While cloud storage has put a huge dent in the need for small storage devices to act as a kind of sneaker-net, there's still a place for external storage devices. When it comes to remote backups or moving large volumes of data, external hard drives are still very useful. With portable hard drives, reliability and performance are of paramount concern. That's why I've been looking forward to testing the Western Digital My Passport SSD and LaCie Rugged USB-C drives out.
|Item||My Passport SSD||LaCie Rugged USB-C|
|Capacity||512GB (256GB and 1TB also available)||4TB (1TB and 2TB also available)|
|Dimensions||90 x 45 x 10mm||135 x 86 x 26mm|
|Interfaces||USB 3.1 using USB-C (USB-C toUSB-A adaptor included)||USB 3 using USB-C (USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables included|
|Street price (as tested)||$329||$449|
WD My Passport SSD
It's hard to believe the My Passport can pack up to 1TB of space in such a tiny package. It was barely noticeable in my bag - there were times when had to do some serious digging to even find it as it's so compact and light. The supplied cable comes with a handy, but easy-to-lose adaptor so it can be easily shared with folks who haven't yet made the leap to USB-C.
WD ships the My Passport SSD with a bunch of Windows and macOS tools so you can set up drive security and use the drive as a backup location.
File copies, to and from the drive, using a combination of small and large files rate the drive at around the 440 Mbps mark inn either direction. the actual performance you'll achieve will depend on the files you'll move but that's pretty fast in anyone's language.
This is WD's first foray into using SSD's for portable drives and the combination of style and performance make this a great option of you're looking for a way to carry and share large files.
LaCie Rugged USB-C
If there's one thing you can say about LaCie - it's that they make their drives to stand out in a crowd. The chunky design of the Rubbed USB-C, created by designer Neil Poulton, has a very bright orange silicone surround that can be removed should you want something a little less ostentatious attached to your computer. But then you'd miss out on some of that impact protection.
Even the USB-C to USB-C cable is bright orange - no chance of someone grabbing it by mistake and saying it's theirs I guess.
Although it's ruggedised it's not waterproof. It will survive a drop from about a metre without any ill-effects - at least my review unit didn't win I "accidentally" let it fall off the edge of of a bench onto a concrete floor.
Performance was solid. This isn't an SSD so we're never going to see the same sort of performance as the WD My Passport but it pulls a commendable read and write rate of between 130Mbps and 140Mbps.
LaCie made their name by making stylish devices that were firmly picked at the Mac user market. And, with good reason, they had a reputation for spotty reliability. But, they've been part of the Seagate family for some time now and, in my experience, they haven't had the same issues and challenges.
Both these drives, in my testing, delivered on their promise. The WD My Passport SSD was fast and took up almost no space in my already cluttered satchel. And the LaCie Rugged USB-C is robust with solid, if unspectacular performance.
If I was needing to open my wallet, I'd probably grab the WD - but that's what suits my specific use-case. For others, the ruggedised design of the LaCie might be a better fit although I can't help wondering if water-proofing would make this a better proposition for those after an "all weather" portable storage solution.