Best External Hard Drive For Pc Or Mac

Posted By admin On 16.02.22

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  1. Seagate External Hard Drive For Mac

The Rundown

  • Best Overall: Western Digital My Passport at Amazon, “Offers outstanding performance that rivals that of pricier competitors.”
  • Runner-Up, Best Overall:Samsung T5 SSD at Amazon, “The all-metal, shock-resistant enclosure is rugged and portable.”
  • Best for Business:WD 8TB My Book Desktop at Amazon, “Offers far more capacity than more portable drives for far less cash.”
  • Best Splurge:Seagate Backup Plus Hub 6TB at Amazon, “This drive offers a lot of capacity and it’s fast and flexible.”
  • Best for Gaming:U32 ShadowUSB at Amazon, “A USB 3.0 device that has plug-and-play compatibility with the Xbox One.”
  • Best for Apple:LaCie Rugged 2TB Thunderbolt USB-C at Amazon, “Super fast drive that can handle plenty of bumps, rain, and bounces.”
  • Best Portability:Toshiba Canvio Advance at Amazon, “Users delight in the small size, transfer speeds, and cool running temperature.”
  • Best Durability: Silicon Power 1TB Rugged Armor at Amazon, “Offering a tough exterior with a shockproof design.”

Our Top Picks

The Best External Hard Drives for Mac. Buying an external hard drive for your Mac is not all that different from buying one for your Windows PC. The Best External Hard Drives of 2018. The technology of external hard drives and connection ports is constantly changing which is why we’ve taken a closer look at the best external hard drive for Mac of 2018. The great thing for Mac users is that external HDDs have never been cheaper and storage sizes have never been bigger. The Best External Hard Drives for Mac. Buying an external hard drive for your Mac is not all that different from buying one for your Windows PC. The Best External Hard Drives of 2018. Top capacity USB 3.0 portable drive Seagate's new Backup Plus Fast portable drive is the quickest and most capacious compact external hard drive to date. Here's CNET's full review of the storage.

Best Overall, Best for Fast Transfers: Western Digital My Passport

4.2

What We Like

  • Excellent storage capacity for the price

  • Encryption built-in

  • Automatic backup

What We Don't Like

  • Slower than a portable SSD

  • No fancy features

My Passport is an inexpensive drive, but it offers outstanding performance that rivals that of pricier competitors thanks to a 3.0 USB port and excellent disk controller. This drive allows a maximum transfer speed of 174 MBps read, and 168 MBps write. It’s available in sizes ranging from 1 TB to 4 TB. Our tester thought it was a great overall value for the price: 'If you're on a budget and looking for a cheap and cheerful storage solution, the My Passport isn't very fancy but it does a reliable job of storing your precious files,' he said.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Samsung T5 Portable SSD

What We Like

  • Compact design

  • Lightning fast transfer speeds

  • Compatible with multiple devices

What We Don't Like

  • Smaller storage space

  • Outdated aesthetic

  • Pricey

The Samsung T5 Portable DDS is on the pricey side (especially in the larger capacities), but the speed and security it comes with are worth it for those looking for durable performance. Weighing less than 2 ounces, the all-metal, shock-resistant enclosure is very portable. What really makes this device stand out, though, is its super-fast transfer speed, with up to 540 MB/s thanks to the SSD design, making it ideal for transferring giant files like 4K videos. Our tester, agreed, raving that its speed was 'unbeatable.' The T5 connects to just about anything, too, with its USB 3.1 Type-C and Type-A ports and works with Windows, Mac, and Android devices. Plus, integrated AES 256-bit hardware encryption ensures the safety of your data.

Best for Business: WD 8TB My Book Desktop External Hard Drive - USB 3.0

What We Like

  • Automatic backup system

  • Fantastic storage capacity

  • Above average transfer speeds

What We Don't Like

  • Needs external power to function

  • Limited portability

The My Book Desktop External Hard Drive from Western Digital, while large, fits the bill for business owners in need of serious space: It comes in 3, 4, 6, 8, or 10TB varieties and offers Western Digital’s own backup solution for Windows users. It’s also compatible with Time Machine for Mac users (though you may need to reformat). It has 256-bit AES hardware encryption for strong security and has both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports to connect to a wide range of computers. You'll have to rely on the device's wall-based power supply, but according to our tester, that’s worth the trade-off for this spacious vault that holds your invaluable digital data: 'Though it's not really a portable hard drive,' he explained, 'it's definitely the best option if you want a static drive that sits on your desk storing and backing up your files in a secure manner.'

Best Splurge: Seagate Backup Plus Hub 6TB STEL6000100

4.6

What We Like

  • Massive capacity

  • Great value for size

  • Solid speed

What We Don't Like

  • A few interrupted connections

  • Must reformat for Mac OS

If cost is no concern, we recommend taking a close look at the Seagate Backup Plus Hub. It houses SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) drives, which allow more physical bits of memory in the same space without decreasing the size of the bits. This drive offers a lot of capacity — available in 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, and 8TB versions — and is fast and flexible. Our testers appreciated the two extra USB ports on the front where you can charge other devices while you work. One of our reviewers reported that it took 12 minutes to do a 9 GB transfer, which equates to a write speed of about 107 Mbps. “It feels like a good value to me,” one of our testers said.

Best for Gaming: U32 ShadowUSB Hard Drive

3.6

What We Don't Like

  • Limited color options

This USB 3.0 connective device has plug-and-play compatibility with the Xbox One, which means your gaming console will immediately recognize the drive as soon as it’s plugged in. Our testers took advantage of the drive’s 1TB capacity by storing Forza Horizon 3, Titanfall 2, Halo 5, Sea of Thieves, Fortnite, PUBG, and Madden 19 — and didn’t experience a single issue. If you plan to use this device to store more than just games, 1TB is large enough to hold 650,000 photos, 250,000 songs, and over 500 hours of video. The small black device is stylish and even comes with a three-year warranty.

Best for Apple: LaCie Rugged 2TB Thunderbolt USB-C Portable Hard Drive

What We Like

  • Extremely durable

  • Integrated connecting cable

  • Large capacity

If you’re looking for a Mac-friendly external hard drive that’s built for durability, take a look at LaCie’s Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C portable hard drive. With its distinctive rubber bumpers and brushed aluminum chassis, the drive offers drop resistance up to 5 feet, crush resistance that can withstand up to a 1-ton car, and IP54 water and dust resistance. You’ll never worry about losing your connecting cable, either, as this series of hard drives, available in 2 to 5 TB capacities, have an attached USB cord in your favorite flavor (USB-C, USB-C Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt, or USB 3.0). It's fast, too, with up to 510MB/s with the SSD version and up to 130MB/s with the HDD version.

Best Portability: Toshiba Canvio Advance 3TB Portable Hard Drive HDTC930XR3CA

What We Don't Like

  • Must reformat for Mac OS

Not much bigger than a deck of cards, Toshiba’s Canvio Advance portable hard drive offers 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 3TB models to fill with as much media as can fit. It plugs into your Mac or PC with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. Some customers report seeing around 110 Mbps of throughput when using a USB 3.0 port. It also features an internal shock sensor that will make sure your data isn’t corrupted if the drive is jostled while in use. Users delight in the small size, fast transfer speeds, and cool running temperature of this little portable drive.

Best Durability: Silicon Power 1TB Rugged Armor A60 Military-Grade

What We Like

  • Water resistant

  • Drop-proof and shockproof

  • Reasonable price

Silicon Power’s Armor A60 external hard drive, in 1, 2, or 5 TB versions, is no joke, offering a tough, drop-proof (up to 4 feet) exterior with a shockproof design andIPX4 water-resistant protection. The textured casing is also scratch and slip-proof with a silicon bumper around the sides. The A60 reads and writes super fast thanks to the USB 3.0 cable, which conveniently affixes to the drive itself, and is compatible with Mac and PC devices courtesy of the FAT32 file system. While there might be higher performing everyday options, for photographers and others looking for a device that's adventure compatible, the A60 is a perfect choice.

FAQs

Why would I need an external hard drive?

External hard drives provide portable storage space for files, allowing you to increase the total storage of your computer, share files between computers, or simply keep backed-up files secure in case something happens to the originals. If your computer is slowing down or you’re getting warnings about low storage space, it might be time to invest in an external hard drive to free up some space on your computer’s internal hard drive.

What’s the difference between a hard disk drive (HDD) and a solid-state drive (SSD)?

You’ll find external hard drives in HDD and SSD versions, and they both perform the same function—with a few distinct advantages. HDDs have been around much longer and stores files by way of a spinning electromagnetic disk, whereas SSDs rely on flash memory chips for storage and therefore have no moving parts. This means SSDs are usually faster, more dependable, and more expensive. You can get much more storage for a fairly cheap price with an HDD.

How are external hard drives powered?

Some external hard drives get their power from the computer itself transmitted over the data cable, and others require the additional power from an AC outlet. All external hard drives connect to the computer either by USB, FireWire, eSATA, or wirelessly, and this connection type is directly linked to transfer speed.

Digital storage is changing. Internal storage drives are getting bigger, cloud storage is getting cheaper, and USB drives are getting less common. But that doesn’t necessarily negate the need for a good external hard drive — in fact, sometimes they’re the best way to go.

Buying a hard drive isn’t as simple as purchasing the first (or cheapest) one you see. There are a number of factors to consider when buying an external storage drive, and the kind of drive you ultimately end up buying could dictate what you’re able to do with it.

So what should you keep in mind? For starters, you’ll want to decide between a hard drive and a solid-state drive, both of which offer some major advantages and disadvantages. You’ll also want to think about drive speed, hard drive format, connectivity, and special protection features.

Before diving into our guide, there are a few terms you should know. You'll most likely be deciding between a drive of multiple gigabytes (GB), or multiple terabytes (TB). One terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes, and one gigabyte is 1,000 megabytes (MB). An MP3 file takes around 3.5MB, meaning that one gigabyte can store around 285 songs. One HD movie takes up around 3.5GB — so one terabyte can store 285 HD movies.

Seagate External Hard Drive For Mac

Here’s everything to consider when buying an external drive.

Storage Size

The most important thing to consider is the size of your drive. We’re not talking how physically big, but rather, how much storage you want. It’s hard to recommend a storage size because it varies from person to person and largely depends on what you plan on storing. A good rule of thumb, however, is to determine how much storage you think you’ll need and then buy a drive that’s double.

If you plan on storing documents only, you probably don’t need much more than 80GB. If you’re storing a small to medium music collection and photos, then up to 256GB should be fine. For storing movies and other video content, the amount you need could range into the multiple terabytes, especially if the movies are in 4K. Ultimately, it’s always good to get more storage than you think you’ll need — even if it means shelling out more money.

Types of External Drives

Next, it’s time to decide on the kind of storage drive you want. There are two main types of external storage drives, and while they ultimately serve the same purpose, the way they store files is markedly different.

Traditionally, if you wanted a storage drive it meant buying a hard disk drive. There are some advantages and some disadvantages to this. For starters, hard disk drives have been around for quite some time, so they’ve become relatively cheap. They function by storing files on an electromagnetic disk that spins around and is read by a moving arm.

Because of those moving parts, they’re much more likely to break with a lot of movement. The speed of a hard disk drive is essentially dictated by how fast the electromagnetic disk spins, and they're generally slower than solid-state drives. (We’ll get more into the different speeds later.) Hard disk drives are the way to go, however, if you want a lot of storage at a cheap price and don’t plan on moving them a lot.

Solid state drives do away with the moving electromagnetic disk, and replace it with what’s called “flash storage.” That’s the same kind of storage that’s used in smartphones, RAM in computers, and, these days, many of the internal storage drives in computers. Solid-state storage essentially uses microchips to store information, and as a result, there are no moving parts. That means there’s a lower failure rate, higher speed, and simply better overall performance. In particular, that means they’re great for running software or an operating system off of.

Of course, there is a downside to all of those advantages — and that’s price. Solid-state drives are much more expensive than hard disk drives, and while they are going down in price, you simply can’t get multi-terabyte solid-state drives without spending at least a few hundred dollars.

Performance

There are a few things that can affect the performance of a hard drive beyond simply what type of hard drive it is. That’s truer of a hard disk drive than a solid-state drive, but solid-state drives still have performance-related metrics that you should pay attention to.

The transfer speed of a hard drive largely has to do with the type of connector that the hard drive comes with. Newer connection standards have higher transfer speeds. The term “transfer speed” is technically a little misleading, as it doesn’t really dictate exactly how fast a hard drive can transfer files to and from your computer. Instead, it tells you how fast a hard drive can theoretically transfer files, based on the connection protocol the hard drive uses.

In the past, the connector was the main limiting factor in how fast a drive could transfer files: USB 2.0 hard drives, in the real world, could transfer data at up to 20 MB/second, while FireWire 800 drives limited things to 85 MB/second. These days, the newer USB 3.0 standard allows for data transfer at up to 460 MB/second, while Thunderbolt allows for speeds of over 1GB/second. Because of that, the connection type isn’t the bottleneck. Instead, the speed is dictated by how fast the hard drive can read and write data, which is referred to as the read/write speed.

Read/write speeds refer to how quickly a hard drive can access the files stored within it — not how quickly those files are transferred to or from a computer. The “read” speed refers to how quickly a hard drive can access a stored file, while the “write” speed refers to how quickly a drive can save a new file. Given the development in transfer protocols, read/write speeds are a much better indicator of how fast your hard drive will be able to actually transfer files than “transfer speed,” especially when it comes to hard disk drives.

Read/write speeds change a lot depending on whether it’s an HDD or SDD, and even within those categories there can be some variation. As mentioned, HDDs have a spinning disk inside of them, and the rate at which drives can access data depends on how quickly that disk spins. Commonly, drives spin at 5,400RPM, or rotations per minute, and drives at that speed generally have a read/write speed of around 100MB/s. Some HDDs have a physical speed of 7,200RPM, which allows for a slightly faster read/write speed of 120MB/s.

Read/write speeds can vary a lot with SSDs, but typically they range from 200MB/s at the slowest to multiple GB per second at the fastest. If all you’re doing is transferring files, then any of those speeds should be more than enough, but if you’re using your drive to store software or your operating system, then something on the fast end might help. In that case, look for speeds of 500MB/s or more.

Other Features and Considerations

While the type of hard drive and performance of the hard drive are perhaps the most important factors to consider, there are a few other features to keep in mind.

While most consumer-level hard drives connect to your computer through a USB cable, some offer network connectivity instead, meaning you can access your hard drive from any computer or phone that’s on the same network. That can be pretty helpful for those who have multiple computers set up and simply want to use an external hard drive to back up files and transfer files between computers.

You can actually give any external hard drive network features by simply plugging it into your router — providing your router has a compatible port on it — but it will require a little more tweaking to get set up properly. Still, special network-connected drives have some advantages. For example, so-called “Network Attached Storage” or NAS, can be used as a media server by apps like Plex, while standard router-connected drives aren’t necessarily able to do so. NAS is a little more expensive, but it’s also often expandable thanks to extra slots in the enclosure, which can accept more actual hard drives.

Check out our guide to the best NAS (Network Attached Storage).

The kind of port or ports that your hard drive uses to connect to a computer is very much linked to transfer speed. Most hard drives connect to a computer through a form of USB. That could mean the now-outdated USB 2.0 or the newer USB 3.0 or USB 3.1, and if it is USB 3.1, it could also connect through the newer USB-C connector, while still using the USB 3.1 standard.

Other ports, which are increasingly less common, include FireWire 400 and FireWire 800, though fewer and fewer computers support those ports, so you should be wary of that when purchasing.

We recommend looking for a hard drive with USB 3.1 support and a USB-C connector, especially if your computer is relatively new. It might mean having to buy an adapter to use with your current computer that may not have USB-C, but it means that when you upgrade to a new computer, your external hard drive will stay usable.

Check out our guide to the best USB-C adapters available.

External hard drives come in a few different formats, though it’s very easy to reformat a hard drive if you happen to buy the wrong kind. Hard drive formats are largely linked to the operating system that you’re going to be using the hard drive with. Here’s a quick rundown.

NTFS is the most common format for new external hard drives and can be used with Windows computers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work as well with any other operating systems. Macs can read NTFS-formatted hard drives, but can’t write to them.

HFS+, which stands for “Hierarchical File System,” is a hard drive format that works much better with Macs, and it’s an improvement on the older HFS format in that it can support larger file types. Unfortunately, HFS+ drives don’t really work with Windows computers. HFS+ drives are the way to go for those who plan on using them with Macs that are running slightly older versions of macOS.

APFS is a newer hard drive format that works with Mac computers, but it only works with Mac running macOS High Sierra or newer. Like HFS+ drives, APFS drives can’t be read by Windows computers.

exFAT is essentially a mix of NTFS and FAT32, an older drive format that’s not used much anymore. There are a number of advantages to exFAT drives — namely that they can be recognized by both Windows and Mac computers, so if you need support for both, it’s worth formatting your drive to exFAT.

If you’re not sure what hard drive format to go for, then go for exFAT, since it works with most operating systems. Most hard drives come in NTFS, though, so you may need to buy one and then reformat it. Keep in mind it's not as easy to reformat a HFS+ or APFS drive if you need to use it on Windows.

The physical size of an external hard drive doesn't necessarily translate to the amount of storage space, particularly with the advent of flash storage. You really only have a say in the physical size of a hard drive when it comes to solid-state drives, as there are standard sizes for hard disk drives. Hard disk drives’ spinning disks can come in either 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch sizes. A standard size for a portable hard disk drive, for example, is the Western Digital Elements 2TB hard drive, which comes in at 4.35 x 3.23 x 0.59 inches. Smaller desktop hard drives come in at around 7 x 5 inches and range up from there.

Solid-state hard drives can be much smaller, making them much more portable. The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD, for example, comes in a size of 3.79 x 1.95 x 0.35 inches — a fairly average size for solid-state drives.

External hard drives can come with features designed to keep files more secure, which might be important if you plan on using yours to store sensitive information. For example, some hard drives offer password-protection by default, meaning you can easily set a password to keep all your files safe. Some also offer high-level encryption, rendering your files useless to those who don’t have your password, even if they manage to somehow hack into the drive.

A hard drive buffer is essentially storage that exists between the computer and the actual storage in a hard drive. Files stored by the hard drive in the buffer can be accessed far quicker than those stored in the main storage of a hard drive, and the bigger the hard drive buffer — sometimes called the cache — the better the overall performance the drive is likely to have.

Generally speaking, you really only need to care about the size of the buffer if you plan on running software from your hard drive. If all you’re doing is storing files, the type of drive and the speed of the disk will be much more important.

If you do feel as though you need a hard drive with a larger buffer, then we recommend getting one with at least a 64MB cache, though those with 128MB and even 256MB are pretty common, too.

Price

Depending on the type of hard drive and the amount of storage you opt for, the price can vary drastically.

Hard disk drives, as mentioned, are much cheaper than solid-state drives, so if you need a lot of storage at a reasonable price, a HDD might be the way to go. You can expect to pay around as little as 3 cents per GB for a HDD.

On the other hand, it's not uncommon to see a solid-state drive that runs into 25 cents per GB. Lower-capacity SSDs might range up to 40 cents per GB, while 2TB SSDs might come at 20 cents. Of course, that still makes for a drive that costs hundreds of dollars.

Conclusion

While there's a lot to keep in mind when buying an external hard drive, hopefully, this will help you narrow down your selection. Our overall recommendations? If you want lots of storage at a reasonable price, and don’t plan on moving your hard drive around a lot, go for an HDD. If you want fast performance and either don’t need a lot of storage or are willing to spend more, then an SSD is your best best. In both cases, it’s a good idea to find a drive that supports USB 3.0 or later, and a USB-C port might be helpful depending on whether your computer has a USB-C port.

There are a few brands that have built a reputation for quality external hard drives, including Western Digital, SanDisk, and Seagate. It’s often worth buying a hard drive from a reputable brand, as smaller companies may not offer much in the way of support for faulty drives.

Rest assured, no matter what your needs are there’s likely a hard drive out there for you, and hopefully purchasing is a little easier with your new-found knowledge of their key features.

Storage space on your laptop or PC is insufficient for keeping all your files? Start using an external hard drive! This compact device will allow you to have your most important data at hand. To help you make the right pick, we have shortlisted 5 best external hard drive disks that are present on the market....Read more...Read less
If you’re looking for more speed, Western Digital external hard drive is what you need. With numerous backup options, your data will always be securely stored.
Compared with the other EHDs, this one is a bit heavier, yet, it’s all worth the functionality it offers.
Western Digital USB external hard drive is an amazing choice for any professional photographer since it allows storing large amounts of data in the ultimate security owing to automatic backup.
detailed parameters

8 TB ( 3 TB, 4 TB, 6 TB, 10 TB, 12 TB, 20 TB)

Desktop
Mains (via power adapter)
2.23 lbs

Windows

Reformatting is required for Mac OS operating system

Automatic local and cloud backup

3-year warranty

You get 2-month complimentary membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan with this model. It lets you edit, share, and store your photos with ease.

Cord insulation is a bit stiff.

The Seagate Portable External Hard Drive is a reliable and compact device that you can throw into your bag or jeans pocket and have all the important data at hand 24/7.

detailed parameters

5 TB (1 TB, 2 TB, 4 TB)

Portable

via USB

0.545 lb

Windows, Mac OS

Seagate Dashboard backup

Limited 2-year warranty

With this model, you get the access to the free trial of WD SmartWare Pro. It helps store your backups on the external hard drive itself and in the Dropbox.

The user manual could be more informative.

The WD Element HDD transfers data very fast with the USB 3.0 (100 Mb/s). And with its capacity, this model can store quite large video/audio libraries as well as expand storage on your gaming console.

detailed parameters

4 TB (1 TB, 2 TB, 3 TB)

Portable

via USB

0.52 lb

Windows® 10, Windows 8, Windows 7

Reformatting is required for other operating systems

Automatic local and cloud backup with WD SmartWare Pro

Limited 2-year warranty

This HDD is very simple in use. It connects to a PC (both Mac and Windows) within a second via USB 3.0 at the maximal speed of 120Mb/s.

It is a bit noisy when running.

Thanks to high speed, capacious design, auto-setup, included 18' USB 3.0 cable, and aluminum body, this Portable External Hard Drive by Seagate is a reliable device to store photos, music, and documents.

detailed parameters

2 TB (1 TB, 4 TB, 5 TB, 8 TB)

Portable (Desktop available)

via USB

0.418 lb

Windows, Mac OS

Seagate Dashboard backup

Limited 1-year warranty

This portable external hard drive provides extra protection of your data owing to 256-bit AES hardware encryption. The device looks rather stylish and you can choose one of 4 available colors.
Some users think the light indicator is too bright.
Having chosen this external hard drive, you will not only get a lot of storage space but you will also be sure about the top security of your data thanks to automatic backup.
detailed parameters

2 TB (1 TB, 3 TB, 4 TB)

Portable

via USB

0.35 lb

Windows

Reformatting is required for Mac OS X operating system

Automatic local and cloud backup

Limited 3-year warranty

Western Digital My Book

Type

This is a desktop external hard drive that helps you easily expand storage space if your computer's drive is overfilled with files. This Western Digital device is a perfect choice for professional photographers who make thousands of pictures and need immense storage space for them. Storing gigabytes of images right on your computer makes no sense, whilst an external hard drive disk not only contains all essential files but also backs them all up.

Capacity

It's one of the most high-capacity USB external hard drives available on the market. Several capacity options are available: 3 TB, 4 TB, 6 TB, 8 TB, 10 TB, 12 TB, 16 TB and 20 TB. Thus, even the most demanding buyer can find the right model of this fantastic hard drive. The 8 TB external hard drive disk allows you to store all your files: images, photos, games, music, videos, movies, and so on. Therefore, storing HD-videos and Blu-Ray movies won't be a problem any more!

Speed

This cutting-edge USB external hard drive surely has what to boast of in terms of data transfer rate. If connected via USB 3.0, the maximum speed reaches 5 Gb/s, so you will be able to copy files momentarily and an HD movie will require several minutes (forget about painful 2-hour waits!). If the other device or computer has USB 2.0 support only, don't worry - this external HDD is 100% compatible with USB 2.0 but the read/write speed falls to 480 Mb/s.

Design and Size

Western Digital My Book desktop external hard drive has a stylish black plastic casing that has 4 small feet, so you can easily put the device upright. This unit looks stunning on your computer desk. As usual, an external hard drive of this kind can be placed right near the monitor. The front panel of this external HDD has a light indicator and a stylish Western Digital logo. The overall weight of the unit is 2.23 lbs, so it's not the best device to carry around. Oh, let's also mention the form factor of the external HDD that is 3.5'.

OS Compatibility and Backup

This WD external hard drive disk is compatible with Windows OS, so if you are using Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10, you just need to connect the computer and the external HDD via a USB cable. Although, it doesn't mean that this model can't be used as Mac hard drive external device. Since Windows and Mac OS are based on different file management systems, after a quick reformatting, Western Digital external hard drive will become Mac-friendly. If you are concerned about security of your data, this device is surely a must-have. First of all, the unit is supplied with WD Backup software - it works quietly and performs automatic backups. No need to say, you can set a schedule of backups, and if you have a Dropbox account - this software can save backup files right to it! But that's not all - Acronis True Image WD Edition software backs up files on a system level, which means it makes a copy of the whole system (with all settings, installed apps, etc.). Be sure, if a system failure occurs, you will be able to restore it entirely thanks to Acronis True Image.

Best External Hard Drive For Pc Or Mac

Additional Info

VIDEO
WD 8TB My Book unboxing and review

Key Specs

It's really fast. It's faster than my old seagate barracuda internal drive connected through Sata III. It has an average sequential read and write of 160 MB/s.

Features

The drive is faster than I expected. It took about 1 day to copy 5.14 TB to it via USB 3. Those were mostly music files 3MB to 60mb plus some videos.

Size & Weight

A file backup hard drive made for desktops. Not made to be highly portable as in the smaller, pocket-sized versions; it's made as a book-sized appliance that sits next to your desktop computer.

Seagate Backup Plus Portable

EXPAND YOUR DATA STORAGE CAPABILITIES

Aiming to produce a capacious and compact HDD at the same time, Seagate engineers have designed the new series of Backup Plus external hard drives. Made smaller to fit into a pocket of your jeans, this external HDD offers 5 TB of memory to store tens of thousands of photos, documents, and other media. The manufacturer also sells 1 TB, 2 TB, and 4 TB models, so you can choose the one that meets your needs best.

Its capacity is only one of the many great features the Backup Plus has to offer, though. Made to be convenient and safe to use on-the-go, this drive is durable enough to withstand accidental drops and scratches. The Seagate Plus is produced from metal, so it ensures great shock resistance. Also, if color matters to you, this model is available in black, red, silver, and blue, so you can choose the one you like more.

Software is what we absolutely love about Seagate. This small device can backup data automatically from any gadget, you only need to set it up right.

The only weak point of this model is its cord insulation. It’s a bit stiff. That said, being stiffer also means it is more resistant to wear and tear, so it should serve you for a long while.

BACK UP AND SAVE UP

The first thing you should do after purchasing this external hard drive is to install the Seagate Dashboard app. This is important to do especially if you deal with lots of data. The thing is, this app has a Protect function which enables performing quick backups with but a single click, thus guaranteeing safety of your files. In addition to that, it allows you to create your own backup schedule so that the software runs backs up at a time you need.

Also, we recommend installing the Seagate Media app. This app will come in handy if you have a large library of images on your smartphone or laptop, which you wish to store on the HDD.

And with the Seagate Plus, for example, you'll get a 2-month complimentary membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan. It will provide you access to Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC and more, offering you plenty of editing tools to retouch your photos.

On top of that, Seagate gives its users a one-year complimentary subscription to Mylio Create. This is the app that helps organize photos into a life calendar, as well as allows you to edit, share, and sync them across multiple devices.

ONE FOR ALL

It is not the news that this HDD by Seagate is compatible with both Mac and Windows PCs right out-of-the-box. What you might not have been aware of though is that it doesn't require reformatting for being used with Mac. This means if you have gadgets running on Mac, you will only need to install the Mac driver before the first use. Handy, isn't it?

GREAT IN ALL MATTERS

Fast data copying with the USB 3.0/2.0, lots of storage space, scheduled auto backups, user-friendly software, and shockproof housing are the many benefits that Seagate offers its users. So, if you are looking for an easy way to store your data, the Seagate Plus drive hits the sweet spot.

Additional Info

Western Digital Elements

Plug and Transfer

The WD Element can rightly be called one of the most reliable external hard drives on the market. It is quite compact for the model with a storage space of 2 TB and fairly affordable for the external HDD of its range. Plus, the manufacturer offers you more and less capacious models (1 TB / 2 TB / 3 TB) so that you could get the one that meets your individual needs.

As any other portable hard drive in our review, this one is powered through the USB cable. You can either use USB 3.0 or 2.0, but as you know, data transfer is faster with the former: it is 100 Mb/s with USB 3.0 and about 38 Mb/s with its alternative. Speaking in terms of time, to burn a 1GB video file on your WD, you will need to wait for either 10 or 40 seconds with USB 3.0 or 2.0 respectively.

The Element HDD is compatible with most OSs: Windows 7 and higher, Mac, and Linux. For Windows users, it is ready to use right from the box, just plug it into your PC and you are ready to go. The external hard drive is NTFS pre-formatted for Windows. If you reformat your hard drive in FAT-32 for example, it will work on any system. Gamers can also benefit from this model since this WD hard drive can easily expand storage on Xbox One, PS4, and other gaming consoles. A great opportunity to have all the important data at hand 24/7.

Intuitive Control

As we have mentioned before this model is user-friendly and it starts working right after you plug it in. It’s like using a flash drive, though no flash drive will give you so much storage space at this price. But there is more!

The Element hard drive comes with the WD SmartWare Pro. It allows you to back up your data in Dropbox thus expanding your data storage options greatly. The installation app is on the HDD, you just need to run it on your PC and follow several simple instructions. However, don’t forget to save it elsewhere before formatting the hard drive.

Made to Last

Being made of high-quality materials, the WD Element pleases its user with a pretty durable construction. It is wear-proof and can withstand accidental drops and hits, thus protecting the hard drive and all your data reliably.

The front and back sides of the housing have a matte finish so it is not a fingerprint magnet. That is a clever touch considering how annoying fingerprints on a glossy surface can be. Otherwise, the design is pretty simple, no bells and whistles. If you care little about your HDD being eye-catching and more about its functionality, that wouldn't be much of a problem, though. Finally, this 4TB model is pretty compact, so there is no need to carry your briefcase for the HDD only. Just drop it in your pocket.

Good Value for Money

Without a doubt, the WD element hard drive is a pretty simple and user-friendly model that can store hundreds of video files, thousands of audio tracks, and so many more for you securely. At the same time, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Does it sound like the hard drive you are looking for? Then the WD HDD is right up your alley.

Additional Info

Seagate Portable

PLENTY OF STORAGE FOR A REASONABLE PRICE

Seagate is a well-known company producing innovative and reliable data storage devices for over 40 years. Today, the company offers a wide range of products, making it easy for buyers to find products they need. The Portable External Hard Drive is one of their best hard drives: it is capable of holding up to 2 TB of files and documents and it offers a super-fast transfer speed of 120 MB/s. However, these aren't the only benefits of this model. Just like most quality hard drives, this one has a slim, sharp design. It weighs only 0.418 lb so you can easily put it in your pocket if you need to carry it with you. Also, it is simple to use. Once you connect it to your computer and the operating system recognizes it - this usually takes a couple of seconds - it will be ready to use.

SMOOTH AND COMPACT

We've mentioned that this external HDD is rather lightweight. What we'd like to add is that it also has an ergonomic build making it convenient to hold in the hand. Plus, it has a beautiful matte coating that not only adds appeal to it but also prevents fingermarks, which often spoil the look of devices. More to that, the matte coating is pleasant to the touch and doesn't slip. It is also worth highlighting that this model is very durable thanks to its aluminum body. You can be sure it will endure falls and won't show the signs of wear and tear. This can be important for those who live active lives.

FAST-SPEED INTERFACE

With this Portable External Hard Drive, you will not need to trade capacity for speed as it has them both. On top of 2 TB of storage space, the drive boasts a speedy USB interface with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports making it compatible with old and new devices. This makes it a good purchase for families that use a mix of gadgets.

BACKUP AND RESTORE WITH SEAGATE DASHBOARD SOFTWARE

The advantage of buying from Seagate is that the company provides its users with Seagate Dashboard software for free, so they don't need to run any additional costs. This software allows not only backing up files but also restoring them should you ever damage or accidentally delete your files. The backups can run automatically or be performed manually on-demand when needed.

The Seagate Portable External Hard Drive has many strong points, however, it also has one minor con - as compared to some other external hard drives in its class, its operation is a little noisy. That said, given you're unlikely to keep it running non-stop, we believe, this shouldn't be an issue.

Summing up, we'd definitely recommend you to consider buying this external storage hard drive. Compact, reliable, and speedy, it will provide quick access to the files you need no matter where you go.

Additional Info

Western Digital My Passport

Type

This external hard drive disk is a portable model that is rather compact, so you can easily carry it with you in a laptop bag or backpack. A fantastic device that you can always have at hand no matter where you go: to work, on a trip, or to college. Since it's a portable external hard drive, it's powered from USB. Therefore, you just need to plug a USB cable into your PC or laptop and the HDD will work. No need to say, you can use the same USB 3.0 interface to connect the external hard drive disk to a TV and other devices.

Capacity

Having chosen this portable external hard drive, you can select one of the several available models that differ in the capacity they provide. All in all, there are the following capacity options: 1 TB, 2 TB, 3 TB and 4 TB. Therefore, you can pick the most appropriate capacity according to your needs. For example, an external hard drive disk with 1 TB capacity is more than enough for storing great amounts of photos, music, documents and videos. However, if you have a massive collection of movies, we'd recommend you to choose either a 3TB model or a 4TB one.

Speed

The data transfer speed of this external hard drive depends on the type of USB connection you use. Western Digital has a USB 3.0 support, so if you plug it into the USB 3.0 slot of your PC or laptop, you will be able to transfer files at the maximum speed of 5 Gb/s. However, if your computer has only USB 2.0 interfaces, the read/write speed will fall to 480 Mb/s. However, these are the maximum rates, and the real speed might differ for various reasons. The spindle rotation speed of this external hard drive disk is 5400 RPM.

Design and Size

Western Digital portable external hard drive is rather compact. Just imagine! It's almost of the same size with your passport. The dimensions of the device are as follows: 4.3 x 3.2 x 0.6 inches. It goes without saying that the weight of the unit depends on its capacity and the one we have tested weighs 0.37 lbs. We all know that some people want to emphasize their personal style, and this external HDD will give a chance to pick one of 4 available colors: black, blue, white, and berry.

OS Compatibility and Backup

This USB external hard drive supports USB 3.0 connection and, of course, it is fully compatible with computers, laptops, and other devices that have USB 2.0 interface only. The gadget is ready to use right out of the box in case you use a Windows-operated computer (or laptop). If, however, you're a Mac user - a reformatting of the external hard drive's file system is required. Moreover, the unit provides the highest level of security for your data - both local and cloud automatic backups are available.

Additional Info

VIDEO
WD My Passport 2TB Black Unboxing and SpeedTest

Features

Rubber 'feet' on underside keep it in place

Key Specs

High Capacity Available - Up to 4TB (The older model when released had up to 3TB capacity, up until a 6/28/16 release of a short lived 4TB model)

Size & Weight

I loved the blue of it, and I loved the portability it offered.

What Is an External Hard Drive?

External hard drives (EHD) are additional data storage devices. These handy gadgets provide a reliable backup of any information on your computer - from music and documents to 4k movies and PS4 games.

They can be connected to a computer via a USB cable, FireWire, or wirelessly. External hard drives are compact, portable, and very simple in use. You don’t need to install any software on your computer to start using it. Just plug it in and drag and drop your files.

These devices are usually very capacious. The storage space of a hard drive starts at 500 MB and can reach 20 TB, while its size and weight don't change. Some manufacturers even provide their customers with extra cloud storage space. This is a very handy feature when you work on several computers. So, even if you leave your HDD at home, your files will be with you.

As for the data transfer speed, external hard drives run at 120Mb/s, which is quite enough for regular use. However, if a higher speed is crucial for you, there are super-fast externalsolid-state drives (SSD) available on the market, too. They can transfer data at up to 10 Gb/s. Also, if you are a happy owner of PlayStation 4, we offer you PS4 hard drives for any taste and budget.

What Features to Compare

Type

The first thing to consider when selecting an external hard drive is whether you want a portable unit or a desktop one. Portable external hard drives are small in size, which makes them easy to carry, plus they work directly off a USB port, so all you need is a USB cable. Desktop external hard drive disk, in turn, are bigger in size, they boast higher capacity, and they are best suited for home use. Unlike portable models, they work off the mains via a power adapter.

Capacity

The next thing to consider is the capacity of an external hard drive disk. This parameter may vary, ranging from 200 MB up to 16-20 TB, so everyone should be able to pick the capacity that will best suit their needs.

Speed

Also, we recommend paying attention to the speed rate at which the data is transferred from/to the drive disk. The speed rate primarily depends on the type of USB interface used. For USB 2.0, the maximum data transfer rate reaches around 480 Mb/s, while for USB 3.0 it can be whopping 5 Gb/s. That said, you should not forget that the maximum speed can be achieved only if both a computer and a disk support USB 3.0. Another parameter determining the performance of an external hard drive disk is a spindle rotation speed. If possible, check it out as well. Generally, external drive disks have a spindle rotation speed of 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM.

Size andDesign

Check out the size and design of a disk. Most commonly, the form factor of external hard drive disks varies from 2.5' to 3.5'. This number refers to the dimensions of a magnetic disk located inside the casing. No need to say, the smaller the form factor is, the more compact and lightweight the device is. However, as we've mentioned above, remember that smaller HDDs are usually less capacious.

OS Compatibility and Backup

Pay attention to the default file system of the chosen external hard drive disk. It is crucial because HDDs are not universal: some are designed for Windows, some can work with both Windows and Mac OS, and some will require reformatting for compatibility with other operating systems. Actually, most HDDs can be reformatted to work with a system you need at any stage, but in most cases, this will mean deleting valuable files that you keep there. That's why it's best to check up OS compatibility right away.

Finally, check out safety features. The best external hard drives offer high-level data protection to make sure your files won't be lost and regularly perform local backups. Some models also support cloud backup, i.e. your files are copied to remote cloud storage. These backups are carried out automatically on a schedule that you choose.

Sources:

1. Natalia RealHOW TO BUY AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE, Digital Trends. December 9, 2012.

2. Lisa JohnstonTips for Buying a Portable or External Hard Drive, Lifewire. February 14, 2017.

3. Dong NgoStorage buying guide, CNET. November 20, 2015.

4. Michael BrownHow to buy the best portable hard drive, PCWorld. December 5, 2012.

5. Hard disk drive, Wikipedia.

6. Caron BeesleyGot Backup? Finding the Best Backup Option for Your Small Business Data, SBA. February 16, 2012.

7. Desire Athow10 Things to Consider When Buying An External Hard-disk based Storage Device, ITProPortal. June 24, 2008.