The Best External Hard Drive
In our digital world, having enough storage space is super important. That’s where external hard drives come in. They’re like extra pockets for your computer, making it easy to move big files around and keeping your stuff safe.
These days, these hard drives are way faster than they used to be, thanks to speedy USB connections. Some even have super-fast Thunderbolt tech. There are two main types: regular hard drives (HDDs) and super-fast solid-state drives (SSDs). SSDs are tougher because they don’t have any moving parts, but they can be pricier, especially for big storage.
If you’re looking for a good balance between cost and space, an HDD is aathe way to go. They’re like the best bang for your buck. And the new ones? They’re not clunky and heavy. They’re actually pretty cool, with cool designs and colors.
Whether you’re a Mac user, a gamer, a photographer, or a video editor, there’s an external hard drive made just for you. So let’s dive into our top picks, tested by experts, to find the perfect storage buddy for your digital stuff..
WD My Passport – Best High-Capacity Hard Drive
The WD My Passport sets a new standard for high-capacity external HDDs, offering an expansive 5TB of storage within a robust plastic casing. Powered by Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology, it maximizes data density, while the integrated USB bridge and connector enhance overall performance. This self-encrypting drive is fortified with AES 256-bit hardware encryption, ensuring top-tier security for your valuable data. Despite its capacious storage, the My Passport maintains a compact form factor, measuring 4.22 x 2.95 x 0.75 inches. However, the larger capacity models may be slightly bulkier due to the increased number of platters.
WD Discovery software enriches the user experience, enabling convenient password protection, drive health monitoring, and scheduled backups. Additionally, it seamlessly integrates with various social media and cloud platforms, streamlining the backup process for media files. The My Passport series is available in three vibrant colors – black, red, and blue – offering not only exceptional functionality but also a touch of personal style. The small white power indicator light discreetly signals device activity when powered on. Overall, the WD My Passport stands as an exemplar of high-capacity external HDDs, combining capacious storage with advanced features for a reliable and secure data storage solution.
Seagate Ultra Touch – Best Budget Hard Drive
The Seagate Ultra Touch 5TB external hard disk drive is a standout option for environmentally conscious consumers, crafted with over 30% post-consumer recycled materials, exemplifying Seagate’s commitment to ecological sustainability. Its pebble gray finish complements its eco-friendly ethos. However, this drive faces steep competition from other Seagate models offering similar capacity at notably lower price points. Despite its bundled services and green initiative, the 40% premium over its counterparts might be hard to justify for those seeking straightforward storage solutions.
In terms of design, the Ultra Touch boasts a smooth, nature-inspired aesthetic with a practical curvature for ease of handling. Its compact dimensions of 4.54 × 3.15 × 0.91in and weight of 267g make it highly portable. The integration of a USB Type-C port ensures compatibility with modern laptops, a welcome departure from the traditional Type-A connector.
Powered by a 5TB Barracuda internal HDD spinning at 5400RPM with a 128MB cache, the Ultra Touch offers substantial storage. However, it is thicker and slightly pricier compared to other drives using the same technology. In terms of performance, it delivers respectable speeds, although it falls short of the efficiency seen in some SATA-based SSDs. Ultimately, the Seagate Ultra Touch excels as an eco-conscious choice, but price-sensitive consumers may find more cost-effective options within Seagate’s lineup.
Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC – Best for Security
The Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC stands as a unique marvel in portable drives. It not only boasts impressive speed, but also comes equipped with shock and drop protection along with water resistance. Most notably, it features a robust data encryption system, which can be unlocked with the convenience of NFC-enabled devices like smartphones. The built-in USB cable adds further practicality, eliminating the need for an additional one.
However, it’s essential to note that this drive comes with a premium price tag and is noticeably bulkier than its counterparts. Additionally, the included security software may face compatibility issues with older Windows computers. Yet, for those valuing data protection and privacy, especially individuals with NFC-enabled devices, the Buffalo MiniStation stands as a superb choice.
Its sturdiness and military-standard shock protection make it more robust than standard portable drives, with the added benefit of water and dust resistance. While it’s not the most compact option, its layers of protection make it a reliable companion. Boasting swift USB 3.0 speeds, it rivals even some solid-state options. Overall, the Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is an excellent investment for those prioritizing data security.
Adata HD710M Pro – Best Rugged Hard Drive
The Adata HD710M Pro stands out as an exceptional rugged external hard drive designed to withstand various harsh conditions. Built with military camouflage aesthetics, it’s enveloped in silicone rubber for shock absorption, encased in a tough plastic shell. Aiming to exceed IP68 standards, it can endure up to 60 minutes submerged in 2 meters of water and withstand falls from up to 1.5 meters, thanks to its triple-layered construction.
This robust device houses a 1TB Western Digital Blue hard disk drive, delivering reliable performance with its 5400RPM spinning speed. While it may not match the speeds of SSDs, it attains 123.8MBps in CrystalDiskMark’s read test, providing impressive performance for a traditional hard drive. Additionally, it features shock sensors to safeguard data during sudden impacts.
However, the HD710M Pro could benefit from a more flexible USB cable and a larger maximum capacity. Comparatively, its predecessor, the HD710, presents a more economical option. Although improvements could be made, the Adata HD710M Pro remains a commendable choice for users seeking a rugged, high-capacity external hard drive.
WD Black P10 – Best Hard Drive for Gamers
The WD Black P10 proves to be a top contender in the world of external hard drives, especially for gamers seeking ample storage without breaking the bank. With options ranging from 2TB to a whopping 5TB, it offers substantial space for games and more. While it employs a conventional 5,400 rpm hard disk drive, it boasts competitive pricing, making it an excellent value proposition.
While it may not match the lightning-fast speeds of SSDs, the P10 impresses with transfer rates of up to 140MB/s. In real-world testing, it handled 100GB transfers in approximately 13-14 minutes, showcasing reliable performance for backup and file access tasks. Though running games directly from the drive isn’t recommended, it excels as a reliable storage solution.
Designed with durability in mind, the P10 exudes a rugged aesthetic, complete with distinctive hex screws and an industrial vibe. Backed by a three-year limited warranty, Western Digital instills confidence in the drive’s longevity. In a market brimming with options, the WD Black P10 stands out for its combination of affordability, performance, and distinctive design, making it a top choice for gamers and users in need of spacious, reliable storage.
In a world driven by digital data, reliable storage solutions are a must. External hard drives have evolved into essential accessories for seamless file transfers and secure backups. Modern options offer impressive speed and durability, catering to a variety of needs. While SSDs excel in speed and resilience, HDDs remain unbeatable in cost-effectiveness per terabyte. With sleek designs and vibrant colors, these drives aren’t just practical; they’re stylish too. From Mac users to gamers and content creators, there’s a perfect match for everyone. Trust in our expert-tested recommendations to find the ideal storage companion for your digital endeavors.