The best portable hard drives: Our top picks are fast, light and spacious

Cloud storage is great, until you don't have Internet access. A portable hard drive lets you access your data anywhere.
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A portable hard drive is all kinds of useful

The SSD in your brand-new Ultrabook is super-fast, but its capacity is exceedingly limited. You could turn to a cloud-storage solution like Box, Dropbox, Google Docs, or Microsoft’s OneDrive, but you’ll have to pay over and over again for a subscription fee.

And if that isn’t bad enough, there’s the inherent security risk of storing data on servers outside your control. And what happens when you don’t have Internet access?

Toss a portable hard drive in your laptop bag, and you can take everything with you. Most models are lightweight, and all but the SSD models offer terabytes of capacity.

Here are eight great examples.

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