It is this author’s opinion that 2015 should be the ‘Year of the Backup’. It is 2015 and almostno one takes backups. And even those of us who do take backups, well, we don’t do it often enough.
Originally the problem of backing up was not having a reliable, yet automated program. (Much less an easy way to restore a backup, if needed.) But Windows 7 has a good backup system now and Windows 8 has an even better one. And Mac OS X has had its excellent TimeMachine feature for quite a while now. So these are now non-issues. This leaves only one question: Where to back up to?
Tape drives were never a good choice for consumers, CD-Rs and DVD+Rs were too small and too slow. And until recently, most external hard drives were big, bulky, and required a power brick to be plugged in just to run them. Oh, and they were somewhat slow running over the USB 2.0 port.
Fortunately, technology has reached a point where portable, self-powered USB 3.0 hard drives the size of a deck of cards can hold a full 1 to 2 TB! And they’re fast, too!
Update 15-Feb-2015! Two new drives have been added to the review: The HGST Touro Mobile vs the Samsung P3 Portable.
For this review, we picked out a portable USB 3.0 hard drive from 5 major manufacturers, WD, Seagate, Toshiba, HGST, and Samsung and put each drive through its paces.
In the 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drives for under $20 review last month, it was noted that the incredibly small Leef Supra 3.0 was a blazing fast contender. The only thing faster was the large SanDisk Extreme and that was the funny thing: SanDisk didn’t have a tiny USB 3.0 drive! Up until now, the only thing SanDisk had in this category was the Cruzer Fit, a USB 2.0 drive.
Well, SanDisk just released the Ultra Fit USB 3.0 drive which appears to be positioned exactly to compete against the Leef Supra 3.0. The question is “How does it perform?”
After reviewing the whole SanDisk SD card line-up recently, it seems obvious that we all need to move more and more data around, faster and faster. So how to choose which SD card reader for getting pictures and videos off our cameras?
Looking on Amazon.com reveals a whole mess of USB 3.0 SD card readers. Some as cheap as $5, others are more expensive costing $10 and $15. But how do you really know what you’re getting? The average Amazon.com review isn’t all that comprehensive.
Three USB 3.0 SD card readers were picked from the pile (all around $10), put under the microscope, and then a bunch of SD cards were thrown at them to see what happened. Surprisingly, each SD reader had its own advantages and disadvantages with no clear winner. Choosing which one will come down to personal preference, mostly.
When reviewing the Top 16GB USB flash drives under $20 of 2014, it was observed that the ever-tiny Leef Supra 3.0 was surprisingly fast for such a small thing. This warranted a closer comparison to something like a Lexar 633x MicroSDHC card (with USB 3.0 Lexar reader) which was a tad larger, but overall, pretty close to the same size. In addition to this, a generic USB 2.0 MicroSD card reader was thrown in for contrast.
The nagging question was “How does the Leef stack up to the competition?”
Whether you call it a jump drive, thumb drive, key drive, zip drive, or that thinga-ma-jig, the USB flash drive is an amazing piece of technology. Oh sure, there’s “the cloud” where you can store all your data on some server controlled by “the man”, but there’s nothing like having your data right in the palm of your hand on a nice little chunk of nearly indestructable Flash memory. (okay, seriously, don’t take a hammer to it. That will end badly.) But wow, have flash drives grown!
Originally, they were just a handful of megabytes restricted to a slow USB 1.1 interface. Now they’re all grown-up; 8, 16, and even 32 Gigabytes are common! And now they’re on the fancy, new USB 3.0 with its 5 Gigabits per second interface. (That’s a scorchingly fast 625 MB/s!)
Now that the future has arrived and USB 3.0 is found on all new computers, laptops, and tablets, what is the best flash drive to buy? Well, that’s a tricky question. Most people do not have a lot of money to throw around so this article is focused on keeping the cost under $20. And to keep things even, let us also look at only 16GB drives — A common size in this day and age. Which invites the question:
What’s the best 16GB USB 3.0 flash drive for under $20?