WD 4TB My Passport USB 3.0 HDD

Best external HDD Hard Drives review

external_HDD

Best external hard drives of 2019

The most important thing to worry about when choosing a new external drive is safety and reliability. You have to be able to rely on the fact your documents are safely stored and they will stay there for as long as you need them to. There are other factors such as data transfer speeds (essential for moving large files in and out), build quality and connectivity. Ultimately, you need to be able to get your data in and out as fast as possible.

One of the biggest deciding factors when it comes to data transfer rates is the ports the drive uses, and whether it is a standard HDD or a solid state drive (SSD). Most external hard drives use USB 2.0 connections, which are not fast enough for today’s large file sizes. You will want at least USB 3.0 but ideally, it would be best of your external drive has USB Type-C connection (providing that you have a system also with the same type of USB Type-C port.

Think and plan how much storage you are likely to need. You might think 500GB is large enough but if you store video files or movies those 500GB will look pretty petty very soon. You don’t want to buy an external hard drive that’s too small, and end up running out of space, but neither do you really want to pay over the odds for storage space you’ll never need or use. We would recommend at least 2TB (terabyte) as that will future proof your investment, they can be quite small in size and give you room to store high-res photos and videos for years to come. If you work with large files or professional high-resolution images then 4TB or more is what you should consider.

The best external hard drives these days are reliable and rugged, so you can safely store your data without any worry. They will (should) also be light enough to carry in your bag, with large capacities so that you can keep your data safe when travelling. There’s a huge range of external hard drives out there, it is so easy to get overwhelmed. We have put together this list of the best external hard drives to help you find the perfect one for your needs.

external_HDD

Best external hard drives of 2019

The most important thing to worry about when choosing a new external drive is safety and reliability. You have to be able to rely on the fact your documents are safely stored and they will stay there for as long as you need them to. There are other factors such as data transfer speeds (essential for moving large files in and out), build quality and connectivity. Ultimately, you need to be able to get your data in and out as fast as possible.

One of the biggest deciding factors when it comes to data transfer rates is the ports the drive uses, and whether it is a standard HDD or a solid state drive (SSD). Most external hard drives use USB 2.0 connections, which are not fast enough for today’s large file sizes. You will want at least USB 3.0 but ideally, it would be best of your external drive has USB Type-C connection (providing that you have a system also with the same type of USB Type-C port.

Think and plan how much storage you are likely to need. You might think 500GB is large enough but if you store video files or movies those 500GB will look pretty petty very soon. You don’t want to buy an external hard drive that’s too small, and end up running out of space, but neither do you really want to pay over the odds for storage space you’ll never need or use. We would recommend at least 2TB (terabyte) as that will future proof your investment, they can be quite small in size and give you room to store high-res photos and videos for years to come. If you work with large files or professional high-resolution images then 4TB or more is what you should consider.

The best external hard drives these days are reliable and rugged, so you can safely store your data without any worry. They will (should) also be light enough to carry in your bag, with large capacities so that you can keep your data safe when travelling. There’s a huge range of external hard drives out there, it is so easy to get overwhelmed. We have put together this list of the best external hard drives to help you find the perfect one for your needs.

Build Quality99%
Performance99%
Design99%
Durability95%
Our Top Pick
Seagate Backup Plus 4TB USB 3.0

The Backup Plus performed quite well considering its size and the fact that it is being compared to some of the market’s best drives. Although it had the slowest transfer speeds compared to the WD My Passport Ultra and Seagate Seven Portable drive, it has the highest capacity.


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Build Quality99%
Performance99%
Design99%
Durability95%
Our Top Pick
Seagate Backup Plus 4TB USB 3.0

The Backup Plus performed quite well considering its size and the fact that it is being compared to some of the market’s best drives. Although it had the slowest transfer speeds compared to the WD My Passport Ultra and Seagate Seven Portable drive, it has the highest capacity.


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The Seagate Backup Plus 4TB is a solid option for people who want a high capacity external hard drive that’s compact and easily portable, plus it’s one of the first 4TB 2.5″ drives available. Along with high storage capacity, the Backup Plus offers features that can’t be found elsewhere. With Seagate Dashboard, it can backup files across a range of devices, including mobile devices, and it’s able to back up the photos you upload to sites like Facebook and Flickr in a way that’s fast and hassle-free.

Performance is average and on par with other similar hard drives, so there’s nothing special there, but the addition of Lyve makes this useful for people who want to use to automatically back up photos, and having 200GB of Microsoft OneDrive storage is also a nice perk, as it provides a way to make sure important files and photos are backed up on the drive and in the cloud.

With the 2.5-inch Seagate Backup Plus 4TB Portable Drive, you have plenty of space to back up your entire digital life.

The Seagate Backup Plus 4TB is a solid option for people who want a high capacity external hard drive that’s compact and easily portable, plus it’s one of the first 4TB 2.5″ drives available. Along with high storage capacity, the Backup Plus offers features that can’t be found elsewhere. With Seagate Dashboard, it can backup files across a range of devices, including mobile devices, and it’s able to back up the photos you upload to sites like Facebook and Flickr in a way that’s fast and hassle-free.

Performance is average and on par with other similar hard drives, so there’s nothing special there, but the addition of Lyve makes this useful for people who want to use to automatically back up photos, and having 200GB of Microsoft OneDrive storage is also a nice perk, as it provides a way to make sure important files and photos are backed up on the drive and in the cloud.

With the 2.5-inch Seagate Backup Plus 4TB Portable Drive, you have plenty of space to back up your entire digital life.

Build Quality95%
Performance94%
Design98%
Durability98%
Our Top Pick
G-Technology 4TB G-DRIVE USB 3.0

It is lightweight and when coupled with the bumper, can withstand a 1.5m drop. It can either be used as a standalone device, inside the ev All-Terrain Case, with the G-DOCK ev with Thunderbolt or with the G-SPEED Shuttle XL with ev Bay Adapters for ultra-fast transfers and editing.


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Build Quality95%
Performance94%
Design98%
Durability98%
Our Top Pick
G-Technology 4TB G-DRIVE USB 3.0

It is lightweight and when coupled with the bumper, can withstand a 1.5m drop. It can either be used as a standalone device, inside the ev All-Terrain Case, with the G-DOCK ev with Thunderbolt or with the G-SPEED Shuttle XL with ev Bay Adapters for ultra-fast transfers and editing.


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The G-Technology 4TB G-DRIVE ev RaW USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Rugged Bumper is designed for those who require on-the-go access to their personal and/or professional files, photos, videos, music, and more. When the included removable bumper is attached to the drive, it is better protected against falls of up to 1.5m.

This drive is well suited for performing various tasks, such as backing up, editing, transferring, and general storage, as it is equipped with a 4TB capacity and a transfer speed of up to 425 MB/s. The G-Technology 4TB drive has two built-in interfaces – USB 3.0 and SATA. Fitting easily into your backpack, briefcase or purse, it’s lightweight and when coupled with the bumper, can withstand a 1.5m1 drop. As part of the evolution series, it can either be used as a standalone device, inside the ev All Terrain Case2, or with storage solutions such as the G-DOCK ev™ with Thunderbolt™, the G-SPEED® Shuttle XL with ev Bay Adapters or the G-SPEED Shuttle XL with ev Bay Adapters for ultra-fast transfers and editing.

While the G-Technology 4TB G-DRIVE ev RaW does come pre-formatted for Mac, it can be easily reformatted for Windows. When used on a Mac, it is compatible with Mac OS X 10.10+ and also supports Time Machine and plug-and-play setup. When re-formatted and used with Windows, it is compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, and 7. This drive is also compatible with any Evolution Series G-DRIVE ev product.

The G-Technology 4TB G-DRIVE ev RaW USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Rugged Bumper is designed for those who require on-the-go access to their personal and/or professional files, photos, videos, music, and more. When the included removable bumper is attached to the drive, it is better protected against falls of up to 1.5m.

This drive is well suited for performing various tasks, such as backing up, editing, transferring, and general storage, as it is equipped with a 4TB capacity and a transfer speed of up to 425 MB/s. The G-Technology 4TB drive has two built-in interfaces – USB 3.0 and SATA. Fitting easily into your backpack, briefcase or purse, it’s lightweight and when coupled with the bumper, can withstand a 1.5m1 drop. As part of the evolution series, it can either be used as a standalone device, inside the ev All Terrain Case2, or with storage solutions such as the G-DOCK ev™ with Thunderbolt™, the G-SPEED® Shuttle XL with ev Bay Adapters or the G-SPEED Shuttle XL with ev Bay Adapters for ultra-fast transfers and editing.

While the G-Technology 4TB G-DRIVE ev RaW does come pre-formatted for Mac, it can be easily reformatted for Windows. When used on a Mac, it is compatible with Mac OS X 10.10+ and also supports Time Machine and plug-and-play setup. When re-formatted and used with Windows, it is compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, and 7. This drive is also compatible with any Evolution Series G-DRIVE ev product.

Build Quality99%
Performance99%
Design95%
Durability95%
Our Top Pick
Samsung T5 Portable SSD – 1TB

Running on the latest USB ports, the Samsung T5 is the fastest portable SSD that we have ever reviewed. It’s also rather expensive; shop around and you can find slower USB 3.0 (but still quick) USB SSDs for around £90 less for 500GB.


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Build Quality99%
Performance99%
Design95%
Durability95%
Our Top Pick
Samsung T5 Portable SSD – 1TB

Running on the latest USB ports, the Samsung T5 is the fastest portable SSD that we have ever reviewed. It’s also rather expensive; shop around and you can find slower USB 3.0 (but still quick) USB SSDs for around £90 less for 500GB.


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Inside is one of Samsung’s own 1.8in SSDs, using the company’s 64-bit TLC NAND. The Samsung T5 External SSD gives three bits per cell, which makes the drive slightly cheaper to manufacture than if MLC (two bits per cell) or SLC (one bit per cell) were used.

As with Samsung’s internal SSDs, the big news here is that capacities stretch up to a massive 2TB. In terms of cost, the 250GB version is the worst value, coming in at 50p per GB. Moving up the range, the 500GB, 1TB and 2TB drives have a similar cost per GB of around 38p. That puts this drive firmly into a premium territory and means that the 2TB drive costs a whopping £777. Most people will find the 500GB one hits the sweet spot for price and capacity.

As flash memory has a finite write limit, manufacturers usually quote the number of writes for each cell before the drive fails. Samsung hasn’t done this but based on its previous products we’re confident that the drive will last longer than you’ll want to use it. Admittedly, mechanical portable hard disks are a fair bit cheaper, so you need to decide on what you need: if it’s pure capacity and performance isn’t so important, then go mechanical; if you want better performance and a smaller drive, go with an SSD. This drive has built-in 256bit AES hardware encryption, activated using the on-disk software. With encryption turned on, you can’t access any files until you’ve entered the correct password, making the Samsung T5 External SSD a secure SSD for transporting important files.

Inside is one of Samsung’s own 1.8in SSDs, using the company’s 64-bit TLC NAND. The Samsung T5 External SSD gives three bits per cell, which makes the drive slightly cheaper to manufacture than if MLC (two bits per cell) or SLC (one bit per cell) were used.

As with Samsung’s internal SSDs, the big news here is that capacities stretch up to a massive 2TB. In terms of cost, the 250GB version is the worst value, coming in at 50p per GB. Moving up the range, the 500GB, 1TB and 2TB drives have a similar cost per GB of around 38p. That puts this drive firmly into a premium territory and means that the 2TB drive costs a whopping £777. Most people will find the 500GB one hits the sweet spot for price and capacity.

As flash memory has a finite write limit, manufacturers usually quote the number of writes for each cell before the drive fails. Samsung hasn’t done this but based on its previous products we’re confident that the drive will last longer than you’ll want to use it. Admittedly, mechanical portable hard disks are a fair bit cheaper, so you need to decide on what you need: if it’s pure capacity and performance isn’t so important, then go mechanical; if you want better performance and a smaller drive, go with an SSD. This drive has built-in 256bit AES hardware encryption, activated using the on-disk software. With encryption turned on, you can’t access any files until you’ve entered the correct password, making the Samsung T5 External SSD a secure SSD for transporting important files.

Build Quality99%
Performance99%
Design95%
Durability95%
Our Top Pick
WD 4TB My Passport USB 3.0 HDD

The Western Digital My Passport portable hard drive provides up to 4TB of storage in a well-designed body. WD offers a suite of software tools to manage the drive as well, and a modern USB 3.0 connection that lets the drive operate at its full potential, which in this case is about 110 MB/s read and write.


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Build Quality99%
Performance99%
Design95%
Durability95%
Our Top Pick
WD 4TB My Passport USB 3.0 HDD

The Western Digital My Passport portable hard drive provides up to 4TB of storage in a well-designed body. WD offers a suite of software tools to manage the drive as well, and a modern USB 3.0 connection that lets the drive operate at its full potential, which in this case is about 110 MB/s read and write.


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Because the 4TB drive housed inside is 15mm thick, the WD 4TB My Passport isn’t as thin as many lower-capacity units, measuring 0.85 inches from top to bottom. It’s approximately 4.25 inches long, 3.1 inches wide, and weighs around 8 ounces. My Passport is also available in $60 1TB, $80 2TB, and $100 3TB capacities, with the 1TB version being about 0.2 inches thinner and 2 ounces lighter. All models come with a three-year warranty.

My Passport HDD also ships in a variety of hues, starting with the black of our test drive and moving on to brighter white, red, orange, blue, and yellow. That’s six in all: one for every weekday, plus another for the weekend. Lest you consider that remark flippant, note that some backups are rotated by days of the week, and a little colour-coding never hurt anyone. WD informed us that the colours are simply to entice buyers, however.

WD has added even more consumer bait by beveling a stylish wavy texture into the half of the drive that’s home to the powered micro-B USB port and power indicator. The waves also provide a better grip on the smooth, glossy plastic. After the colour-coding response, we didn’t ask whether tactile grip was the reason, but it does have that effect.

Because the 4TB drive housed inside is 15mm thick, the WD 4TB My Passport isn’t as thin as many lower-capacity units, measuring 0.85 inches from top to bottom. It’s approximately 4.25 inches long, 3.1 inches wide, and weighs around 8 ounces. My Passport is also available in $60 1TB, $80 2TB, and $100 3TB capacities, with the 1TB version being about 0.2 inches thinner and 2 ounces lighter. All models come with a three-year warranty.

My Passport HDD also ships in a variety of hues, starting with the black of our test drive and moving on to brighter white, red, orange, blue, and yellow. That’s six in all: one for every weekday, plus another for the weekend. Lest you consider that remark flippant, note that some backups are rotated by days of the week, and a little colour-coding never hurt anyone. WD informed us that the colours are simply to entice buyers, however.

WD has added even more consumer bait by beveling a stylish wavy texture into the half of the drive that’s home to the powered micro-B USB port and power indicator. The waves also provide a better grip on the smooth, glossy plastic. After the colour-coding response, we didn’t ask whether tactile grip was the reason, but it does have that effect.

Build Quality99%
Performance96%
Design95%
Durability96%
Our Top Pick
Seagate Expansion 8TB External HDD USB 3.0

A fantastic external solution for large backups and media collections alike. It can indeed be used for video game consoles as well if you have an incredibly large collection of games to install, although for consoles there are drives that can save you an additional few seconds in load times (if that matters).


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Build Quality99%
Performance96%
Design95%
Durability96%
Our Top Pick
Seagate Expansion 8TB External HDD USB 3.0

A fantastic external solution for large backups and media collections alike. It can indeed be used for video game consoles as well if you have an incredibly large collection of games to install, although for consoles there are drives that can save you an additional few seconds in load times (if that matters).


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The Seagate Expansion 8TB External HDD does indeed make for a great backup solution or a perfect home for a media dump. Not as much for an external solution for gaming consoles like the Xbox One, as there are other drives that perform with a better read/write than this, which makes a difference for load times (we prefer the WD Black Passport Ultra for an HDD solution for gaming), but it did perform close to some traditional favourites. If capacity is more than important than saving 1-3 seconds in game load time than this drive is a great perfect.

The initial boot up of the drive gives a storage read of 7.27TB. We expected to see around 7.45GB based on math, but the drop isn’t significant (and is common). It came with a mere 46MB worth of files on the drive from Seagate, including registration information (a .exe that takes you to their site and some serial number info in a hidden directory), and some warranty information. There is no actual software included with this drive (ie, backup software). The latter was a bit odd, as usually, we find most drives have some kind of software included or a link where they can get it from their website. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for free or purchase out there if you search around.

The Seagate Expansion 8TB External HDD does indeed make for a great backup solution or a perfect home for a media dump. Not as much for an external solution for gaming consoles like the Xbox One, as there are other drives that perform with a better read/write than this, which makes a difference for load times (we prefer the WD Black Passport Ultra for an HDD solution for gaming), but it did perform close to some traditional favourites. If capacity is more than important than saving 1-3 seconds in game load time than this drive is a great perfect.

The initial boot up of the drive gives a storage read of 7.27TB. We expected to see around 7.45GB based on math, but the drop isn’t significant (and is common). It came with a mere 46MB worth of files on the drive from Seagate, including registration information (a .exe that takes you to their site and some serial number info in a hidden directory), and some warranty information. There is no actual software included with this drive (ie, backup software). The latter was a bit odd, as usually, we find most drives have some kind of software included or a link where they can get it from their website. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for free or purchase out there if you search around.