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Extra Storage: Finding the Best External Drive

Extra Storage: Finding the Best External Drive

If you own a laptop or a computer, you probably looked for one which has a huge storage capacity before purchasing it. We all need the space to save files, movies, music, photos, and even applications that we need.

You may be a music lover or love to have a complete collection of the movies that you love. Or just like most of us, you love taking photos and save each and every file, refusing to delete any of them.

Who can blame you? These are important to you!

Still, we all know that as time passes, we accumulate files on our laptops and computers that make our devices lag with every use.

Before the advent of external hard drives, we are often forced to tediously go over our precious files and find which ones we can afford to delete just to free up some space. Who loves doing this, really?

Another problem that we face with laptops and computers is that failing to back up our important files on another device increases the risk of losing them in the event of a hard –drive crash. One day you’re working perfectly fine on your laptop then suddenly it dies on you.

Well now, external drives have become one of the essential devices that people have with them to save and back up their files. These devices work just like your USB where you simply plug it in your laptop and computer then transfer your files to it.

Having an external drive means that your important files are secured and backed up while letting you free up space on your laptop or computer without needing to delete them.

In this article, we will discuss everything that you need to know about finding the best external drive.

How to Choose the Best External Drive

If you know the importance of having an external drive where you can save and backup your files, you should know that there are important factors that you should consider before purchasing. In the same way that you carefully each specification of your smartphone or computer, you should also examine the different options there are for external drives.

Since you will be storing your important files in these babies, you would want something that you can rely on—not something that will fail you. These are the things that you should consider when choosing an external drive:

What Type of External Drive Do You Want?

For most of us, we see all external drives as one and the same—something where we can save and back up our files. But did you know that there are two types of external drives?

The first type is the “solid-state drives (SSD)” which are fast but expensive external drives. The second type is the “hard disk drives (HDD) which are less expensive and are great for personal use.

How Much Storage Space Do You Need?

Since you own a computer, you are well aware how much storage your files use on your device’s memory. You should identify what types of files occupy most of your storage space.

If you are going to store mainly documents and spreadsheets on your external drive, one that has a 250GB memory can last you a long time. However, if you are going to back up your files, store your photos, music, and videos, a bigger external drive that has a storage capacity of 1TB or 2TB would be your best bet.

Do You Need Security for Your External Hard Drive?

Most external drives are only used for storing files and data. However, there are some models that provide extra security in terms of backing up your file automatically of file retrieval.

There are also some external drives that require you to enter your password before you can access the files stored in it. External drives that have security options cost a little more than regular ones but they will ensure that your files are kept safe.

What to Look for in a Good External Drive

Storage Capacity

As we have said earlier, storage capacity is your priority when looking for an external drive. You should identify just how much extra storage space you need depending on the files you will save and backup on your external drive.

Portability

Are you planning to carry around your external drive with you during your travels or when you go to work? Then you should consider a more compact external drive that has a shock protection feature and can use your laptop as its power source.

This protects your hard drive from any damage in case you drop it. Bulkier external drives are best for home use since they can be easily damaged when you carry them around with you, especially those types that require a power adapter or external power source.

Transfer Speed

Different external drive models also have different transfer speeds. A hard drive that has a USB 3.0 feature has ten times faster transfer speed as opposed to the USB 2.0 interface.

If you are going to copy only documents and small files, a USB 2.0 can work just fine for you. However, transferring large files like movies and music can take long with this type of USB interface.

Of course, you should check first if your computer or laptop can support the faster USB 3.0 interface.

Security

As we have said earlier, there are external drive models that have a security feature installed in them. If you are going to store files that you want to encrypt or do not want anybody to access without your permission, look for a model that has built-in encryption or one that has a built-in software that requires you to enter your password before you can access the files stored inside.

Compatibility

Are you using a PC or a Macbook? There are external drives that are meant to be used only for either a PC or a MacBook.

You should always check this before purchasing otherwise you will only be wasting money after finding out that it is not compatible with your laptop or computer.

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Product

Price

Rating

   Seagate Expansion Portable External Drive USB 3.0  $  4.4/5
  Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable Hard Drive  $  4.5/5
  Transcend 1TB StoreJet M3 Military Drop Tested USB 3.0 External Drive  $$  4.3/5
  WD 1TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0  $  4.5/5
  Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0  $$$  4.3/5
   Silicon Power Rugged Armor A60 Shockproof / Water-Resistant 2.5-Inch USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive  $  4.4/5
   WD 4TB Blue-Black My Passport Ultra Metal Edition Portable External Hard Drive  $$$  4.5/5
   LaCie Rugged Mini USB 3.0 / USB 2.0 1TB External Hard Drive  $$  4.3/5
   G-Technology G-DRIVE USB 3.0 4TB External Hard Drive  $$$  4.4/5
   Western Digital 3 TB USB 3.0 My Book Desktop External Hard Drive  $$$  4.3/5

Product Reviews

Seagate Expansion 2TB Portable External Drive USB 3.0

The Seagate Expansion 2TB Portable external drive is one of the smallest drives that can be easily carried around even inside your pockets. This makes it an extremely portable drive while being capable of taking light falls and bumps.

Accessing your files while you’re on the go is easy as ever since this external drive does not need an external power source. You will simply need to plug the device with its eighteen inches USB 3.0 cord.

After plugging it in, the external drive will appear automatically on your computer.

It has an energy efficient feature of 5,400 rotations per minute which means it consumes less energy from your laptop or computer.

The smaller rotation per minute of this external drive does not mean that it has a slower performance than other drives that has a 7,200 rotation per minute.

The Seagate Expansion 2TB Portable external drive is ready to use for laptops and computers that have a Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 operating system since it is formatted to an NTFS file system.

If you happen to have a Mac OS, you can reformat the drive into an HFS+ file system easily. If you plan on using it on both Mac and Windows operating systems, you can also reformat it into and exFAT file system.

One thing you should consider when buying this external drive is that it has no security features and automatic backup software.

A summary of the Seagate Expansion 2TB Portable external drive features are:

  • It has an easy plug-and-play feature for users who have a Windows operating system on their computers or laptop
  • It is formatted to an NTFS file system that works well with Windows 7 and up
  • You can format the device so you can use it with a Mac operating system (HFS+) or both Mac and Windows (exFAT)
  • Energy efficient feature of 5400 rotations per minute
  • Dimensions: 4.8 x 3.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Portable and easy to carry around even in your pockets
  • Can take small bumps and falls
  • Has 2TB storage system that can store up to 1,000 hours of videos
  • Easy drag-and-drop file transfer
  • Works with both USB 3.0  and USB 2.0 that transfer files fast and easy
  • The cable USB 3.0 cable wire is compatible with both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports so you will not have to worry if you do not have a USB 3.0 port on your computer
  • Has a sleek and clean look

Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable Hard Drive

The Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable hard drive comes in a sleek black casing and a compact design which makes it portable to carry around with you anywhere you need to go.

It has an internal shock sensor that protects itself from bumps and incidences of falling. This prevents file and data loss in any case that you accidentally drop your external drive.

It is powered by its USB 3.0 cable so there is no longer a need for an external power source. It takes its power source from your computer so you can use it anytime.

Even though it has a USB 3.0 cable, it is backward compatible and can work with any USB 2.0 port.

The fast file transfer of this device reaches up to 5GB per second so you will no longer have to wait long even when transferring huge files.

This external drive also has a ramp loading technology that prevents unwanted data loss in cases you accidentally unplug your device from your laptop without ejecting it properly.

Easily recognizable by any Windows operating system, simply plugging this device to your laptop and computer will automatically show your external drive storage. Unlike older external drive models, the Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable hard drive no longer needs to install software before you can use it and transfer your files.

A summary of the Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable hard drive features are:

  • Has 1 TB storage capacity or 820 video files
  • Fast transfer rate of 5GB per second
  • Has an energy efficient feature of 5400 rotations per minute
  • Plug-and-play operation that no longer needs software installation to work with any Windows operating system
  • Comes in a sleek, compact, and smudge-resistant design
  • It has a ramp-loading technology and an internal shock sensor to protect your files when you accidentally bump or drop it
  • Comes with a USB 3.0 cable that works with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports
  • Comes with a one year warranty
  • Dimensions: 4.7 x 3.1 x 0.6 inches

Transcend 1TB StoreJet M3 Military Drop Tested USB 3.0 External Drive

The Transcend 1 TB StoreJet M3 Military Drop Tested USB 3.0 external hard drive boasts of combining fast data transfer and shock –resistant body for protecting your files fully.

This external drive has a USB 3.0 port and cable wire that is also compatible with the lower USB 2.0 ports. This means that you can use it with any older port model that you have in your computer.

The military-grade shock resistant feature of this external drive is made with a three-stage shock protection system that prevents file and data loss in the event that you drop or bump it.

The outer casing is made with a silicone material to prevent slipping while the hard casing and internal drive suspension damper further enhances shock and impact protection. This external drive was able to withstand hard falls as proven by the US military drop test.

Another great feature of the Transcend 1 TB StoreJet M# Military Drop Tested USB 3.0 external hard drive is the one-touch auto-backup button that lets you backup your files easily when synchronized with its Transcend Elite software.

Also, the on or off button lets you turn off the device and safely unplug it from your computer without actually unplugging the cable.

A summary of the Transcend 1 TB StoreJet M3 Military Drop Tested USB 3.0 external hard drive features are:

  • Military-grade shock resistant body that protects your files from hard falls as proven by the US military drop test
  • Its three-stage shock protection system is greater than other external drive models to provide better protection and durability
  • Has a durable anti-shock silicone casing that provides additional protection from falls and bumps
  • Has a quick reconnect button for safely reconnecting your external drive without unplugging and re-plugging your USB cable
  • Has a one-touch automatic backup button to backup your files from your computer or laptop easily
  • 256-EAS file and encryption feature for added security
  • Fast data transfer with its USB 3.0 cable and 90MB/s rate
  • Has a LED power and data indicator that shows when your device is turned on and /or transferring files
  • Comes with a Transcend Elite data management software to maximize the use of your external drive for backing up  and encrypting files
  • Easy plug-and-play feature which requires no software installation before use
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems
  • Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.1 x 3.25 inches

WD 1TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0


The WD 1TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 is one of the best portable hard drives that offers fast data transfer and easy backup of your files. Its WD backup option lets you backup your files and data automatically to the cloud or your Dropbox account.

You can have the option to schedule backing up your files for a quick and easier process.

The 256-bit AES hardware password and encryption protection of this external drive let you have the option of locking your device such that a password is required before anyone can access your files. This is a great feature if you have important files that you want to protect.

The WD 1TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 is a plug-and-play device which you can easily use with any Windows operating system. Upon plugging it into your laptop, you can easily download WD utilities, WD backup, and WD security software from the WD website.

The external drive is installed with a setup client where you can choose to install one or all the software. The WD utilities software lets you check your external drive’s status and performance so you can always check to see if there are problems with it.

A summary of the WD 1TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 features are:

  • 1TB storage capacity
  • Formatted NTFS for easy plug-and-play use with Windows 7 and above operating system
  • Requires reformatting for use with a Mac operating system
  • Has a USB 3.0 cable for faster data transfer while still able to work with a USB 2.0 port
  • Fast data transfer rate of 5GB per second
  • Has a 256-bit AES password protection and hardware encryption feature to lock and unlock your device
  • Has a WD backup option where you can back up your files to Dropbox through cloud services
  • Backing up your files can be scheduled automatically
  • Also available in blue, red and white
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty
  • Dimensions: 4.3 x 3.2 0.6 inches

Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0

The Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0 provides one of the biggest storage and backup in the market. With 5TB storage, you can save and backup thousands of your files without worries.

Slightly larger than the standard external drive, this model is meant for desktop use at the office or in your home since it requires an external power source to be used. This is quite understandable for an external drive that has a huge storage capacity.

With its 3.0 USB cable and power port, transferring and copying your files will be faster than ever. Even though it has a USB 3.0 cable, it is still backward compatible and can work seamlessly with your computer or laptop’s USB 2.0 port.

The Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0 has ventilation holes located on the body’s side and bottom to keep its internal drive cool while you are using it.

Even though this external drive is formatted to work with a Windows OS, it comes with an NTFS driver for Mac. You will simply need to reformat this drive so you can read and write files from your MacBook.

When you purchase this external drive and plug it into your laptop or computer, you will see Seagate Dashboard backup software that you can install. This software includes PC backup, Mobile Backup, and Social.

You can use the backup software to select the files that you want to be backed up or let the software identify on its own the files that should be backed up.  After identifying the files that you want to be regularly backed up, you can schedule the software to automatically backup your files for you.

A summary of the Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0 features are:

  • Comes with a 3.5 inches USB cable and power adaptor
  • Fast File transfer with its USB 3.0 cable that is also backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports
  • Easy drag-and-drop file transfer and copying
  • Requires reformatting to enable compatibility with a Mac operating system
  • Comes with an NTFS driver software for Mac
  • Has ventilation holes located on its body’s side and bottom to keep the drive cool while in use
  • No software installation needed to be used
  • Includes a Seagate Dashboard Agent that works for both Mac and Windows operating systems
  • Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Weight: 2.1pounds