The Best External USB Hard Drives

Dec 08, 2010 View Comments by John

What should I look for

If you have lots of video and photos you will quickly find there just isn’t the space on your laptop hard drive. The most common and simple solution is to buy an external USB drive as you can pick up a huge 1TB drive these days for around £50. Hard drives have lots of moving parts and can become faulty pretty easily so get a good brand with a reputation for build quality. The big names in hard drives are Seagate and Western Digital, both have been making hard disks since they were carved out of stone by retired gladiators 2000 years ago, and both make some quality products. It’s also worth thinking about how portable you want it to be. The 2.5″ external drives are usually pocket size and great if you want to be on the move with it but you’ll pay a little more for these than the 3.5″ drives. Top considerations for me are build quality, speed, noise and reliability. USB 3.0 is a new technology that increases the speed of USB, but there are only a few devices out there that fully support USB 3.0 and you tend to pay a lot more, plus the chances are your computer doesn’t support it yet so there is little point in paying extra for it right now. Its worth going for a 500 GB or 1TB drive now as the prices are so low and a 1TB drive will give you space for about 230,000 photos or 500 hours of standard quality video.

  • Western Digital Elements 1TB USB 2.0

    Expert RatingConsumer RatingSimple, reliable, great price, low power consumptionNot pretty. No power switch

  • Toshiba StorE 500GB Portable 2.5″ USB 2.0

    Expert RatingConsumer RatingEasy setup, smart looking, pocket size portablilityVery short USB lead, no power switch

  • Seagate Expansions 1TB USB 2.0

    Expert RatingConsumer RatingStylish, quiet, fast, quality brandReports of some disk failures. No power switch


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