Top 10 Best External Hard Drives


Top 10 Best External Hard Drives

When there’s just not enough space on your laptop to store hundreds of downloaded movies, music, software and everything else, you need extra external data storage. Here are 10 of the best external hard drives that are fast and secure.

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Samsung
M3

Seagate
STBX Series

WD
My Passport Ultra

Seagate
STBV Series

Transcend
Military

WD
Elements

WD
Elements Desktop

Toshiba
HDTB Series

WD
My Passport MAC

Samsung
D3
 
Samsung M3Seagate STBX SeriesWD Passport UltraSeagate STBV SeriesTranscend MilitaryWD ElementsWD Elements DesktopToshiba HDTB SeriesWD My Passport MACSamsung D3










Our Rating
Our Rating
Operating System• Windows 8/7/Vista/XP
• MAC OS X 10.4.8 or later
• Windows 8/7/Vista/XP
• Mac OS X (requires reformatting)
• Windows 8/7/Vista/XP
• Mac OS X (requires reformatting)
• Windows 8/7/Vista/XP
• Mac OS X (requires reformatting)
• Windows 8/7/Vista/XP
• Mac OS 10.5 or later
• Linux Kernel 2.6.31 or later
• Windows 8/7/Vista/XP
• Mac OS X 10.6.5 (requires reformatting)
• Windows 8/7/Vista/XP
• Mac OS X (requires reformatting)
• Windows 8/7/Vista/XP
• Mac OS X (requires reformatting)
• Formatted HFS+ Journaled for Mac OSX
• Windows 8/7/Vista/XP (requires reformatting)
• Windows 8/7/Vista/XP SP2
• Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later
Operating System
Available ColorsMatt BlackBlackBlack / Red / Blue / TitaniumBlackGreen on Black / Baby BlueBlackBlackMatt BlackBlack on SilverMatt BlackAvailable Colors
Available Sizes500GB / 1TB / 1.5TB / 2TB500GB / 1TB / 2TB500GB / 1TB / 2TB1TB / 2TB / 3TB / 4TB / 5TB500GB / 750GB / 1TB500GB / 1TB / 1.5TB / 2TB2TB / 3TB / 4TB / 5TB500GB / 750GB / 1TB / 2TB500GB / 1TB / 2TB2TB / 3TB / 4TBAvailable Sizes
ConnectivityUSB 2.0 / 3.0USB 2.0 / 3.0USB 2.0 / 3.0USB 2.0 / 3.0USB 2.0 / 3.0USB 2.0 / 3.0USB 2.0 / 3.0USB 2.0 / 3.0USB 2.0 / 3.0USB 2.0 / 3.0Connectivity
Transfer Rate4.8 GB/SN/A5.0 GB/SN/A5.0 GB/SN/AN/A5.0 GB/SN/A5.0 GB/STransfer Rate
Features• SafetyKeyTM protection for your data
• AutoBackup personal backup solution
• Secure Drive for worry-free data security
• SecretZoneTM
can encrypt data on the device
Built-in power management automatically ensures energy-efficient operation• WD Security utility allows you to set password protection and hardware encryption
• Register your drive, set drive timer, run diagnostics and more using WD Drive Utilities.
• Shock tolerance & durable enclosure protects the drive inside
Built-in power management automatically ensures energy-efficient operation• Military-grade shock resistance
• Advanced 3-stage shock protection system
• Durable anti-shock rubber outer case
• LED power / data transfer activity indicator
• Advanced internal hard drive suspension system
• Quick Reconnect Button
• One Touch Auto-Backup button
WD SmartWare Pro backup software trial• Free trial of WD SmartWare Pro auto and cloud back-up software
• Simple add-on high-capacity storage
• Local and cloud backup
• Built for durability, shock tolerance, and long-term reliability
• Hot Swap Function
• Ramp Loading Technology
• WD Security utility allows you to set password protection and hardware encryption
• Compatible with Apple® Time Machine®
• Formatted HFS + journaled so it works with your Mac computer right out of the box
• WD Drive Utilities
• SafetyKeyTM protection for your data
• AutoBackup personal backup solution
• Secure Drive for worry-free data security
• SecretZoneTM
can encrypt data on the device
Features
Product Dimensions112 x 82 x 19.6mm122.3 x 81.1 x 15.5mm• 500GB: 110 x 81.6 x 12.8mm
• 1TB: 110.5 x 82 x 15.4mm
• 2TB: 110.5 x 82 x 20.9mm
179.5 x 118mm129.5 x 82.4 x 20.4mm• 500GB / 1GB: 111 x 82 x 15mm
• 1.5TB / 2TB: 111 x 82.4 x 21mm
135 x 48 x 165.8mm• 500GB / 750GB: 118.9 x 79 x 13.5mm
• 1TB / 2TB: 118.9 x 79 x 16.5mm
• 500GB / 1GB: 110.6 x 82.1 x 15mm
• 2TB: 110.6 x 82.1 x 21mm
180.6 x 129.2 x 47mmProduct Dimensions
Contents• Samsung M3
• USB Cable
• Quick Install Guide
• Pre-Loaded Software
• PDF Documentation
• Segate STBX
• USB Cable
• Quick Start Guide
• WD Elements
• USB Cable
• WD Smartware Pro Software
• Quick Start Guide
• Segate STBV
• USB Cable
• Power Adapter
• Quick Start Guide
• Transcend Military
• Transcend Elite data management software
• Quick Start Guide
• WD Elements
• USB Cable
• Quick Start Guide
• WD Elements Desktop
• WD SmartWare Pro automatic backup software
• USB Cable
• AC Adapter
• Quick Start Guide
• Toshiba HDTB
• USB Cable
• Quick Start Guide
• Pre-Installed User Manual
• WD My Passport MAC
• USB Cable
• Quick Start Guide
• Samsung D3
• USB Cable
• Power Adapter
• Quick Install Guide
• Pre-Loaded Software
• PDF Documentation
Contents
Warranty3 years1 year3 years1 year3 years2 years2 years1 year1 year3 yearsWarranty
Price**CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE**Price

Top Features | Best External Hard Drives

  • Our Rating – This is based on our own research in product testing and user feedback. Clicking on each product takes you to the product page where you can read customer reviews on the product you’re interested in.
  • Best Value / Top Rated / Top Specs / Best Choice – Products that we consider to excel in a certain area such as value for money, reputation or technology have been given one of our aforementioned labels of recognition.
  • Operating System – Most models will work with both Windows and MAC systems, though it may require formatting for one or the other.
  • Connectivity – USB 3.0+ is the new generation of usb connection and it’s generally faster and more efficient in power management compared to USB 2.0.
  • Data Transfer Rate – The speed at which data is written/read from the external hard drive to a computer and vice versa is usually around 10-15% of the stated transfer rate.
  • Features – Many of the special features that an external hard drive has, will relate to security and back-up capabilities.
  • Price – If you want to know the price of any of the models, just click on the Buy Now button or Check Price and you’ll be redirected to the product page. The reason we don’t put prices is because they constantly change and there are so many sellers offering different prices.

What to Look for in an External HDD

Fortunately, buying an external hard drive isn’t particularly complex as there are only a few basics you need to know to make an informed decision. They consist of the following:

Size and Capacity

An external HDD is designed to offer a lot of storage capacity. It can start from 250 GB and go up to 8TB which is very flexible as it can be bought in different capacities and you only buy the size you need. This is ideal for people with laptops or notebooks who have little storage capacity.

All portable storage devices consist of different weights and it depends on the type you choose. For example, if you intend to carry one around with you, then you may opt for a lightweight or pocket sized one. Generally, the bigger the storage capacity of the drive, the heavier it will be because the storage unit will be bigger.

External hard drives are usually powered via a mains adaptor with a USB cable or the USB cable only. Lightweight and pocket sized drives are usually powered with the USB cable only which is ideal for ease of portability.

Desktop style drives will be bigger and heavier and powered by a mains adaptor. These are ideal if you plan to use your drive at home or work only.

Some manufacturers will also have the option to connect to your portable drive via Wi-Fi. It’ll be good to have this option if you carry your drive around as you’ll still be able to connect to your drive if you was to forget or lose the cable for it, no to mention the convenience factor of having a wireless storage device.

Data Transfer Speed

If your computer has a USB 3.0 port, it may be a better idea to look for an external HDD that also has a USB 3.0 interface as this will enable your files and data to transfer at a much faster speed than using an USB 2.0 port. Your transfer time can be halved when using USB 3.0 compared to USB 2.0.

Firewire can transfer files and data faster than an USB 3.0 connection but the fastest is through an eSATA connection. Unfortunately, with eSATA, it is expensive and requires 2 cables as well as an external AC adapter. Your computer will also need to have the drive and ports to be compatible with eSATA.

Currently, there is a newer interface called Thunderbolt which is super-fast but it is also very expensive. There aren’t many computers with compatible ports either and the few that are available comes with a big price tag. The most affordable and most varied option would just be to go for an external HDD with USB 3.0 connection.

Durability

There is always concern on what will happen if you drop your external HDD. This can easily happen particularly with lighter or pocket sized drives. Once this happens, it can damage and loosen parts within the drive and the data on your drive will be lost and may not be recoverable.

To ensure this doesn’t happen when you’re transporting your external HDD about, you may want to choose portable storage drives that are made with strong quality materials such as aluminium or anti-shock casing. Make sure your drive has data protection as well which will reduce data failure due to shock if it is dropped.

Many manufacturers will also offer extra accessory options to enable you to protect your hard drive. These are usually accessory cases which offer shock protection with hard shells or padded cases, which are very affordable and highly recommended.

To ensure your external hard drive lasts a long time and to prevent damage or breakdowns, make sure to choose one that has a built in fan. This is ideal if you plan on getting a desktop drive and will be using it often and for heavy or long file transfers. It will help to prevent your drive from overheating.

One last thing that should be considered when choosing an external HDD is warranty. There is no guarantee that an external storage device will not fail or withstand everything so you may want to look for hard drives with a 3 or 5 year warranty.

Here’s a great video explaining some of the basics of external hard drive storage.

Why Everyone Needs an External Hard Drive

An external hard drive (HDD) is a storage device used to store files, programmes and data directly from a computer. These will always stay on there until you delete them.

These hard drives are portable and can be connected to a computer with a USB wire, mains adaptor or through Wi-Fi so it’s very simple to use. They are also compatible with Windows or Mac computers.

Some ideal reasons to use an external HDD are:

  • Data storage purposes if your computer has run out of storage space.
  • Back up purposes in case the hard drive on your computer gets damaged. It’s also a good way to store important files as an extra copy.
  • People sharing computers may not want to store important data on the same computer so a portable storage device is a way to store private files and data separately. A password can also be set to prevent anyone else accessing it.
  • If you travel for business, you may need to access important files and applications.
best external hard drives
An external HDD is the perfect solution for carrying around a huge amount of data such as work documents, movies, music, applications and more.

Security

For those of you that intend to use your external hard drive for storing sensitive or private files, it may be a good idea to look for one that comes with hardware based encryption.

Data will be encrypted, undecipherable and then locked inside the drive under encrypted storage thanks to a built in chip. This is a lot more secure as there are more safeguards in place and it is practically impossible for anyone to gain access without the password. Hardware based encryption also offers protection against malicious attacks and viruses.

Portable hard drives that come with software based encryption are cheaper but they are not as secure. Although a password can be used to prevent entry into the drive, it is easier to hack into and the encryption process takes longer to set up. Many people tend to skip this.

Having a hardware based encryption drive is ideal for people who will have highly sensitive and private data stored on the drive or will be carrying their portable drive around with them. It will prevent anyone gaining access into the drive if it gets lost or stolen.