Best External Hard Drive for MacBook Pro
MacBook Pros are some of the best laptops available on the market. They are praised for their build quality, their design, and their performance alike. It is a pinnacle of modern engineering and technology. Basically what laptops do really well (and thus, MacBook Pros even better), is combine a set of gadgets that work for a specific function into one cohesive device.
All these different “gadgets” have better versions of them when looked at separately. For example, if you take the screen alone, which is almost like looking at an iPad, you can quickly search the internet to find better screens than the one you are holding.
However, since MacBook Pros and other devices are usually equipped with really good “gadgets” or elements to be more precise, people never really look into these things and don’t even have an option to.
There is, however, a crucial element of the build of laptops which can be improved very simply, and that is the internal storage space they have. Many people nowadays have a need to extend their storage spaces, which can easily be done by adding an external hard drive to your collection of devices. In this article, we are looking at the best external hard drives for the MacBook Pro.
Best Buy External Hard Drive for MacBook Pro – Overall
The first category with every such review or list is the overall category for a reason. It is the one which will satisfy the needs of the largest range of people who are interested in the given topic, which will be our goal as well. Here, we wanted to find an external drive that doesn’t have one or two characteristics about them which are really striking while the others are dull, we wanted something balanced. When you look at external drives, there are a couple of features or characteristics that you can judge them by, these are price, design, popularity, performance, reliability, sturdiness, and storage space. We tried to find a drive that has decent scores in all those fields.
Our choice for the best external hard drive to purchase for a MacBook Pro is the Samsung T5 1 TB Portable SSD. It is a clear winner, in fact, it tops most lists we made in similar topics since it is just a very well-rounded and sensible piece of equipment. It is affordable for its performance, which is quite top-notch for an everyday-use external drive, it is also well-designed, it is very reliable and sturdy. In short, it is all that an overall winner should be and is all that most MacBook Pro users need.
First, we believe it is our duty to preface the review with a couple of words about the company producing this great device. Samsung is a major name in all of the electronics business, all the way from TVs and refrigerators to some of the best smartphones are produced by them. They are the largest rival to Apple and are one of the most popular and reliable devices around. Somehow Samsung always manages to produce a product within the sweet spot, where the device is balanced properly, it isn’t oo high-end to be considered a luxury device, neither is it cheap or low-quality in any way. They hit the right markers in all aforementioned aspects with most devices they produce. The Samsung T5 is a hallmark of this sort of quality.
The Samsung T5 1 TB SSD costs around 140 dollars at the time of writing this article and delivers a lot for that price. It comes in a couple of different colors (black, blue, and red) for those who like variety. It is a relatively small device (74 x 57.3 x 10.5 mm), with a simple, yet elegant and sleek look to it. It is sturdy and durable, withstanding drops from almost 2 meters as well, so if your cat manages to push it off of your working table, you won’t lose your data.
The official Samsung claim is that the T5 is capable of data transfer at rates of up to 540 Mb/s, which is more than enough for any type of everyday task, like storing files and videos or possibly software you work from. The only place you might run into problems is the pro sphere, where higher-end gadgets are needed, like for video editors who need something that can handle 8k real-time streaming or something of that league. Otherwise, a large majority of things you might need an external drive for can be easily done by the T5.
The device also comes with two separate cables: one USB A to C, and one USB C to C, so you won’t have trouble plugging it into your MacBook Pro. The 1 TB of storage space is more than enough for most common uses. The device can be ordered in different models though, with storage spaces ranging from 500 GB to 2 TB. 1 TB seems to be a perfect size, though.
We, however, do not like to recommend products we haven’t tried ourselves, so we decided to order a 1 TB model and see whether the device really delivers what Samsung says it will. Upon opening, we weren’t surprised to find that the device seems like it is built really well, and also looks and feels like it in the hand. The two cables were included as described, in the packaging.
We then tested it. We plugged it into our MacBook Pro, first to check some basic performance stats, and the device connected without a problem. We tested the device’s speed and got back 528 Mb/s reading speeds and 521 Mb/s writing speeds, which we were pleased about since it validated Samsung’s claims about the device.
After testing the basic performance, we moved our 10 GB test folder onto the drive and back, to see how fast those speeds are in real life uses. It took about 20 seconds, which is really impressive seeing as 10 GB is equivalent to 5 standard-sized movies. You will hardly find a task you can’t successfully complete with the Samsung T5.
We would recommend this device to anyone looking for a very reliable and fast external drive that will last them years. Back in the day when floppy disks were the big deal, buying one still wasn’t good of an investment, since, in a year or two, they were already out of the fashion and have been replaced by CDs and DVDs.
This was because the product wasn’t keeping up with the advancements happening in the world of technology at the time. The Samsung T5 is not a product you will encounter such problems with, however. It is a really well-functioning device, with a build and performance that has the future in mind. If you have a MacBook Pro, that probably means investing a large sum of money into a device that is high-end and lasts long is worth it for you, which is why the Samsung is probably one of your best bets.
A 500+ Mb/s speed will be considered a decent speed in the years to come as well, so it will pair perfectly with the reliable performance of your MacBook Pro, and it isn’t even that expensive. Check out our Overall winner device on Amazon, by clicking on this link!
Best Buy External Hard Drive for MacBook Pro – Budget Pick
Okay, so you have found yourself in a situation where you have an amazing laptop, the MacBook Pro, and you just need a quick, simple and cheap option to extend your storage space to maybe backup some important documents or store old pictures and files on so they don’t take up space in your internal storage and slow the machine down. In this case, however great the Samsung device we mentioned earlier might be, you won’t be needing it. What you will be looking for is a budget option; a device that can store a lot of data is reliable, small, and most importantly, cheap.
For the budget winner for the budget pick category, we chose the WD Elements line of products. The reason we mean the whole line is because the whole line is made up of great budget options, the only difference is the size of the drive itself, which is a user’s preference. These products go all the way from 1TB all the way up to 5TB in storage size, while no other feature of it really changes (except the price, of course). These are some of the best budget options if you are looking for a great device you can store your data on which won’t break the bank.
Not a list of external or internal drives on the internet is whole without the inclusion of at least one WD product. The reason for that is that Western Digital is one of the top 3 names in the “drive world”, next to Seagate and Toshiba. They have been known to make really reliable devices for great prices. They have been in the industry for a long and have developed quite the expertise in the making of external drives. They have also bought G-Technology and SanDisk, which also make different types of external storage spaces. There isn’t much bad that can be said of the company, and the same way, about the WD Elements products.
All WD Elements devices have the same transfer rates and same specs about them, except for the storage space and the size of the physical device itself, since the 5 TB drive will clearly need more space than the 1 TB one. Their transfer speeds are around 120-130 Mb/s according to most advertisements and can keep those speeds reliably, without much fluctuation, which is one of the main characteristics of a good drive. It is an HDD, so it will be slower than SSDs and also less resistant to damage. The WD Elements line has a sleek but simple black design, nothing special or fancy about them, they aren’t as elegant or striking in their design as the Samsung, but one could write that down as it just not wanting to be something it isn’t. The WD Elements devices are budget mass storage spaces, not flashy gimmicks or high-end tech. They keep true to what they are, and in this way, their design fits well with the image of the product.
We had a WD Elements 4 TB HDD on hand from previous tests but we also ordered a 1 TB version just to check whether the performance is similar across the devices, but we thought that ordering the whole product line would be pointless seeing as they are made of the same, nearly identical hardware. To sum it up and to save time, the two performed in nearly the exact same way, with negligible differences in reading and write speeds, for which reason we will only be talking about the 4TB version since the others fare the same way.
The 4TB version is somewhat bulkier than its 1 TB sibling though, which doesn’t come as a surprise since it holds four times as much information. In fact, compared to the storage size difference, the physical difference isn’t all that large. Aside from that, they look the same and have the same simple black design.
After connecting it to our MacBook Pro, we ran a couple of basic speed checks to see whether the estimations on the internet were correct, and we came to the conclusion that they are. We got 121 Mb/s of reading speed and 118 Mb/s of writing speed, which is quite decent for a budget HDD. Aside from that, not much can be said about the performance of the device, except that it is reasonable for anyone who doesn’t consider the usage of their external drives a priority. If one only needs it to store unnecessary files they don’t want to delete, or if they need just a reliable space to store excess data, it is the perfect device. However, don’t expect it to copy 10 GBs in 20 seconds like the Samsung does since it will take you somewhere around a minute and a half to two minutes with the WD.
It does work perfectly well with the MacBook Pro, however, which is the main point. For many people, there is no need to copy files quickly or to backup storage at high speeds. For some, the speeds this device can deliver are more than enough, and the exterior look and feel aren’t even at all that important. We would highly recommend the WD Elements series (especially the 4TB version, since you get 4 times as much space as you would in the Samsung T5, except instead of 140 dollars, you would pay 100) for anyone who just needs extra space to back files up or to store something on, but isn’t necessarily looking for anything spectacular. Check out our best budget option on Amazon by clicking here!
Other Good External Hard Drive for MacBook Pro
The two categories we have written about earlier will cover a large majority of people looking to buy an external drive for their MacBook Pro since many people just want a device that is either good overall or is just a good budget option. However, there are a couple of specific scenarios and specific groups of people, who aren’t satisfied with these options, since their work or hobby requires something a bit more specifically geared. For this purpose, we chose a couple of devices which excel in a specific area or have some characteristic about them which makes them stand out.
The Performance Beast
For a specific, but quite a large group of people, the speed and performance of an external hard drive is the absolute most important characteristic by which they judge the value of the given device. Some people necessarily need to own a very fast external drive, either for work purposes or maybe to be able to pursue their hobby on a high level. These people (and anyone aware of the basic differences between HDD and SSD) by now have probably guessed that the winner of this category will be a high-performing SSD since even worse Solid State Drives have a speed of multiple times that of a higher-end Hard Disk Drive.
The winner in the category for the fastest external hard drive for MacBook Pros is the Samsung X5 2 TB Portable SSD. It has mindblowing speeds, so astonishing in fact that we had trouble believing Samsung at first. However, this speed does come at a cost since the device is listed on Amazon at 550 dollars at the time of writing this article. However much that seems to be at a first glance, the performance and the build of this device will make you reconsider how much you think 550 dollars are.
No more introduction, let’s talk about the specs and features of the Samsung X5 2 TB SSD, starting with the most important one, the speed. This insane piece of equipment, according to Samsung, can transfer data at speeds of up to 2800 Mb/s. That might seem like an unbelievable number because it almost is. For the every-day, moderately tech-savvy person, transfer speeds that reach 1000 Mb/s are already amazing, let alone the speed of this device, nearing 3000 Mb/s.
Transferring an entire 1TB of data takes around 7 minutes with this device, which is just mindboggling speed. That means that you can completely fill the 2TB version of the Samsung X5 with data in 14 minutes. The whole 2 TB space. 550 dollars don’t seem that unreasonable after learning this detail, at least for us.
The design of the X5 has not been left behind either, and it shows; it has a full metal casing with a non-slip texture on the bottom to provide better grip when holding and carrying around, and a glossy metallic finish on top for style. The advertisement for this device draws parallels between this device and a sleek sports car, which would be quite an accurate thing to compare it with. The X5 comes with a Thunderbolt 3 cable in the packaging, which lets you unleash the full potential of the device. Other cables can not transfer this sort of speed, which would mean that regardless of your drive’s speed, you couldn’t use it since the transferring of data happens through the cable.
We ordered and tested a Samsung X5 2 TB Portable SSD with our MacBook Pro, to be able to confidently recommend it. The device has an amazing hand feel and looks a lot like well-designed car keys or a small sports car. It is so good-looking, that you should actually watch out so that nobody takes it since the device might look very attractive to someone eyeing other people’s gadgets. However, it is quite unlikely that they could do anything with it even if they stole it, seeing as though the device can be protected with a password and is also hardware encrypted.
After looking at the device itself, and also reading the manual, we decided to test it. We connected it to our MacBook Pro and it connected without a problem. Then came the moments we were all waiting for, the speed testing. We received 2793 Mb/s of reading speed and 2704 Mb/s of write speed as results. It was almost a scary experience after the much, much slower devices we tested. The 10 GB test folder that we use to test transfer speeds as well took about 3-4 seconds to transfer.
We know that the Samsung X5 2 TB SSD is not meant for all customers, it is expensive and for some people, it is just overkill. But if you are a video editor who works with a lot of RAW footage and wants to perhaps real-time edit 8k video directly off of the drive, this device will perform those tasks like no other. The MacBook Pro is also always associated with people who work in the tech industry and/or the graphics- and audio-industry, so a great external drive like the Samsung X5 could up your game if you own one of these similarly high-power laptops. It has a couple of competitors on the market, but Samsung, as one of the world’s most reliable tech brands, has managed to create an amazing device once again, which is insanely fast, reliable, and good-looking all at once. Check out this link to Amazon if you are interested!
The Popular One
As we mentioned before, MacBook Pros, just like iMacs and other Mac devices are all associated with people working in esteemed and popular positions. They might be video producers, graphic designers, music producers, etc., and almost all of them have probably heard about the company LaCie. The Rugged line of LaCie’s products is an iconic one in the external drive world. The device isn’t much of a wonder performance-wise, but it is definitely a statement piece and an industry-standard to own. It is as iconic as Coca-cola in the world of refreshing drinks or as an Alfa Romeo in the car world. The orange rubber casing and the grey body of this device are frequently seen by the side of people in advertisements or documentaries since they have been the best friends of creators for a long time, just like MacBooks.
The device we will be focusing on is the LaCie Rugged Mini 1TB Portable HDD. It is one of the most popular of all LaCie products due to its compact size and good price. At the time of writing this article, the LaCie Rugged Mini 1TB costs around 70 dollars on Amazon, which is expensive compared to other 1 TB HDDs, but here you are paying for more than just storage space. First of all, the Rugged line got its name and iconic orange casing due to the fact that it is what the name says: a rugged device. That means it can withstand shock, drops, water, and pressure to a higher degree than average. In LaCie’s case, this means drop-protection from 1.2 meters, water-resistance, and also resistance to up to 1 ton of pressure. This is why the reputation of these devices is that they are indestructible.
The performance of the LaCie Rugged Mini is just like any other average HDD device’s: around 120-130 Mb/s of transfer speeds. We tested it and got back 123 Mb/s reading and 116 Mb/s writing speeds. It is perfectly reasonable for an average user, but as we mentioned before, you don’t only pay for the technology included.
Aside from this, you pay for the image and the name mostly. It is like buying Starbucks coffee somewhat. Even though the drink you get isn’t bad, it is undeniable that the high price you are paying is partly due to the image, rather than the expertise itself. Since we are talking about the best external drives for MacBook Pros, it is worth mentioning that on the official Mac Accessories webpage, the first external hard drives recommended and offered are all LaCie products. The brands are connected and have a similar type of expertise and legacy behind them in their respective fields. If you are interested in the stylish orange device which will go really well with your MacBook Pro, check out this link to find the device on Amazon!