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Event Coverage

HWM+HardwareZone.com Tech Awards 2013: Editor's Choice - Part 2

By Team HardwareZone - 18 Mar 2013

Best 2.5-inch Portable External HDD

Best 2.5-inch Portable External HDD

Since its introduction in 2010, USB 3.0 has slowly but surely become commonplace. Now, it is unthinkable for a new desktop system or notebook PC to ship without USB 3.0 connectivity. Likewise for portable hard disks, 2012 saw a number of new USB 3.0 portable external hard drives hit the market.

To make the cut for this category, the drive must be in offered in a 1TB capacity option and must have USB 3.0 connectivity. As for selecting the winner, we paid close attention to the drives’ raw performance. But that’s not all. Ease of use, bundled software and additional features such as exchangeable interface adapters all play an important part in determining which is the best drive.



  • Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt
  • G Technology G Drive Mobile USB
  • Imation M300
  • Seagate Backup Plus
  • Verbatim Store ’n’ Go
  • Western Digital My Passport


And the Winner Is...

Seagate Backup Plus

Though little separated our nominees in terms of performance, the Seagate Backup Plus is our overall top pick because it combines its good performance with an excellent feature-set and great usability. A key to the Seagate’s victory in this highly competitive category is its unique Universal Storage Module (USM) interface. The USM allows users to change the interface of the drive. The drive, by default, comes with a USB 3.0 adapter, but additional adapters that support Thunderbolt and FireWire 800 interfaces can be purchased separately. Furthermore, PC-DIY users would also find its adapter-less form interesting as it can hook up to your system's SATA data and power connections directly, if such flexibility is ever needed.

Seagate’s triumph in this category was also helped by its new Dashboard 2.0 backup software. Not only is the new backup utility intuitive and extremely user-friendly, it also features integration with social media sites like Facebook and Flickr, so users can easily backup their photos. Seagate also promised integration with additional social media services in the near future.

Amongst its competitors, the Imation Apollo Expert M300 came closest to challenging the Seagate Backup Plus with its formidable combination of features and affordability. The Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt deserves special mention too as it combines both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interfaces in a single enclosure. Here's a snapshot of the performance aspects:-

Take note that we have revised the ratings of some of the drives that were previously reviewed to better factor in the current playing field and new price points since the were first evaluated.

Scoring Breakdown
Criteria/Model  Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt G Drive Mobile USB Imation Apollo Expert M300 Seagate Backup Plus Verbatim Store 'n' Go Western Digital My Passport
Design 8.0 7.5 7.5 8.5 7.5 7.5
 Performance 7.5
(adjusted up from 7.0 in original review)
7.5 8.0 8.0
(adjusted down from 9.0 in original review)
7.5 8.0
 Features 8.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 7.5 7.0
 Value 6.5
(adjusted up from 4.0 in original review)
5.0 9.0 8.0
(adjusted down from 8.5 in original review)
7.5 7.5
 Overall 7.5 7.0 8.0 8.5 
(adjusted down from 9.0 in original review)
7.5 7.5
Price S$299 S$195 S$129 S$169 S$149 S$149

For more details on how we selected our winners, check out the full reviews and articles listed at the References section at the end.

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