by Paul Mah

11 great data storage gifts this holiday season

Dec 09, 2015

Need more storage this holiday season? We’ve put together a list of 11 outstanding storage devices from USB flash drives to portable RAID rigs that range from dozens of gigabytes to a terabyte of storage.

Give the gift of gigabytes … or more

Let’s face it: In an almost all-digital world, backing up your data becomes more important every day. And to be clear, by “data,” we mean everything from your personal and business documents, entertainment media (music, movies, television programs), even your memories (more digital pictures and movies than you know what to do with, if you’re anything like us).

Our ability to safely store – and retrieve – these files is an essential part of our digital lifestyles. Not backing up your data is a veritable roll of the dice, because when it comes to computer backups, it’s not a question of IF a hard drive crash will cause you to lose important digital stuff, but WHEN it will happen … and how much stuff you’ll lose.

With that in mind, here are 11 of the best physical data storage options on the market right now. For some fantastic cloud-based alternatives, see “How to create a robust backup strategy with cloud services.”

1. Lexar JumpDrive P20 USB 3.0 Flash Drive

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The Lexar JumpDrive P20 USB 3.0 may be a mouthful to say, but is literally among the fastest USB flash drives that money can buy, with a read and write speed rated at up to 400MB/s and 270MB/s respectively. Assuming your PC can keep up, its insanely fast speed means you can transfer a full-length HD movie in less than 40 seconds. The drive sports a sleek metal alloy base and high-gloss mirror finish and is available in capacities of 32GB, 64GB and 128GB.

Price: from $34.99 (32GB)

2. SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.0 Flash Drive

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If you’re looking for a compact, unobtrusive flash drive you can plug in and leave in place, then the SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.0 Flash Drive is just what you need. Hook it up to your game console, TV, car audio system, or other USB-enabled device without worrying about it being knocked out accidentally. Its support for USB 3.0 also offers very respectable performance that leaves older USB 2.0-based drives in the dust. The SanDisk Ultra Fit is available in capacities of 32GB, 64GB and 128GB.

Price: from $6.99 (32GB)

3. G-Technology G-RAID USB Drive

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Work with large files and travel a lot? The G-RAID USB is a high-performance portable storage solution that sports an internal RAID controller – and two enterprise hard disk drives – inside an all-aluminum enclosure. The G-RAID USB supports USB 3.0 and offers the ability to choose between RAID 0 for performance, RAID 1 for protection, or JBOD for ample capacity.

Price: from $599.95 (8TB)

4. ToughTech Secure m3 storage enclosure

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The ToughTech Secure m3 is a portable drive enclosure to have if you travel with a portable drive and security is important for you. Data stored on its 2.5-inch hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD) is encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption implemented via hardware to keep your data safe from thieves and hackers. In addition, a unique “WriteProtect” toggle switches your drive to read-only mode to prevent accidental deletion of data, or to protect it against potential infection by malware when copying files to a third-party system.

Price: from $191 (enclosure only)

5. Samsung Portable SSD T1

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Samsung’s Portable SSD T1 drive is a supremely compact portable drive that offers fast read-writes speeds of 450MB/s, yet barely tips the scale at just over an ounce (30 grams). Its diminutive size means that it slips just as easily into a pocket or a porch in your laptop bag. Of course, the use of solid-state memory chips mean that the portable SSD drive can stand far more shock and vibration than a standard external HDD. The Samsung Portable SSD T1 is available in capacities of 250GB, 500GB and 1TB.

Price: $87.99 (250GB)

6. Synology DiskStation DS716+ NAS

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One of the newest Network-Attached Storage (NAS) appliance from storage veteran Synology, the DiskStation DS716+ offers both power and versatility in a compact two-bay package. With link aggregation enabled, the NAS delivers strong 223 MB/s and 137 MB/s read and write speeds, and dedicated hardware ensures very similar numbers even with encrypted file transfers. In addition, the DS716+ is also capable of performing 4K transcoding, on top of the rich capabilities that the popular Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) platform is known for.

Price: $618.88 (without disks)

7. ioSafe SOLO G3 External Drive

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Touted as the safest and most advanced external hard drive in the world, the ioSafe SOLO G3 is designed to offer extreme data protection against disasters of the physical kind. In a fire, the tough chassis can protect its internal 3.5-inch HDD at temperatures of up to 1,550°F for half an hour, and can survive being submerged in water at up to 10 feet for 72 hours. Finally, its fan-less design means it is totally silent and can be kept close at hand. The ioSafe SOLO G3 is available in capacities of 2TB, 3TB and 4TB.

Price: $349.99 (2TB)

8. Crucial BX200 SSD

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For users looking to switch out their ageing hard disk drives for faster flash storage, the Crucial BX200 is a highly affordable upgrade solution that delivers up to 540MB/s performance for normal day-to-day use. Its compelling price point is possible due to its use of cost effective TLC (Triple-level cell) NAND Flash under the hood, coupled with some fast SLC (single-level cell) memory that functions as a dedicated cache. The BX200 is available in capacities of 240GB, 480GB and 960GB.

Price: $84.99 (240GB)

9. Samsung SSD 950 Pro

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Dissatisfied with the performance of standard SSDs? Check out the next-gen Samsung’s SSD 950 Pro, a flash-based storage drive that plugs straight into a PCI Express slot. Available in the new M.2 form factor, the Samsung SSD 950 Pro’s delivers blistering read and write speeds of up to 2,500MB/s and 1,500MB/s respectively to run circles around traditional SSDs. The Samsung SSD 950 Pro is available in 256GB and 512GB capacities.

Price: $197.99 (256GB)

10. SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I memory card

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With a maximum capacity of 200GB, the SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I is currently the highest capacity microSD memory card that money can buy. The ample storage space is good for up to 20 hours of full HD video, and its fast transfer speed of up to 90MB/s means data can get transferred in a reasonable amount of time. SanDisk says its imaging cards are tested and proven to keep working in challenging conditions, and are essentially waterproof, X-ray proof, magnet proof and temperature proof.

Price: $149 (200GB)

11. Lexar Professional Workflow HR2 hub

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While not technically a storage device, Lexar’s Professional Workflow HR2 hub is highly appealing to users looking for a fast and easy way to transfer media files between PCs and storage cards. The hub is a really four bay device with built-in Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0. On its part, Lexar sells a variety of readers that plugs into the hub, allowing for multiple cards to be accessed at the same time. Readers are available for SDHC/SDXC, microSDHC/microSDXC, CompactFlash and CFast readers.

Price: $189.95