What is the Best External Hard Drive to Buy?
In the last few decades, our everyday lives have undergone massive changes. So massive in fact, that it is argued by many anthropologists around the world that this period in history is when changes to our everyday lives happened at the fastest rate. This is mostly thanks to all the modern technology we cannot live without nowadays. About 10-15 years ago, having 12 MB of space on a floppy disk or CD/DVD was considered quite a lot of space. In today’s world, however, a 4 GB USB is already considered fading technology. Though a huge portion of our data can be stored in different types of cloud services, there are multiple situations in which a physical, external hard drive is a non-negotiable element of our work or private life. Either it is used to safely store data, or maybe to extend the storage capacity of a gaming console, it is undeniable that external storages still make up an important part of our gadget arsenal. The other consequence of globalism and improving technologies is the vast amount of products to choose from. In this article, we wanted to break down how to make a choice when buying an external hard drive and also the ultimate question: what is the best external hard drive to buy?
The best external hard drive for the average person to buy is the Seagate 2 TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD USB 3.0 due to its optimal ratio of price, quality, storage space, and reliability.
The aforementioned hard drive is the best overall, but there is a lot more to be said on the issue. If you area gamer, this might not be your best option, or if you work in music production. Modern technology is like clothes: the product should be tailored to the customer. Read on to find out more about how to choose the right external hard drive for you!
What is the best external hard drive to buy?
So, you have decided it is time to invest in an external hard drive, most probably because you need a lot of quickly accessible storage space for a reasonable price. If that is what you are looking for, then the Seagate 2 TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD USB 3.0 is probably the best option for you, and we would like to elaborate on why that is so.
First of all, this product always tops the best external hard drive lists on amazon, or even if it doesn’t, it never falls below 3rd place. There are thousands upon thousands of reviews, which when averaged never come out below 4.7 out of 5. Seeing as this product has so many reviews, that is quite a feat to pull off. However, we don’t take the opinions of people we don’t know for granted, so we decided to test this product.
When the Seagate 2 TB HDD arrived, we got exactly what was promised. The design isn’t anything spectacular or overly fancy; it is just what you need. A sleek, slim, and simple design. You won’t be holding this product in your hand daily like you would a phone or a laptop, so it would be somewhat unnecessary to design an HDD to look better than the previously mentioned items you actually use. For this reason, the design of the Seagate 2 TB HDD is perfectly reasonable. It is what it is: a simple, good quality HDD.
Now, an external hard disk review isn’t properly done without at least a mention of the space on the hard drive, since that is the whole point of the product. However, there isn’t too much to be said here. 2 TB of storage, as most of our readers will probably know, is a lot of space. An average movie is around 2 GB in size, which means this hard drive will fit 1000 movies, just to put the size of the storage space into perspective. We are sure that without some special circumstance, this size will be more than enough for most customers.
The speed of transfer might be the only area where this external hard drive lacks somewhat, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. At around $60-$70, getting 2 TB of space is only possible with HDD technology, which is naturally slower than its SSD counterparts. We do believe, however, that the speed at which this product operates is going to be enough for the majority of users since in an hour one can transfer up to 70 gigabytes of data. That isn’t quite the hypermodern SSD speed, but remember, that is around 35 full-length movies with at least HD quality, in one hour.
Not all customers and not all external disks are created the same, though. However good the Seagate is, it is inevitable that there will be people who just won’t click with the product, or even more likely, that the Seagate doesn’t fit with their requirements. Hence, we decided to collect a couple of alternatives to that product with which we might cover a wider spectrum of user’s needs with recommendations.
The first honorable mention is the WD_Black 4TB P10 Game Drive, Portable External Hard Drive. This is the number one recommendation in Amazon’s external hard drive section, but the reason we didn’t list it as the best one is due to the fact that it is, as the name suggests, geared towards gaming use. Though we absolutely love the military-like design, we do realize it won’t be the first choice for say an office worker who needs some extra space for work purposes. It also might be placed in the almost unrealistic category because of its 4 TB of space. Having that much storage is by no means a bad thing, but for the average user, it can be considered somewhat of an overkill. However, if you are a gamer or a graphic designer with a need for a lot of storage, this is probably the best option design- and budget-wise.
Another great product is the SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD 1TB. We thought it would be useful to include an SSD in this review for the people who don’t mind paying almost double the price for a much, much faster transfer speed and more general safety. There isn’t anything specifically different about this Samsung product, it also looks just like what you’d expect a high-quality SSD made by Samsung to look like: sleek and elegant. Due to SSD technology, the transfer speed will be a multiple of the speed you might get with the previously mentioned products (or any HDD, for that matter), the safety of your data is also increased compared to HDD-s due to the lack of moving parts within the device itself.
Should you buy an external HDD or SSD?
One of the first questions one might ask of themselves when preparing to buy an external drive is whether an SSD or HDD would make for a better purchase. Our aim is to quickly summarize the pros and cons of both categories of external drives to help you make the decision.
HDD-s rely on a number of miniature internal moving parts. Disks that are covered in a ferromagnetic coating, arms that “burn” the data onto these disks, and a lot more. This technology is easy to produce, making these products cheap compared to SSD-s, but it does make them slower as well. The recording of data onto an HDD is a mechanical process, which in turn has many more limitations in speed than its competitor due to the aforementioned tiny parts having to actually move and record the data bit by bit. However fast these arms move and however sophisticated the technology is becoming, it will never reach the speed of even a mediocre or low-level SSD. We recommend HDD-s for the average consumer, though, since it provides you with a lot more bang for the buck. For 60-70 USD, you can get a pretty decent quality 2 TB HDD, while that storage space will cost you around 200-300 USD if you are looking for an SSD.
SSD-s are superior in almost everything else other than the price. They are faster, safer, lighter, sleeker, etc. etc. The data transfer speed of an SSD can be many times that of an HDD, which means that while an average movie might take you anywhere from 15-30 seconds to copy onto an HDD, it takes only a couple of seconds with an SSD. You can see, however, that the difference isn’t all that extreme for the everyday user. For many, it isn’t worth paying double or triple the price for something that will get the job done in 3 seconds instead of 15, for 15 seconds isn’t that long either. The niches where SSD-s are irreplaceable are the ones where frequent transfers of really large amounts of data are necessary. If you edit videos for a living, maybe even movies, or if you are a hardcore, maybe even professional gamer, an HDD just won’t cut it. You will eventually grow frustrated with waiting for hours with every game you install or every 300 GB raw footage file you have to transfer. Thus, if you do handle large amounts of data frequently, investing in an SSD isn’t even really a choice, it is a necessity.