Because of this mobile lifestyle, I'm finding media management to be a bit of a hassle. I obviously have limited space on my MacBook Pro...and while I do own a 2TB external G-Drive (Firewire 800), it's large and bulky, and the reality is I don't ever take it anywhere with me.
I do understand that many photographers adopt and maintain a workflow that involves saving images to the laptop's hard drive, then taking them back to a home setup and offloading them to other storage devices. But remember---I have no "home base."
I realize that these days, the smallest portable drives are generally USB-powered drives. I've read that USB drives are not as reliable as larger external drives...but I've personally never had a USB drive fail. (Which doesn't mean they don't fail, I've just never had it happen to me---knock on wood.) I also assume that USB drives will be slower than larger external drives, though I don't know if there are USB drives out there faster than 7200rpm?
1. I'm not totally understanding this "no home base" situation. Are you saying you need to carry with you at all times more than your current work? Your entire archives? I'm as mobile as the next guy and more so considering until recently I was on the road 50% of the time.. but no home base? Ever? This doesn't seem practical.
2. USB hard drives are not any more/less reliable than any other type of hard drive. What becomes an issue is low cost interfaces (of any type) which come with questionable power supplies which DO fail more often then a quality interface. Because USB powered drives by their nature use unknown USB ports as their main source of power it becomes even more important to use quality components.
3. Looking at your choices I'm underwhelmed, with the Lacie being the best choice.. and I'll admit to having been burned by Lacie's poor engineering (USB powoered interfaces specifically) and even work customer service.. so I wouldn't choose your solution or you choice of drives.
If you truly do not wish to maintain a home station of some type, then I really don''t see how you can avoid a quality cloud provider as a solution. I use several of Amazon cloud solutions depending if I'm backing up my website, running my sites galleries from their cloud, backing up while on the road, etc, etc.. They offer price and performance targeted solutions which are quickly becoming the standard. A cloud solution requires a quality connection for initial uploading, but once uploaded you can get to the "work" level reasonably well with a lesser connection providing you have patience.
As far as large capacity portable solutions.. I'd go with Western Digital. Their Passport series is hard to beat. And if these go bad, or any USB interface powered solution.. you can usually pull the drive from the enclosure and access the drive via any number in inexpensive (<$20) SATA adapters. I have several Case Logic padded neoprene cases which easily holds two of these drives plus cables.. so adding more storage capacity is about merely adding more drives and cases.
But.. when using a cloud as my main storage medium I wouldn't use large capacity drives as part of the solution. Recently much more durable SSD's (used via an inexpensive USB2/3.0 cable adapter, or whatever adapter is in vogue at the time)
, much more fast, at very reasonable price points become realistic options.
This brings the question.. how much capacity should we employ as professionals while on the road? Your goal of having no home station makes a cloud mandatory imo and also solves the backup portion of the equation. So I'd say enough capacity to get you between upload quality connections.. maybe a 256g SSD would be ideal?
So I'd pick some combination of quality cloud, quality SSD, and possibly quality large capacity mechanical drives such as those from WD.
This is a tough subject. To do this right requires significant financial commitment. Almost any solution requires carrying more 'stuff' than most enjoy carrying. But thanks to new technology we have a number of very good solutions to choose from.
btw - because I do maintain a home station I also maintain my own cloud solution which for geographic reasons is often a more speedy and reliable player when I travel. It's nice to have options.
Good luck with this.