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Storage buying guide: selecting the perfect storage device for your needs

Elias Plastiras | April 24, 2015
The advent of streaming music services, and more recently of video on demand services (SVOD) in Australia such as Netflix, Stan, and Presto, has put a lot of audio and video content within fingertip reach. You can access it whenever you want, without you having to worry about the amount of storage space in your computing device. But not everyone has the ability to stream, and local storage is still as important as ever for backups. Here's our guide on the best storage solution for your data storage problem.

You can also use a wireless portable hard drive for the purposes of backing up the data on your mobile device.

Cloud-enabled drives

These are essentially NAS devices that plug in to your network, but which are marketed to highlight the fact that they are tailored for use over the Internet. A Cloud-enabled drive generally offers a simple Web-based service that can allow you to log in to your hard drive from anywhere you have an Internet connection, but you must sign up for the service (it's usually free and it doesn't store your data, only the location of your drive — your data remains on your drive).

A drive like this can make it possible for you to access work files remotely, or even to log in to your drive so that you can manage its settings or set up downloads. In most cases, you don't have to know anything about how to set up remote access, or how to configure your router for such a scenario — the hard drive and the hard drive vendor's service will take care of all the configuration details and all you will have to do is log in to that service via a Web browser or app.

Regular NAS drives can be set up for remote access as well, with some vendors providing their own services for such a task, while others require you to set up your own dynamic DNS service in order to make the drive accessible over the Internet.

On-the-go USB drives

An on-the-go USB drive is a relatively new type of drive that is designed to be used with mobile devices, and primarily those that might not feature a microSD card slot. They started off for Android devices, but models are now available for iOS as well. The prerequisite is that your device must support on-the-go or (OTG) drives (Android devices over version 3.1 should be okay).

An on-the-go drive has two ends to it: one end is a regular USB port, while the other end is a port (micro-USB for Android or Lightning for iOS) that can fit into your mobile device. This means that you can plug the OTG drive into your computer to load content, and then plug the drive into your phone to access that content directly. A supported app or a third-party file manager will need to be installed on your device to access the OTG drive.

For Android devices, an OTG drive will draw power from the device, while for iOS devices, the OTG drive will have its own internal battery, meaning it will have to be charged from time to time.

These drives aren't for mass storage like portable external hard drives. Instead, they are a flash-based drive that can be used as a convenient way to get content on and off mobile devices.

 

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