Finally, there are the super-slims, the drives that aren’t wireless and aren’t thumb-based, but provide that hard drive in an easy to carry slim form that you shoulder won’t ever worry about.
In a way, the super-slims are more affordable than the other lot because most of these are based on the same technology we’ve seen in hard drives for yonks, but there are some interesting choices here simply because it’s not all that you’re used to seeing, and these drives are made on a diet.
LaCie Porsche Design Slim Drive 500GB
More or less designed for Mac only (though we’re pretty sure it wouldn’t be hard to get working on a PC, formatting and all), LaCie’s take on the slim drive is to take a half terabyte hard drive and throw it into an aluminium block, with USB 3.0 access found here.
This one isn’t super light, and clocks in at 182 grams, but it does look like it goes with the MacBook Pro, thanks to that magic metal chassis both Apple and LaCie are relying on.
G-Tech GDrive Slim 500GB
The brand formerly known as “Hitachi Global Storage Technologies” or just plain old “Hitachi”, G-Tech tends to produce hard drives geared at creative types, with metal bodies designed to look nice with Apple computers and secret sauce technology that speeds hard drives up in different ways.
The Slim, however, is a different stab, offering both Windows and Mac users a 10mm thick hard drive powered by USB 3.0 with the option of a 7200RPM drive.
That might just look like a bunch of numbers to you, but the faster the RPM, the faster the drive, and with most external drives relying on 5400RPM conventional hard drives, the G-Tech Slim at least gives us an idea that this one has been built for speed, not just for being slim, which is great news.
Toshiba Canvio Slim 500GB
One of the slimmest drives out there, Toshiba’s aluminium-encased hard drives take a PC and Mac compatible drive, plonk it between two sheets of very thin metal, and provide a USB 3.0 cable for easy access for modern computers.
Granted, this is just a regular 500GB hard drive here, but it’s offered in a form-factor that is pleasing on the eye, very slim at 9mm, and barely heavier than a modern smartphone at 150 grams.
Seagate Seven 500GB
Easily one of the thinnest drives you’ll see this year, Seven is what its name says: 7mm thick.
While it is remarkably thin, it also still packs a bit of weight, with the super-slim drive packing in 178 grams, which won’t dent your shoulder at all when you carry it since it’s just like bringing with another mobile phone.
Its size is guaranteed to impress, though, and while it only packs 500GB of storage, this special edition 7mm drive looks the part, made for geeks that aren’t worried about parting with a little under $200 for the privilege.
WD’s take on the slim and simple hard drive has just gone through a change or two with a recent redesign, and now it includes an option for a bigger drive, some darker colours, and some user friendly prices.
If you don’t mind paying a little more and going back to 1 or 2TB instead of the larger 3TB option, you’ll be able to find a metal edition if needed in the My Passport Ultra Metal which is — as the name suggests — metal.
The most expensive of the bunch, Samsung’s T1 is a little different again. While every other drive in the ultra-light section is technically a hard drive, Samsung’s T1 is a solid-state drive, meaning it has no moving parts.
This is basically the same sort of stuff as what we’ve seen in Ultrabooks and tablets, only found in an external casing with a USB plug.
That means it has no moving parts, and is therefore super fast, great on batteries, and very, very light. Thirty grams light. So light that you might not even know it’s there. The thickness isn’t bad, either, coming in at 9.2mm. That’s not far off some phones, and lighter still.
All of these features don’t come cheap, and if you want the best of the best in regards to solid-state tech, you’ll need to be prepared to pay big for it, with this costing a little over $400 for 500GB or $800 for 1TB. Yikes.