Best portable SSDs: SanDisk Extreme, Samsung T7, Kingston, more

Best Portable SSDs-SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

It’s time to take a look at the best on-the-go storage out there, from the SanDisk Extreme portable SSD to the latest from Samsung, and some of the best bang for your buck options. We have had a chance to go hands on with a number of options over the years as well as some of the most sought-after options on the market as of late, and some clear front runners have emerged for folks looking to scoop one up today. While the latest PNY models sit in a nice middle ground for those looking to save some cash, the SanDisk Extreme portable SSDs and Samsung’s T-series lineup still remain some of our favorite options, especially considering how often they go on sale. But there are some other solutions out there that deliver some serious value for the price. Head below for a closer look at our picks for the best portable SSDs – some of which are seeing some solid price drops right now. 

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2 lineup has quickly become one of the most popular options in the marketplace as well as for 9to5Toys readers, and rightfully so. There are a couple of different V2 options available with the standard-issue SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD and the SanDisk Extreme Pro model, but which is the best model for you?

Well, in most cases, as we detailed in our hands-on review, the base option is likely going to be more than enough for most users, as the main difference between the two comes by way of the data transfer rate speeds (1,050MB/s versus up to 2,000MB/s), but in many use case scenarios and with the gear most folks have in their kit, a good portion of setups out there aren’t even going to be to able reach the maximum speeds on the Extreme Pro edition. 

The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is easily one of the best options available with reliable performance, modern technology, and a particularly rugged build – it is obvious how well-built these drives are as soon as you pull them out of the packaging. You’re not going to get any color variations – the sort of navy blue with orange accents is the only option here – but the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2 from Western Digital remains one of the most compelling and highest quality solutions on the marketplace. And with prices coming down on the latest models, they have dropped from being one of the more expensive mini portable solid-state drives to delivering notable value for the price of entry. You’ll find a quick breakdown of the differences below, but the major takeaway here is that only serious power users with the highest-end gear and requirements should splurge for the pro model. 

  • SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2 from $105
    • Up to 1,050MB/s
    • USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2
    • Silicon shell
    • 2-meter drop protection
    • 5-year warranty
  • SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2 from $198
    • Up to 2,000MB/s
    • USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2
    • Forged aluminum chassis + silicon shell
    • 2-meter drop protection
    • 5-year warranty

Hands-on SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2 review

Samsung T7 Shield SSD

After the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD, there are a number of options you could take a look at from WD and others, but our top pick would have to be the latest model release from Samsung. The brand’s T-series portable SSDs have sat among the top options on the marketplace for quite some time, and Samsung refreshed the lineup earlier this year with the new T7 Shield portable SSD.

It might not feel as robust as the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD to some – it certainly didn’t to me — but it is quite robust nonetheless, features a unique look, comes in at a slightly lower price point than the SanDisk Extreme model, and is available in three unique colorways (black, blue, and beige). Having said all that, its specs are comparatively similar to that of the base model option highlighted above with a 1,050MB/s speed rating, a more protective drop rating at just under three feet, and a similar IP65 water and rustproof shell. Wrapped in a rubberized casing, the ridged grip form-factor only seems like a novel design choice until a more smooth frame slips out of your hands one day and you lose all of your data/content to a tough smash against the concrete or on the rocks when out in the field on your next shoot. 

  • Samsung T7 Shield from $117
    • Up to 1,050MB/s
    • USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2
    • Rubber exterior with “Dynamic Thermal Guard”
    • Nearly 3-meter drop protection
    • 3-year warranty

Hands-on Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD Review

Best bang for your buck model…

Beyond the Samsung and SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD range devices, there is some serious value to be had for folks that don’t carry the big name brand affliction some of us suffer from.

Enter in the Crucial X8 lineup and the Kingston XS2000. Both options come very closer in terms of specs and feature set as the models above with even more budget-conscious pricing. The Crucial X8 lineup delivers the same 1,050MB/s transfer rates as the most applicable models above with a price starting at $100. While they aren’t as protective in terms of the rubberized approach, you’ll still find aluminum unibody cores and up to 7.5-feet of drop protection.

The same goes for the Kingston XS2000 portable SSD, but this brings some serious value for the $70 starter price tag, with ratings up to 2000MB/s with USB-C connectivity and support for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 gear – the included rubber sleeve is a nice touch as well for the price.

An honorable mention goes to the 2022 model PNY EliteX-PRO lineup that now starts from $65.99 with new Amazon all-time low pricing available across the board. These might not be as rugged as the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSDs, but they deliver even faster speeds than the base model as well as offer USB-C connectivity, and they should definitely be on your radar when it comes to the best portable SSD solutions – they just aren’t quite as fast as the Kingston mentioned above.

What is the best portable SSD for your needs?

When it comes down to it, it’s really a matter of speed versus budget. If you don’t need the fastest possible transfer speeds, you’re better off opting for a more budget-conscious model. Just keep in mind that at this point, the industry standard, so to speak, has essentially settled at 1,050MB/s, and pricing for those models has come down drastically over the last year or more with the SanDisk Extreme portable SSD featured above being a good example of that. It’s also important to consider that if speed really isn’t important for your needs, you can save even more by skipping out on the solid-state options for a traditional hard drive where the cost per TB is drastically less expensive. Just keep in mind that most folks consider the moving parts on HDDs to generally be less reliable than the SSD counterparts, although I have had great luck with most of the brand name options I’ve used over the years, especially so in situations where they essentially sit on a desktop at all times.

What are the most important features of a portable SSD?

The most important features on a portable SSD, like with most tech gear, are entirely based on your particular needs. If you require something that can keep up with rigorous work in the wild, out on rugged drone and filmmaking shoots, the more protective solutions from SanDisk, G-DRIVE, Samsung, and more are a great route to take, especially the SanDisk Extreme Pro model for example. For some speedy, mostly at-home storage action or even when it comes to the best portable SSD for gaming, you can probably save some cash and opt for something in our bang-for-your-buck category above. Just keep in mind that most folks, including myself, do recommend something from the big brands when it comes to the best portable SSD for photographers and video editing.

Where to buy portable SSDs?

Like most electronics these days, Amazon is a great option and tends to have the best deals on all of the models we featured above as well as hard disk options and more. But it’s always good to double-check with retailers like Best Buy and B&H if you’re not willing to wait for the particularly notable prices we feature here on 9to5Toys on a regular basis.

How to score a portable SSD deal?

Well, the short answer is here at 9to5Toys. We have featured the best prices ever/of the year on the SanDisk Extreme portable SSD, the T7 Shield, the Crucial X8, and the Kingston model, as well as others. Stay locked to our Twitter and social feeds for up-to-the-minute price drops on portable SSDs, NAS, microSD cards, and well, just about everything else.

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