/476MB/s, although our real-world tests were generally slower.  addition to 464/328MB/s video read/write speeds, the ESD250C also achieved 327/305MB/s read/write speeds when shifting images. A 960GB drive can be any size you like, as long as it’s 960GB in size.

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 WD My Passport SSD

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Best portable SSD of 2023

Crucial X8 1TB Portable SSD

Compact and a great looker, but slightly slower than the competiton


Available capacities: 256GB-2TBDimensions: 90 x 45 x 10mmImage read/write speeds: 234/198MB/sVideo read/write speeds: 392/201MB/s


+Slim and sexy design

+2TB option


-Not as fast as some rivals

-Larger capacities a little overpriced


With its metal-effect casing and slim 90 x 45 x 10mm size, the My Passport SSD is certainly one of the more stylish portable SSDs out there. Additionally, this is one of the smaller portable SSDs available. Currently, the 512GB model is at the sweet spot in terms of price/capacity at £80, and comes in 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities. With the USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C connection, you’ll be able to transfer data at high speeds, and WD comes with a Type-C to Type-A adapter for computers without Type-C ports.

While the My Passport SSD performs well, it is not quite up to par with the best. It reads large video files at a rate of 392MB/s, but it writes large video files at a rate of 201MB/s, which is rather pedestrian. When transferring multiple image files, the reading and writing speeds of 234MB/s are perfectly adequate, but they’re not spectacular.

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 WD My Passport Wireless SSD

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Best portable SSD of 2023

WD 250GB My Passport Wireless SSD External Portable Drive

An innovative and versatile product that’s great if you shoot in the field


Available capacities: 250GB-2TBDimensions: 135 x 135 x 30mmImage read/write speeds: 350/285MB/sVideo read/write speeds: 290/256MB/s


 Reader for SD cards built-in

 Backup with a single touch

 Stream images and videos


 Per GB, the price is expensive

 It is relatively heavy and bulky


A typical portable SSD, this one is available in capacities of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB. It boasts reasonable read/write speeds of 350/285MB/s during sustained video file transfers, and folders of images can be transferred at an equally rapid 290/256MB/s.

With the Passport’s built-in SD card reader, you can back up your images directly from the card without needing to use a computer. It’s more than just an SSD. It can be used as stand-alone storage during a shoot.

The Passport can also act as a wireless media server, so you can view your photos or videos on your smartphone if the drive has a Wi-Fi hotspot. Raw images are also viewable on the drive, and 4K video can be streamed wirelessly.

All this is powered by a built-in battery that can last for up to 10 hours, and it can also double as a power bank when you don’t need all-day power. 

If you can live without the shock protection of the soft rubber bumper, you can shed a few millimeters from its size by removing it.

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Five things to look for in a portable SSD

  1. Bounce back

Drops are much less likely to damage SSDs than conventional hard disk drives because they do not contain sensitive moving parts.

  1. Formatting: Mac or Windows?

There are some drives that have been pre-configured for either Windows or Mac. By using the right software, these settings can almost always be changed.

  1. Feel the speed

The speed at which an SSD will transfer a batch of image files is not comparable to its speed at which it will shift a single video file of the same size.

  1. Well connected

It is not necessary to purchase a separate power brick for all portable SSDs because they are powered by USB connections.

  1. Little extras

Additional extras may include backup software, encryption, or even complimentary cloud storage offered by some manufacturers.