best external hard drives – Transcend StoreJet 25M3 2017

Built with a focus on durability, the Transcend StoreJet 25M3 is our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner among the best external hard drives. This portable hard drive has a triple-layer chassis built to easily withstand the bumps and drops sustained through heavy everyday use. Beyond its top-notch design, this Transcend external hard drive delivers outstanding performance and a useful feature set.

Performance

The StoreJet 25M3 is equipped with a USB 3.0 port ??? the most current and fastest USB connection currently available. Under optimal conditions, this means that the drive can transfer data up to 5,120 megabits per second, which is faster than portable hard drives with a 2.0 port. USB 3.0 is also backward compatible with the preceding 2.0 version, so the drive can connect to any computer with a USB connection, regardless of which type it is.

The best portable hard drives on our lineup come in a variety of different storage capacities, and the StoreJet 25M3 is no exception. In fact, the drive comes in more storage capacities than most of the external hard drives we reviewed. You can choose between 500GB, 640GB, 750GB and 1TB versions of the StoreJet 25M3. No matter which capacity you choose, all models maintain the same dimensions and weight.

The StoreJet 25M3 has a rugged design that excels in durability, featuring heavy-duty drop protection designed to fully protect its delicate inner components. The chassis is comprised of three separate layers and conforms to U.S. military-grade compliance standards. The built-in shock resistance of the rubber casing ensures that the drive can survive 5-foot drops without risking any internal damage. While most people will likely never need to rely on the full extent of the drive’s durability (we don’t recommend doing your own drop testing), we appreciate that the device is built to be extra-rugged, just in case.

A direct result of the external hard drive’s drop protection is its weight; the StoreJet 25M3 is the heaviest portable hard drive that we reviewed. In our opinion, the portable hard drive’s sturdiness negates the few extra ounces.

Like most portable hard drives, this one is bus-powered, meaning it uses a single USB cable to deliver power and transfer data. The external hard drive also has a status LED indicator to signify when a data transfer is occurring. However, this drive differs slightly from other drives in that its LED illuminates in a different color according to the USB interface currently in use: blue for USB 3.0 and red for USB 2.0.

Design

The external hard drive comes with StoreJet Elite backup and security software. Once installed, the software allows you to customize data backups on the drive. For instance, you can adjust preferences to schedule incremental backups of certain folders on your computer or compress larger files on the drive. The software isn’t quite as flexible or customizable as some we’ve seen on comparable portable hard drives, but it still allows for effective, easy backups. The drive does have plug-and-play capability, meaning you can simply plug in the drive and transfer and store data without having to install the included software.

The software also has encryption capability. While some encryption on a portable hard drive is better than none, software-based encryption typically is not as secure as hardware-based encryption. It also requires more processing power, which can slow down your system.

An interesting feature of this portable hard drive is its one-touch backup button; when the drive is connected to a computer and you press this button, the portable hard drive will automatically back up files and folders that it has been set to remember. However, the feature seems more like a novelty than a necessity because it isn’t really any more convenient than the single mouse click backup that essentially accomplishes the same thing. The feature also isn???t unique; other external hard drives on our lineup are also equipped with software that can perform incremental backups.

Transcend offers a three-year warranty on the StoreJet 25M3. This covers parts and labor as long as the damage is due to manufacturing or workmanship defects and not user abuse, modification or accidental misuse.

When it comes to customer service, Transcend is likewise decent. The manufacturer’s website has a FAQs section and technical resources such as user manuals, drivers and software for all Transcend products. To contact the company directly, the site has an online contact form.

There’s no question that the Transcend StoreJet 25M3 is one of the most durable portable hard drives on our lineup. The anti-shock protection built into the casing ensures the physical integrity of the drive can easily withstand the wear and tear incurred through regular use. While it weighs slightly more and is only equipped with software-based encryption, the stellar performance and unmatched durability of the StoreJet 25M3 make it one of the best external hard drives on the market.

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