It wasn’t all that long ago that getting one terrabyte of storage was prohibitively expensive. And big. External drives took up about as much space on your desktop as the Gideon Bible. But the price of memory has plunged, while the amount of storage has almost exploded and the size of memory devices has been shrinking. That’s a good thing too. Just think about how much of our lives has moved onto digital media. Shoeboxes of photographs have become countless gigabits of uncatalogued digital photographs. Our vinyl records, eight track tapes, and CD’s are now in MP3”s or Hi Res music files. There are other trends at work as well. How many of us now have huge video libraries? Those video files rapidly consumer hundreds of megabytes. And the amount of storage on tablets, notebooks, and especially Chromebooks hasn’t kept up with the demand for storage. We found five devices that are indicative of the new trend in portable storage that will allow us to take our libraries of videos, music, and photographs, not to mention documents, wherever we go to use on almost whatever device we want. Memory comes in several shapes and many sizes. We’re all familiar with so-called thumb drives. Well, you can now get a quarter or a terrabyte on a single flash drive.
Thumb Drives (USB Sticks) – The Lexar S75 Jump Drive – It still seems amazing to me that they can squeeze 256 GB of memory on a portable USB stick. This drive uses USB 3.0 for much faster data transfer, something you’ll really appreciate if you’re moving movies or your music library. With the S75 you can now put your entire music library in your pocket. Price on the Lexar website is $207.
SanDisk SD and Micro SD cards – SD cards are still the standard size for most DSLR cameras and many video cameras. The biggest we’ve seen is the 512GB Extreme Pro UHS-I SDXC U3 Memory Card. This half terabyte monster is designed to capture the new 4K video format. It may well be more than any amateur photographer will ever need, and it carries a hefty pricetag, roughly $500. But think back to the days when you vacationed and came back with dozens of rolls of 35mm film that all needed to be developed and printed. Now you can go away for weeks and just take this one card with you.
Micro SD cards, which are miniature versions of the full sized SD card are now the standard for some laptops, many tablets, and most action cameras. The biggest we’ve heard of is a new 200GB card announced by Sandisk in March of this year, The card will hold roughly 2o hours of Full HD video. It should be hitting the store shelves shortly for a price of $400. Til then, the biggest micro SD card that’s generally available is 128GB from several manufacturers for under $100.
Portable plug in external drives – Seagate’s BackUp Plus delivers 2 terabytes of memory in a package that’s about half the thickness of a deck of playing cards. This pocket size portable comes in several colors for just about $100. At 2TB, it’s large enough to carry your library of just about everything. It uses USB 3.0 for fast transfer. It’s ideal if you want to take a huge video library on the road, or store the contents of you desktop computer in a safe deposit box. It also comes in handy if you’re traveling with something like a Chromebook and you don’t have your entire world stored in the cloud.
Wireless portable storage. WD My Passport Wireless – The other big player in portable external storage, Western Digital, has a portable wireless drive that uses Wi-Fi to transfer data. Storage sizes run up to 2TB at just about $200. It has a built-in SD card slot so you can transfer photos in the field. And while most portable storage devices rely on power from the USB port, the My Passport Wireless has a built-in rechargeable battery.