7 best external hard drives
We spent over seven hours testing external hard drives for portability, durability, storage capacity and overall security - here's what we found
If you have a computer with tons of storage, you're probably thinking: "Why would I need an external hard drive?" We're here to tell you - there are plenty of reasons. For starters, you can increase the overall storage capacity of your computer.
Another benefit is that you will always have a backup copy of important files and data - just in case your primary hard drive fails. If you're not saving everything to ‘the cloud,’ let's face it, you're bound to run out of space on your hard drive at some point.
Today's hard drives are quite compact and enable users to improve performance as well as put less stress on their computers. We spent seven hours testing external hard drives at several price points, we found some great products that will provide you with agility and the ability to maximize your storage so your computer stays running at full capacity.
External hard drives are especially great if you have large programs such as Photoshop, lots of music files, or if you need increased amounts of processing speed. This is possible because Windows uses virtual memory to store data for programs you have open, even if they are not in use.
Topping our list is Silicon Power’s 2TB External Portable Hard Drive, Rugged Armor A60 Shockproof. Silicon Power's is hard drive is shockproof, water-resistant and made of military-grade material.
There's a clear reason this one made our list, as it yields itself to those who need a portable drive that can withstand a tough environment.
This portable drive is a worthwhile investment for adventurous or remote workers who also value security.
Coming in at second on our list is Toshiba’s Canvio Advance Portable External Hard Drive. This powerful piece of machinery is compact and comes in an assortment of vibrant colors. One of its most valuable features is its auto backup setting.
The hard drive is also password protected, adding a level of additional security. Accompanied by a two-year limited warranty, the device makes for easy setup as well. Featuring plug-and-play, easy software install, you can get set up in just a few short minutes.
Equipped with extra security, My Passport Portable Hard Drive has a lot to offer.
The hard drive has built-in encryption and lets users set up 'auto backpack' to ensure data safety. In addition, My Passport’s Portable Hard Drive comes with a three-year warranty - just in case anything goes wrong.
Available in 1TB-4TB increments, there is also an assortment of colors to choose from such as red, black, orange, yellow and white.
Ok, here’s another one for those who value encryption and NFC security. The device allows users to unlock their drive without a password via a password card and NFC technology.
Buffalo's MiniStation Portable Hard Drive is available in 1TB and 2TB intervals. There is also an integrated wrap-around USB cord so you never forget the cable that connects the drive to your computer.
To top it all off, the device is water and dust resistant, which makes it great if you’re often on the move. Although it is a bit more pricey, it is worth the money, as the drive is durable and powerful.
We found, this device is not only the most portable on the list, but it, too, enables high-speed data transfers. It is water, dust, and shock resistant. It doesn’t matter if you use a PC or Mac - the portable drive works for both. It is even small enough to fit in your pocket.
Another bonus of this drive is its three-year limited manufacturer warranty, which makes it an even greater value.
Here’s another one for those just looking for a small amount of extra storage. If you’re a college student, this pick is perfect for you. Saving term papers and research will be a breeze with this SSD, which has a single USB port and AES 256-bit encryption for data protection.
ADATA’s SSD supports Windows, Mac OS, and Android devices
Sengate’s Backup Plus Slim 1TB Hard Drive is our top pick for Mac users.
With this portable drive, you can create customized backup plans. There is no power supply necessary, as it is USB powered. Quick file transfer is another aspect of the external drive the stood out to our testers.
Finally, the drive gives access to a two-month membership to Adobe Create Cloud Photo - a truly great value for Mac users.
The verdict: best hard drives
If you’re looking for the total package, great security, lots of storage, and a great price - Silicon Power’s Portable Hard Drive is your safest bet. With military-grade protection - the external drive is virtually indestructible.
Not to mention -- it’s also waterproof.
At just $69.99, it is certainly not the cheapest on the market, but very reasonably priced for a 2TB hard drive with a slick design.
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