Today’s market is filled with external hard drives for every need, and they’re great for carrying a lot of data with you no matter where you’re going. But for a growing number of users, they just aren’t quite mobile enough. Busy people frequently passing data between computers and devices — like photographers or students with Chromebooks – may not have much patience for constantly juggling cables, SD cards, and computer connections.
Wireless external hard drives offer a different sort of solution. They allow you to pass files between devices wirelessly without the need for connections, and many include batteries, so you can take them on the road and store your files no matter where you are. Here are the best of the best.
No one makes a solid-state drive like WD, and this drive is one of the most well-rounded wireless options we’ve seen. It offers a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection to stream 4K videos and photos, which you can view at will with the My Cloud mobile app. It also has the ability to import from USB card readers (with a built-in SD 3.0 card reader) and exports RAW images to both iOS and Android devices. The internal battery is designed to last for up to 10 hours. It’s also durable and shock-resistant up to one meter, an ideal companion on the road for photographers and similar professions.
Note that we’ve chosen a basic starting size of 500GB for this model, but you can go up to 2TB as long as supplies are available, so it’s easy to customize for larger loads depending on your needs.
If you don’t need shock protection and outdoor resistance and are more interested in a larger wireless external drive, the Pro version of My Passport is a great choice. Capacities go all the way up to 4TB if you’re willing to pay for it. Features largely remain the same, including the 10-hour battery life and the included SD 3.0 card reader for quickly storing new image data from cameras and similar devices.
However, there is one important addition here: A built-in power bank is included, which allows you to quickly charge mobile devices that may be running out of power. While it may not be as durable out on the trails, this feature is still a useful addition for more urban work.
The FileHub takes a different approach to wireless storage. It doesn’t have any storage of its own, but it enables 2.4/5GHz wireless storage with anything you attach — there’s compatibility for external SSDs and SD cards alike. This allows you to upload and share between a wide variety of devices very quickly, which can be useful for backups or managing multiple sources in quick succession.
The FileHub can also act as a travel router (or bridge or access point), which greatly increases the situations where this type of wireless enablement is useful. Five different devices can be connected at once, and there’s a 6,700mAh battery that should last for a full workday. This immense amount of compatibility is a high point, but it also means that the FileHub takes some time to master.
This portable hard drive is particularly excellent for sharing files across an array of devices. Both Samba and DLNA are supported, all devices can share SSKCloud data, and platforms including iOS, Android, Windows, and MacOS can all work with the drive, although it may take time to set everything up correctly, depending on exactly what you want to do. There is also a 3,800mAh battery that can serve as a power bank when absolutely necessary.
While it might take a little time to get to grips with, the SSK Portable NAS Wireless Hard Drive is an excellent choice for managing media while traveling and can handle most of what you throw at it.
WD proposes a different sort of solution with this wireless drive: Your own personal cloud server connected to a router, which you can use as storage no matter where you are — as long as you can connect to the internet. While it may not be as useful for in-field work with devices like cameras, it’s immensely handy for moving large amounts of files into storage and clearing space even when you aren’t present. There’s also a USB port for direct connections with other devices.
It’s designed to be a useful companion for a busy freelancer juggling lots of data or a small business that works away from the office a lot. You can use it for backups or just as a central location to hold lots of photos and videos that can be accessed by any device whenever you need them.
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