What is a portable SSD

The best external SSD up to 500 GB storage

02/16/2021 Fast-paced external SSD in credit card format and USB connection instead of a clunky hard drive! COMPUTER BILD has tested current models. You can find the best external SSD here.

  • Very fast access time when reading
  • Very fast access time when writing
  • Light weight
  • Somewhat slow typing speed
  • Somewhat slow reading pace
  • Short connection cable
  • Fast access time when reading
  • Very light weight
  • Somewhat slow typing speed
  • Somewhat slow reading pace
  • Very slow access time when writing
  • Short connection cable
  • High copying speed via USB connection
  • Memory card reader, USB port and WiFi
  • Long battery life (8:48 hours)
  • Robust construction
  • Unstable WiFi, sporadic disconnections
  • Low copying speed via WLAN
  • Fast access time when reading
  • Light weight
  • Somewhat slow typing speed
  • Somewhat slow reading pace
  • Slow access time when writing
  • Short connection cable
  • Decent speed (up to 474 MB / sec.)
  • Very easy
  • Slow for very small files
  • Fast access time when writing
  • Fast access time when reading
  • Light weight
  • Slow typing speed
  • Somewhat slow reading pace
  • Short connection cable
  • Moderate speed (max. 371 MB / sec.)
  • Very fast access time when reading
  • Very fast access time when writing
  • Light weight
  • Somewhat slow typing speed
  • Somewhat slow reading pace
  • Short connection cable
  • Fast access time when reading
  • Very light weight
  • Somewhat slow typing speed
  • Somewhat slow reading pace
  • Very slow access time when writing
  • Short connection cable
  • High copying speed via USB connection
  • Memory card reader, USB port and WiFi
  • Long battery life (8:48 hours)
  • Robust construction
  • Unstable WiFi, sporadic disconnections
  • Low copying speed via WLAN
  • Fast access time when reading
  • Light weight
  • Somewhat slow typing speed
  • Somewhat slow reading pace
  • Slow access time when writing
  • Short connection cable
  • Decent speed (up to 474 MB / sec.)
  • Very easy
  • Slow for very small files
  • Fast access time when writing
  • Fast access time when reading
  • Light weight
  • Slow typing speed
  • Somewhat slow reading pace
  • Short connection cable
  • Moderate speed (max. 371 MB / sec.)
-->

The best external SSD with USB connection


Small, quiet and robust, SSDs are now an extremely fast alternative to conventional hard drives, including the external version. The compact disks have up to 4 TB of storage capacity and can be easily connected to a laptop, tablet or as a recording device to a smart TV via a USB port. In order to take full advantage of the high speed of the external SSD, the latest USB generation is essential. In the test, models that are robust and quiet also convince. In terms of price, SSDs are still significantly more expensive than classic external hard drives: 500 GB cost around 160 euros, 1 TB usually over 300 euros.

External SSD in the test: That is what counts


Samsung, SanDisk, Trekstor and other manufacturers offer external SSDs in different sizes and designs. What you should pay attention to when comparing, also in contrast to external hard drives:
  • Storage capacity: External SSDs have a maximum storage capacity of 4 TB. For comparison: HDD hard drives are also available with up to 14 TB of storage. The more storage space you need, the more expensive (and often larger) the external SSD becomes.
  • Dimensions and weight: External SSDs are significantly smaller and lighter than hard drives. The best models in the test only weighed around 60 grams and were a few inches in size.
  • Workmanship: Another advantage of external SSDs is the workmanship and robustness. The panels usually withstand falls from a height of around half a meter without any problems and are insensitive to vibrations.
  • Write and read speed: An external SSD shows its strengths especially when executing large programs, for example the operating system. The best models in the test achieve speeds of up to 500 MB / s and more. A distinction is made between writing and reading speed. The maximum read rate is usually higher than the write speed.
  • USB connection: In order for the external SSD to reach maximum speed at all, the type of connection is decisive. The latest and greatest models in the test have a USB 3.1 port. It is fundamentally important that the laptop, computer or television also support the same USB technology. Tip: USB cables are often included with the external SSD. Be careful, however, of how long the cable is. Some manufacturers only supply very short USB cables.
  • Energy consumption: External SSDs are usually economical in their power consumption. For comparison: the larger 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch hard drives require three to ten watts. SSDs are often enough just 1.5 watts. This is especially good news for laptop users.
  • Volume: Due to their design without mechanical components, external SSDs are quieter than HDD hard drives. This is important, for example, if you want to use the SSD as a hard drive for playing films on the television.
The relatively high price for external SSDs is still not a test, but a purchase criterion. While a 2 terabyte hard drive costs only 70 to 100 euros, you pay more than 300 euros for an SSD that is half the size. And a 4 terabyte hard drive is available from 130 euros, an external SSD of the same size costs over 1000 euros.

Difference between SSD and HDD


In contrast to hard disks (HDD), SSDs do not have any mechanical, i.e. moving parts. A flash memory is installed, similar to a USB stick. Normal hard drives, on the other hand, consist of one or more magnetic disks. A moving head moves over the disks and writes or reads the data. As a result, HDDs are more sensitive to malfunctions and are usually significantly louder during operation.
As already described above, SSDs are compact, robust and extremely fast. As an internal as well as external variant, they are popular for executing very large programs. Since very large SSDs are very expensive, the following rule now applies to many computer and laptop owners: HDDs provide the storage capacity, SSDs the speed.
If the laptop or tablet doesn't have enough internal memory, external SSDs can simply be plugged in. Thanks to the USB connection, they are also ideally suited as a network disk. For example, you can save programs, videos and photos there, connect the external SSD to your router and several devices or people can access the data centrally. Another place of use is the smart TV - here the external SSD takes over the job of the video recorder. Conventional HDDs can also take over these functions, but due to the volume and the large construction, the hard drives are not always the first choice in these cases.

Decisive for the speed: the USB standard


With the introduction of USB in the mid-90s, it became possible to easily connect numerous devices with one another. Regardless of whether Windows, Linux, Android or iOS: The interface is now standard on most computers, notebooks, smartphones, cameras and other electronic devices, regardless of the operating system. Special software is usually not required for operation. In 2000 the USB 2.0 standard came onto the market, which enabled transfer rates of up to 480 Mbit / s - that was 40 times faster than the first generation at the time. External SSDs can also be operated with it, but their maximum performance is limited. Make sure that both the SSD and the devices you connect to it have at least USB 3.0 with a maximum of 5 Gbit / s, better still USB 3.1 (Type C) with up to 10 Gbit / s.
An alternative or competition to USB developed by Intel and Apple is Thunderbolt. The technology is based on PCI Express and the DisplayPort video connection standard and already achieved theoretical peak values ​​of 10 Gbit / s in the first generation. Thunderbolt 3 contains USB 3.1 and allows transfer rates of up to 40 Gbit / s. If you use a Mac, you will find some external SSDs with a Thunderbolt connection on the market.

Questions before you buy: External SSD or hard drive?


Since external SSDs are significantly more expensive than hard drives, it is worthwhile to think carefully before buying what you need the portable storage expansion device for and whether the investment is worthwhile. A few questions can help you make a decision:
How much storage do i need?
500 GB, 1 TB or more: the more storage capacity you need, the more expensive the external SSD becomes.
What do I want to save?
A conventional hard drive is usually sufficient to create a simple backup copy of photos, music and other files. If you want to work with large data and programs directly on the drive or hard disk, it is worth using the SSD. External SSDs are also suitable, for example, if you want to start the operating system directly from the disk.
Do I want to transport my data?
If you want to use the disk as a means of transport for data, for example between home and office, you should opt for an SSD.
Which devices do I want to connect the plate to?
If your laptop, tablet or smart TV only supports USB 2.0, it is not worth investing in an external SSD, as the technology limits the speed. If you want to use the external SSD as a video recorder or playback device on the television, an SSD is worthwhile because of its very quiet operation.

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The best external SSD up to 500 GB storage in comparison

placeproductgradeto offer
1.

Samsung

Portable SSD T5 500GB

2.

Verbatim

Vx500 USB 3.1 480GB