We can’t help but pause these days when we see an inconsequential video or silly image and think about how the size of that one file alone is larger than the memory capacity of many of the first modern computers, such as the Commodore 64 or the Apple IIE. But these days, as the price for memory has decreased, the capacity for portable storage devices such as hard drives has increased. Kilobytes are obviously a matter of the distant past, but consumers now no longer need to worry about megabytes even. Choosing a reasonably priced storage solution is now a matter of having quick and easy access to storing gigabytes and even terabytes of information. That said, here’s a buying guide to the best hard drives and memory cards that can make the task much simpler.
Best Memory Cards: Picking the Right Storage Format
There are a few different formats, sizes and speeds of memory card, and finding the one that’s right for you is a matter of determining how you’ll be using them. The most common size is the SD card, used in many digital cameras. Mobile phones and tablet computers use smaller versions, such as a miniSD or a microSD. Sony products use a proprietary format called a Memory Stick.
The best thing to do when looking for a memory card is figuring out what you need it for, and choosing the right size. The SD Association provides a nice chart on their site detailing at a glance the different sizes and uses of SD memory cards. For example, a 16GB SD card can provide 160 minutes of HD video in fine mode, 240 minutes in normal mode and 360 minutes in economy mode. The same card can also store more than 6,000 10 MP pictures.
With so many brands available, focus on the size of the card as your guide when purchasing. And as a general practice, we always like to purchase at least one extra card to keep on hand with our device should something happen or we surprisingly fill a card up.
Top Hard Drives: Portable and External Models
While memory cards are the way to quickly store photos, video and other info from other devices, chances are they are all being loaded on home computers or networks. Before long, this data can add up, especially if you’re storing a lot of HD video. There are some great options for portable hard drive storage available, many of which provide automatic backup. Here are three of our favorites:
ioSafe Rugged Portable – The ioSafe Rugged Portable likens itself to an airplane blackbox, touting it’s toughness and durability in case of water submersion, drops up to 20 feet, or even under crushing forces up to 5,000 pounds. If you’ve got important data that you want to ensure is protected and remains intact even in a catastrophe, then the Rugged Portable is the storage solution for you.
Western Digital My Passport – Offering 2 terrabytes of data storage in a design that is no larger than a paperback book, My Passport offers an easily portable way to transport a lot of data by hand. If you have the drive constantly plugged in, it can automatically back up data, even at the instant you save it to your computer.
Seagate GoFlex – If you’re looking to back up more than just one computer, the GoFlex can hook into your wireless network and allow centralized backup and storage for up to 3 PCs and Macs. Since it’s in the cloud, it also provides you with access to your files from anywhere you can access the Internet. There’s even a SeaGate app that will allow you to access all your files from your smartphone or tablet.