If you’re looking to buy a portable hard drive and are the type who likes being on the cutting edge of technology, you might be interested in the emerging USB 3.0 hard drive market. In order to take advantage of the increased data speed (USB 3.0’s transfer rate goes up to a whopping 5GBits/s, while USB 2.0’s only goes up to 480Mbits/s), you’ll need to upgrade your system. In the meantime, however, these drives are backwards compatible. Check out some of our top picks, after the jump.

  • LaCie Rikiki ($99/500GB) - The Rikiki is the tiny and super stylish with a sophisticated aluminum casing.
  • LaCie Rugged ($120 - $185) - Designed by Neil Poulton, this hard drive is all about protecting your data and is drop resistant up to 86 inches.
  • Samsung S2 - The S2 has yet to be released, but this popular model made the jump to 3.0 and also increased the spindle speed to 7200 rpm.
  • iomega eGo ($130/500GB) - Although it may not be the best-looking drive next to Lacie or Samsung’s S2, you can customize the eGo by adding an iomega power grip band that comes in a variety of colors. The power grip bands also help protect the drive, similar to Lacie’s Rugged.
  • Buffalo MiniStation Cobalt ($105 - $120) - The MiniStation is sleek and light, weighing in at only 6.5 oz. Available in 500GB and 640GB.