Portable External Hard Drive Review – Get One For Your Genealogy Research Today!

In a previous post, read about it here, I talked about a great device for genealogy researchers. That device is a portable external hard drive. Why is a great tool for genealogy research you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you why. With a portable external hard drive, your research goes everywhere you go. All of it…all of your pictures you compiled of relatives, cemetery signs, grave sites, pictures you’ve collected through research for newspaper articles plus everything in your family tree!

A portable external hard drive, like the ones listed in this portable external hard drive review, is perfect for the traveling genealogist. Take them on vacation, to the library with you while you research, to the office to work on during breaks, etc. With a portable external hard drive, you are completely mobile, but also you’ll have a place where all of your research is backed up.  A safe place in case something happens to your paper files and/or your family tree database you store in one of the many online genealogy sites.


For this review, I’ll be going over the following aspects for each of the six portable external hard drives I have included in this review.

Overall Rank

Product Description

Pros & Cons

Guarantee (YES, NO)

Product Specifications

At the end of the review, you’ll have enough information to decide for yourself if one of these units is for you or not.


Toshiba HDTB410XK3AA Canvio Basics 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0, Black

Overall Rank #1

Rated #1 for the price and value it delivers

Product Description

This product is a streamlined unit with a surface that is smudge-resistant. The unit is very small and will easily fit into a purse or bag. The unit is plug and play, meaning you just plug it into your computer or laptop and it installs the necessary data and it’s ready to go in seconds!

Pros & Cons

The pros for this unit are that is light-weight (5.3 oz.) and durable and is smudge-resistant. The unit is 1TB of memory, is small ( 4.3 x 3.1 x 0.55 in), and will ship for free from Amazon. It is also reasonably priced, has really great reviews from Amazon and is easy to use. It has 4.4 out of 5 possible stars on Amazon from 4,376 reviews total!

The major con is that it is not Mac ready, but is easy to set up for Mac users by going into applications, utilities, disk utility, erase tab, format and then select Mac OS and then click erase. I read a lot of reviews for the unit and many of the users noted it is very easy to set up for Mac users and works great with a Mac.

Guarantee (YES) – Comes with a one-year standard warranty.

Product Specifications

Compatible with 3.0 and 2.0 USB. Weighs 5.3 oz. and is 4.3 x 3.1 x 0.55 in. The unit comes in only black, is smudge-resistant and has a matte finish. You can purchase it in classic or contemporary style. Memory available in either 1TB, 2 TB or 3TB with additional cost for each memory size. Plug and play capable with no power cord needed. USB cord included to attach to USB drive in your computer.


WD 1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive – USB 3.0 – WDBUZG0010BBK-WESN

Overall Rank #2

Product Description

Compact device with fast transfer rates. It is lightweight and can easily be stowed in a purse, laptop bag or other carrying apparatus. Works with either 2.0 or 3.0 USB and has plug and play capability.

Pros & Cons

The pros for this unit would be the fast transfer rates, it is plug and play except for Mac users, it is lightweight and portable, it comes in 1TB-4TB of memory, and weights just 1 pound! It has 4.3 out of 5 possible stars on Amazon from 1,433 reviews total!

The cons are that the unit is not plug and play for Mac users and must be formatted to work with Mac, although this process does not seem difficult at all. Also, some users left reviews about issues with power failure and the cord not functioning properly.

Guarantee – Does not say anything about a guarantee

Product Specifications

Includes 1 Tb, but can be purchased in 2TB, 3TB, or 4TB. Unit is black, weighs just 1 lb. and is 5.08 x 1.81 x 5.59 inches. The memory type is DDR3 SDRAM, works with either Mac or PC, and has one processor.


Silicon Power 1TB Rugged Portable External Hard Drive Armor A30, Shockproof USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, Xbox and PS4, Black

Overall Rank #3

Product Description

The unit is military-grade Shockproof, is scratch-resistant, and has 1TB of memory. The unit is very lightweight and features a 3 year warranty. Color choices are black/green, black/orange and silver.

Pros & Cons

The pros include being shockproof, it weighs 7.2 oz., and a choice of three colors. It comes with a 3-year manufacturer warranty and ships to the US and some other countries. It is also scratch-resistant and appears to be durable. It has 4.3 out of 5 possible stars on Amazon from 1,622 reviews total!

The major con, which I gathered from reading the reviews, is that it seems like quite a few people had trouble with them dying out after a short time…days to a few months after purchase. Some other reviews spoke negatively about the durability.

Guarantee – 3 Year manufacturer warranty

Product Specifications

The unit is 5.3 x 3.4 x 0.7 and comes in either 1TB or 500GB of memory. It is a 3.0 USB drive with 2.0 backward compatible.


Silicon Power 1TB Rugged Portable External Hard Drive Armor A80, Waterproof USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, Xbox and PS4, Blue

Overall Rank #4

Product Description

Unit has an aluminum casing which protects it from force applied up to 500 KG. It is shockproof and waterproof and it also has a built in area for cable carrying.

Pros & Cons

The pros of the unit are that it has a sleek design and is lightweight at 9.6 Oz. It is available in black, blue, green and red. It is shockproof, waterproof and resistant to force of up to 500 KG and is backed by a 3 year warranty. The ergonomic design has a built in area for carrying the cable and comes with 2 SuperSpeed 3.0 USB cables. It has 4.1 out of 5 possible stars on Amazon from 1,098 reviews total!

The major con is that the reviews on this unit show 10% gave a 1 star. That’s quite a bit higher than the average for other similar units. Many of the negative reviews are related to the durability not living up to par.

Guarantee – 3 Year manufacturer warranty

Product Specifications

Military-grade for shockproof and also waterproof. Built to withstand 500KG of force and contains an area to place the cable to keep it handy. The unit has 1TB of memory or can be purchased with 2TB.


WD 1TB My Passport Ultra Silver Portable External Hard Drive, USB-C – WDBC3C0010BSL-WESN

Overall Rank #5

Product Description

Sleek designed, very lightweight model that comes in 1-4 TB of memory.  Weighs in at just 4.6 oz!  Comes with a 3 year manufacturer warranty.

Pros & Cons

The pros are that it is available in either silver or blue and also it can be purchased with either 1TB, 2TB or 4TB of memory. The RAM is 4TB and it can be used with Windows or Mac. The unit is very lightweight at just 4.6 oz and is 4.33 x 3.21 x 0.5 inches. It comes with a 3-year manufacturer warranty and has a very sleek, metallic design.

The cons are that it just became available in September 2018 (a couple of weeks ago from the date of this post) so the unit is newly available and has no reviews. New technology is always nice, but you are blind as to what to expect from the product.

Guarantee – 3 year warranty

Product Specifications

The unit is 4.33 x 3.21 x 0.5 inches and weighs in at just 4.6 oz! It is lightweight and portable. The USB cable is 3.0, the RAM is 4TB and the unit can come in up to 4TB of memory.


ADATA HD710 1TB USB 3.0 Waterproof/Dustproof/ Shock-Resistant External Hard Drive, Yellow (AHD710-1TU3-CYL)

Overall Rank #6

Rated for the lower reviews

Product Description

This portable external hard drive is shock-resistant, waterproof and dust proof. It is available in multiple colors and levels of memory.

Pros & Cons

The pros for this unit are that it is available in black, blue, camo and yellow. It is shockproof, waterproof and dust proof. The external drive has a built in carry feature for the cord and is a 3.0 USB. The drive is very lightweight at just 7.84 oz, is backed by a limited 3-year warranty, and comes in 1TB, 2TB, 3TB or 4TB of memory. This unit has a rating of 4.1 stars out of 5 from 252 reviews on amazon.

The major con is that the hard drive has 12% reviews with a 1 star and only 64% with a 5 star. Another con is that it was first available in 2012, but only has 252 reviews available.

Guarantee – 3 years limited warranty

Product Specifications

This portable external hard drive is 1TB, but comes in up to 4TB. It is shock-resistant, waterproof and dust proof.


The Toshiba HDTB410XK3AA Canvio Basics 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0, Black Is #1

In summary, I have provided details for six different portable external hard drive units available on Amazon. A portable external hard drive is a must have for a tech savvy genealogist today because your research can go where you go. Back up your family tree file on one. Save all the newspaper clippings and pictures you come across onto it. Take pictures and/or scan all of your genealogy notes. With an external hard drive you can literally carry your family research in the palm of your hand!

All six of these units have fairly decent reviews, 4.1-4.4 stars, available on Amazon, but my top pick is the Toshiba HDTB410XK3AA Canvio Basics 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0, Black. This unit has the best overall ratings, is one of the cheapest models at $49.99 and provides the most bang for your buck! Pick it up today at amazon!

Toshiba HDTB410XK3AA Canvio Basics 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0, Black

I hope you have enjoyed this portable external hard drive review. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I’ll be happy to get back to you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chas Guevara

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6 thoughts on “Portable External Hard Drive Review – Get One For Your Genealogy Research Today!

  1. I like Silicon Power 1TB . It seems it has enough space to do my research. With that being said is 3-year warranty enough? I am complete beginner about this stuff and I wonder about it a lot.

    1. Hi there. The 1T is a huge amount of space and would take forever to use up. I have had mine for about 10 years now and had owned my own real estate company. I also go to school full-time, do all my own taxes, etc. Everything I do goes onto my external portable hard drive and that way everywhere I go, it goes to. It is a great investment! A 3 year warranty is a very good amount of time to determine if the unit is going to work out. Thank you for stopping by! If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

  2. Hey, thank you for sharing this very informative article, very detailed information on the products to give the people a good description and knowledge so they do not have to do their own research themselves, everything needed to know is right here.

    Great article:-), Have a great day and all the success, health and happiness that you deserve and desire. Take care.

    Kind regards.

    Dean.

    1. Hi Dean…I am glad you liked my article. I was trying to be as thorough as possible to help people who maybe do not have enough time to research the options. I wish you a great day and success as well!

  3. Great gadgets, I may need a 1TB for USB 3.0
    The Armor A80 sounds very good, very resistant
    Very useful to carry everywhere, fits even in your pocket
    Thanks for sharing

    1. Hi Marian, yes they are all great gadgets! They are useful and the size is really great for taking everywhere with you. Thanks for stopping by!

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