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Data Storage

Best External Hard Drive

External hard drives are a convenient solution for instantly adding more storage space without taking your computer apart. They can also be useful when larger files must be transferred between computers, or if you need your data on the go.

WD My Passport 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive Storage (WDBY8L0020BRD-NESN)

Western Digital is one of the leading brands in hard drives, and their portable external drive the WD My Passport Essential is an excellent, high-capacity, fairly priced external drive. WD, Seagate, and HGST make up three of the most popular brands among hard drives, and WD's own series of portable drives focus on ease of access and the capability of being used no matter where you may travel. The 2TB drive has an excellent capacity and a fairly decent transfer rate given its lack of external power, especially since its USB 3.0 compatible. This drive more importantly offers some of the best rates out there given its price and huge 2 TB capacity. All in all this makes the drive an excellent option for those who just need a long of storage with 100 percent portability in mind.

ioSafe Rugged Portable 1 TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive (PA51000U1YR)

When you're on the go, the second most important feature of a portable hard drive (next to its portability) is its ability to handle what the world throws at you. In this case, a rugged design can only help the chances of your portable external drive surviving your out-and-about lifestyle, and ioSafe's Rugged 1TB Portable External Drive is here for that very need. While the term rugged is a tad subjective, ioSafe really means what they claim, as their rugged 1TB portable external drive can handle 10 feet drops or submersion in 10 foot floods - meaning you can pretty much take this external drive wherever you may go without fear of damaging it or losing your precious files. Even if you're still paranoid, ioSafe's 3-year warranty even includes 1-year of free data recovery - no questions asked - truly making it a great portable, but also extremely rugged drive. It's a small fortune, but rest assured it's a drive that could perhaps be worth its weight in gold to you.

BUFFALO MiniStation Extreme 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive - HD-PZ1U3B

The BUFFALO MiniStation Extreme, per its namesake, is a rugged portable external drive that helps you with the unexpected accident your drive may face, even if it is an extreme accident. The device has included with it a MIL-SPEC rating against shock, ensuring the drive can survive drops from up to six feet high, slams against a wall, and whatever else you may accidentally encounter. Along with this extreme protection is a high-capacity 1TB drive with included Turbo software for faster transfer rates, the option for full 256-bit encryption of your precious files, and to top it all off BUFFALO includes a 1-year warranty of the external drive. These rugged features and encryption options make the BUFFALO MiniStation Extreme a good choice for many in need of semi-rugged hardware that won't break the bank either

Samsung P3 Portable 1TB 2.5-Inch External Hard Drive (HX-MTD10EF/G2)

SAMSUNG is name many know for its many different electronics, though it may not be known as much for its hard drives as it deserves. While it's no WD or Seagate, SAMSUNG offers excellent performance for its drives at a great price and even includes added security features. The P3 series in particular has included with it SafetyKey, which is added software that allows you to password protect backups and restores of your files, ensuring even if in the wrong hands nobody can access your files. The P3 also includes an added 3-year warranty from SAMSUNG, ensuring added long-term reliability in the event of an unexpected fault or failure. It's also worth mentioning this drive comes in at a great price too, making it all-in-all an excellent choice for those with security features in mind.

Seagate Expansion 500 GB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive STBX500100

Often when HGST or Western Digital are mentioned, Seagate isn't far beyond as a key member of this trio of hard drive manufacturers. Seagate's Expansion series of external portable hard drives don't really offer much beyond dirt cheap external, on-the-go storage, and "no-frills" is certainly the way to go with this drive. Featuring just 500GB of storage but with USB 3.0 connectivity, you'll be sure to get great transfer speeds with this drive. Along with this 500GB drive is only a 1-year warranty, but again this is all being backed by a wicked low price for a brand-name drive from Seagate. All in all if you just need something that works for a few files, don't go overboard and just get what works.

ioSafe SOLO G3 Fireproof/Waterproof 3TB USB 3.0 External Drive

It's fireproof, it's waterproof, and somehow it's an external hard drive. The ioSafe SOLO G3, per it's namesake, is a 3TB external hard drive that while storing your precious files can handle perhaps the worst the world has to offer, including 1550 degree heat from a fire, full immersion into 10 feet of water for three days, and even the option of installing a cable lock or mount for added burglar protection. The ioSAFE SOLO G3 ensures your digital belongings will remain safe and sound - and even includes online backup protection too. The ioSAFE SOLO G3 is a fortune compared to other drives of equal-capacity, but we can't deny it's abilities as not merely an external drive, but also a external peace-of-mind.

BUFFALO DriveStation DDR 3 TB Ultra Fast USB 3.0 Hard Drive with DDR3 RAM Cache - HD-GD3.0U3

BUFFALO's DriveStation may just seem like any other 3TB external drive on the market - and it even has a price similar to such drives - but there's no other way to describe this drive without pointing out it has a MegaCache. Okay, BUFFALO made up the word MegaCache, but it's actually a 1GB DRAM cache built into the drive, which offers an insane amount of cache space for the 3TB drive to quickly download files at speeds up to 408MB/s. The drive will certainly feel like an SSD because of its huge cache, and while it will have the capacity for all those many files you have, it will also ensure you don't sit there and complain about the speed it takes to get them. This makes it an excellent drive not only for its capacity, but also the added features it offers too.

Seagate Backup Plus 4 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive STCA4000100

Seagate's "no-frills' Backup Plus line of external drives are meant for those who care about brand-name drives and high capacities as opposed to fancy features, and that's exactly what you'll get with this drive. The well-priced 4TB external drive offers up currently the highest possible single-drive capacity and matches it with the Seagate name in hardware. The price is really the highlight here for this drive, as it offers one of the lowest dollar-per-gigabyte rates out there among hard drives. While the warranty is a bit shorter than most would hope for, this drive is still a great option for many seeking high-capacity storage at a good price.

WD My Book Essential External 3TB 3.5" Hard Drive

Two hard drive manufacturers always neck-at-neck are of course Seagate and Western Digital. When it comes to getting high-capacity external drives, Western Digital's My Book looks to fill the need much like Seagate does: with a "no-frills" focus on capacity and pricing as opposed to bells and whistles. Though the My Book 3TB external drive in this case does have an option of hardware encryption, what's more important about this drive is it's dirt-cheap price, USB 3.0 connectivity, and of course the Western Digital name in drive quality. It may not have a special cache or special rugged features, but the My Book gets the job done.

HGST Touro Desk Pro 4TB External Drive 0S03503

HGST is a sort of hybrid of Hitachi and Western Digital since WD bought the company just a few years ago. While HGST was first to figure out how to stuff 4TB worth of data onto a single drive, these days everyone offers 4TB drives, and HGST has sort of fallen behind in the hard drive game since. Still, the company is an excellent manufacturer of high-quality drives and their Touro Desk Pro series of external drives is an excellent option for those in need of high-capacity external storage for this very reason. With a great capacity, great price, and fast 7200RPM drive, this external drive is not only of the cheapest 4TB external drives out there, but can also handle faster speeds too. Finally the drive includes a 2-year warranty which is alright, and with fair reviews this drive is a good high-capacity option for those who need cheap storage.

ioSafe SOLO G3 Fireproof/Waterproof 3TB USB 3.0 External Drive

It's fireproof, it's waterproof, and somehow it's an external hard drive. The ioSafe SOLO G3, per it's namesake, is a 3TB external hard drive that while storing your precious files can handle perhaps the worst the world has to offer, including 1550 degree heat from a fire, full immersion into 10 feet of water for three days, and even the option of installing a cable lock or mount for added burglar protection. The ioSAFE SOLO G3 ensures your digital belongings will remain safe and sound - and even includes online backup protection too. The ioSAFE SOLO G3 is a fortune compared to other drives of equal-capacity, but we can't deny it's abilities as not merely an external drive, but also a external peace-of-mind.

Seagate Backup Plus 4 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive STCA4000100

Seagate's "no-frills' Backup Plus line of external drives are meant for those who care about brand-name drives and high capacities as opposed to fancy features, and that's exactly what you'll get with this drive. The well-priced 4TB external drive offers up currently the highest possible single-drive capacity and matches it with the Seagate name in hardware. The price is really the highlight here for this drive, as it offers one of the lowest dollar-per-gigabyte rates out there among hard drives. While the warranty is a bit shorter than most would hope for, this drive is still a great option for many seeking high-capacity storage at a good price.

WD My Passport 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive Storage (WDBY8L0020BRD-NESN)

Western Digital is one of the leading brands in hard drives, and their portable external drive the WD My Passport Essential is an excellent, high-capacity, fairly priced external drive. WD, Seagate, and HGST make up three of the most popular brands among hard drives, and WD's own series of portable drives focus on ease of access and the capability of being used no matter where you may travel. The 2TB drive has an excellent capacity and a fairly decent transfer rate given its lack of external power, especially since its USB 3.0 compatible. This drive more importantly offers some of the best rates out there given its price and huge 2 TB capacity. All in all this makes the drive an excellent option for those who just need a long of storage with 100 percent portability in mind.

BUFFALO DriveStation Axis Velocity 3TB External Drive

BUFFALO technology is certainly not the most well known brand out there when it comes to hardware of all shapes and sizes, but this tech company has been winning PC magazine awards for more than 10 years. Their DriveStation series is a long-running set of external drives, and their latest member is the Axis Velocity 3TB External Drive. This high-capacity drive as it is has a great price, has a pretty good transfer rate for your files, and pretty much is a good external hard drive as it is. However, this drive has more, namely compatibility with your new Wii U as a external storage unit alongside PC and Mac compatibility, plus along with integrated software with encryption support, this drive is a great choice for those who want a drive with good performance, a good price, and good features.

Verbatim Store n' Save 2TB External Hard Drive

Verbatim is probably more known for its high-quality CDs and DVDs, but like many storage-focused companies it too dabbles in the realm of hard drives and external storage, and their Store 'n Save 2TB external hard drive shouldn't be called Store n' Save, but instead Store n' Never Replace. This drive is just like any other 2TB hard drive on the market and even has a rather good price to match it too, but what you probably didn't notice while glancing at this drive was its 7-year warranty. Yes, while some firms out there will offer 1, 2, or maybe 3 years for their external hard drives, verbatim will back you up about as long as you'd expect Microsoft to support its OS. Sure, in seven years 2TB will be a distant memory like 120GB was seven years ago, but this long-term warranty drive is great for family members who you want to give peace-of-mind knowing they'll never need to buy another drive - at least for a while.

Josh Sherman
An all-around tech expert from the NYC area, Josh has played with computer devices & hardware since he was in diapers. Having built his own computers from scratch, written on tech & hardware for top sites like DigitalTrends & MakeUseOf, and extensive knowledge of all things PC, Mac, and computer related, Josh is a true expert of the world of computers, hardware, peripherals, and more.
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