HP Portable Hard Drive review: HP Portable Hard Drive

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

The Good The HP Portable Hard Drive offers an effective, affordable, and simple backup solution. The drive is bus-powered and supports both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.

The Bad The HP Portable Hard Drive's data transfer speeds could be better. Its backup software doesn't include common features such as backing up entire user-selected folders or scheduling.

The Bottom Line Despite a few shortcomings, the Windows-only HP Portable Hard Drive makes a very good and simple backup option for home users.

Visit for details.

7.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Support 7

The HP Portable Hard Drive is an upgrade to the HP SimpleSave drive that was announced a few years ago. The new drive offers up to 1TB of storage space and supports USB 3.0. It, too, comes with the SimpleSave backup software that makes backing up a no-brainer for anybody. It's not perfect, however, as the performance, though quite fast with USB 3.0, was slow compared with others we've reviewed. The backup software is also limited in terms of features. Still, for its street price of around $90, the 1TB HP Portable Hard Drive is definitely worth the peace of mind. You can also find the 750GB and 500GB versions of the drive for around $85 and $80 respectively.

If you want a similar product with more features and slightly higher prices, we recommend checking out the Clickfree C2N or the Clickfree C6.

Drive type 2.5-inch external USB hard drive
Connector options USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Available capacities 500GB, 750GB, 1TB
Capacity of test unit 1TB
Drive size 2.5-inch
Dimensions (LWH) 4.47 inches by 3.15 inches by 0.75 inch
Weight .44 lbs
OSes supported Windows XP, Vista, 7
Software included SimpleSave auto backup software
Service and support 2-year warranty

Design and features
The HP Portable Hard Drive looks like a typical external hard drive that's based on a 2.5-inch internal hard drive. The drive is compact and comes with just one Mini-USB 3.0 port and one standard Mini-USB 3.0 cable. The drive is bus-powered, meaning the only cable works both as a power and data connection. It works with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports; for better performance, USB 3.0 is recommended.

On the bottom, the drive has four little rubber feet to make it stay put on any surface. And you do want to find a relatively long-term place for it on your desk, as the drive is designed to be plugged in all the time. This is because its built-in SimpleSave backup software, in our testing, didn't automatically run when the drive was plugged in but instead each time the computer stayed idle for 5 minutes. Before that we first had to manually start the software by opening the drive and double-clicking on the HP SimpleSave icon. (On the Clickfree backup drives, or even the HP SimpleSave drive, the software runs by itself each time the drive is connected to a USB port.) With the HP Portable Hard Drive, the idea is you plug it in, run the SimpleSave backup software, and leave it plugged in the whole time. While this works well, it would be better if the software would start by itself each time the drive is plugged in since it's a portable drive and those tend to be moved around. We hope this will be added via a software update.

The HP SimpleSave backup software offers limited options.

Once started, the software automatically looks for user data, such as documents, photos, movies, and so on, and backs it up on the drive. By default the SimpleSave software searches the entire hard drive for data of all types, but you can customize where to search and what file types to back up by clicking on My Options. Those are the only options: for example, you can't choose to back up specific folders or schedule backups at certain times.

Since the SimpleSave backup software resides on the only partition of the drive, you'll lose it if you reformat the drive or accidentally delete it. It would be better if the software were put on a separate read-only partition.

Once a backup has been made, you can also use the SimpleSave software to performance a restoration. We found that it's better, however, to browse or search the drive for the backup copies of the files. All backups are saved within a folder called Backup Files on the portable drive.

The HP Portable Hard Drive is preformatted using NTFS to work with Windows, but it can be reformatted to work with Macs. If you do this you won't be able to use it with the SimpleSave backup software anymore, but that won't be a problem since it will work with Apple's Time Machine, which is a much more comprehensive backup program.

Best Storage Devices for 2020

All best storage

More Best Products

All best products