What are your goals for the drive? You probably won't see a huge difference when using USB 2.0. USB 2.0 speeds are less than half of what you get using Gigabit Ethernet for example. Even most mechanical drives can saturate a USB 2.0 connection easily. Only benefit might be if copying a very large amount of very tiny files, where a mechanical drive might drop below USB 2.0 speeds when it struggles with all of those tiny files while an SSD probably wouldn't. With USB 3.0 or above the SSD would clearly have the advantage.
For me though, the reasons why I usually need a portable USB hard drive include the need for a large capacity. If I don't need a lot of capacity, then I usually just use a USB thumb drive. Putting an expensive large SSD inside a USB enclosure seems like a waste.
As above. Buy a drive that matches the speed of the data drive and the interface.
e.g. I have a 7200 rpm HDD on my server. I backup with a 7200RPM bare drive using a SATA hot swap bay. I could use eSATA as well.
NVME I am currently using a SATA SSD through an eSATA dock but I could probably use a NVME external drive through USBC if I really neede it to be faster.
Depends on your needs. If you are just saving a small file here and there or watching movies, then a regular hard drive isn't a problem, especially for the price versus capacity.
But if you are going to be accessing lots of files in random location, then an SSD would be noticeable. My real world examples are having a music drive or photo drive. Especially if editing them.
I have a Samsung T5 SSD and it is fantastic. It sustains 300MB/s no issue.The form factor is also very nice. Another option I have tried recently is that you can buy M2 to USB enclosures that are pretty small. But watch out there are both SATA 3 and NVME versions. Need to match it to the type of drive you have. A regular 128GB "flash drive" isn't going to have the read/write performance of a real M2 SSD.
I think from a speed and protection from drive falling/being dropped I would use Flash/NAND now for external backups unless you need a large amount of space where the economics favor spinning disks. I mean just got a WD 8TB easy store for 140$ and I will need 5-6TBs right off the bat.