External Hard Disk Review

External hard disks are very practical if you want to have important data accessible on the go. You can also prevent the risk of losing your personal data, such as holiday pictures, in the event of a computer crash by backing up your data onto the hard drive. We've tested 8 hard drives with 1TB and 5 hard drives with 4TB of storage. We paid special attention to the read and write speed. Our test winner with one TB is the LaCie 1 TB Rugged Mini: The device is extremely robust and has a very good read and write speed. Our test winner among the four TB hard disks is the Seagate Expansion Portable 4 TB: It is very powerful, compact and also impresses with its small weight.

Tested products

LaCie 1 TB Rugged Mini - thumbnail Test seal: LaCie 1 TB Rugged Mini, Rating good

LaCie

1 TB Rugged Mini

The 1 TB Rugged Mini with its very fast speed values, a robust case and compact dimensions meets all requirements a very good external hard disk should meet. Only the design is a matter of taste.

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Transcend Slim StoreJet 25M3G 1TB - thumbnail Test seal: Transcend Slim StoreJet 25M3G 1TB, Rating good

Transcend

Slim StoreJet 25M3G 1TB

A quiet working noise, very good transfer speeds and the back-up-per-button function make the Slim StoreJet 25M3G 1TB a recommendable hard disk in all working areas.

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Western Digital My Passport 1 TB - thumbnail Test seal: Western Digital My Passport 1 TB, Rating good

Western Digital

My Passport 1 TB

Very good speeds, the additional security feature and a stylish appearance allow the My Passport Hard Drive to be used in almost any area.

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Western Digital 1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive - thumbnail Test seal: Western Digital 1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive, Rating good

Western Digital

1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive

The Elements Portable 1 TB offers good speeds combined with a compact design. The high read speed makes it ideal for data archiving. Whether the comparatively high volume is perceived as annoying depends on the user and the respective working environment.

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Seagate 1 TB Expansion - thumbnail Test seal: Seagate 1 TB Expansion, Rating satisfactory

Seagate

1 TB Expansion

Thanks to its extremely high read speed, the 1 TB Expansion is particularly suitable for storing and playing film material or games. It is not recommended as an archiving hard disk.

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Toshiba Canvio Ready 1TB Portable External Hard Drive - thumbnail Test seal: Toshiba Canvio Ready 1TB Portable External Hard Drive, Rating satisfactory

Toshiba

Canvio Ready 1TB Portable External Hard Drive

The Toshiba Canvio Ready Hard Disk is not exactly the fastest hard drive in comparison to the competition, but it is sufficient for the average user and pleasantly quiet.

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Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB - thumbnail Test seal: Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB, Rating satisfactory

Toshiba

Canvio Basics 1TB

The Toshiba Canvio Basics Hard Disk is a decend hard disk for users with rather low demands, which is especially suitable for archiving.

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Intenso 1TB Memory Case - thumbnail Test seal: Intenso 1TB Memory Case, Rating satisfactory

Intenso

1TB Memory Case

The rather below average speed values make the Intenso Memory Case Hard Disk interesting as an archiving hard disk for users without further requirements. For all other work, the low read speed is a major obstacle.

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Winner Best price winner
Our winner: LaCie 1 TB Rugged Mini Transcend Slim StoreJet 25M3G 1TB Western Digital My Passport 1 TB Western Digital 1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive Seagate 1 TB Expansion Toshiba Canvio Ready 1TB Portable External Hard Drive Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Intenso 1TB Memory Case

LaCie
1 TB Rugged Mini

Transcend
Slim StoreJet 25M3G 1TB

Western Digital
My Passport 1 TB

Western Digital
1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive

Seagate
1 TB Expansion

Toshiba
Canvio Ready 1TB Portable External Hard Drive

Toshiba
Canvio Basics 1TB

Intenso
1TB Memory Case

  • Very Robust
  • Excellent Speed
  • Speed
  • Password protected
  • Weight
  • Speed
  • High read speed
  • Compactness
  • Inexpensive
  • Light
  • Compact
  • High read speed
  • Inexpensive
  • Compact
  • Compact
  • Weight
  • Inexpensive
  • Price
  • Weight
  • Weight
  • Price
  • Price
  • Volume
  • Slow write speed
  • Average speed
  • Average Speed
  • Average speed
  • Weight

Very high speed and robustness. But a little heavy and not very compact.

A neat hard disk with an automatic backup function.

Very powerful. Sufficient for most requirements.

Ideal hard disk for archiving, e.g. movies.

Enormously high read speed. Ideal for storing and playing movies and the like.

A sufficient hard disk for the average consumer.

Medium speed, light and compact. Sufficient for the average consumer.

An average hard disk, but sufficient for the ordinary consumer.

Cent / GB 7,3 6,0 5,6 5,1 4,6 4,4 4,6 4,5
Reading speed 134 MB/s 129 MB/s 128 MB/s 127 MB/s 131 MB/s 120 MB/s 115 MB/s 116 MB/s
Writing speed 129 MB/s 125 MB/s 122 MB/s 120 MB/s 106 MB/s 119 MB/s 114 MB/s 115 MB/s
Read speed
Write speed
Compactness
Design
Compatibility
Additional warranty 2 years 3 years 2 years 2 years 2 years 2 years 2 years 2 years
Scope of delivery Hard Drive, USB cable, USB-C cable, manual Hard Drive, USB cable, manual Hard Drive, USB cable, manual Hard drive, USB cable, Manual Hard Drive, USB cable, manual Hard drive, USB cable, Manual Hard Drive, USB cable, manual Hard Drive, USB cable, manual
Quality impression Good Satisfactory Good Good Good Good Satisfactory Satisfactory
Packaging Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard
Height 2 cm 1,3 cm 1,2 cm 1,3 cm 1,5 cm 1,4 cm 1,3 cm 1,7 cm
Width 8,5 cm 8,2 cm 8 cm 8,2 cm 8 cm 7,9 cm 7,8 cm 7,7 cm
Depth 13 cm 13 cm 11 cm 8,2 cm 11,7 cm 11,8 cm 11,9 cm 12,7 cm
Weight 220 g 187 g 144 g 133 g 129 g 151 g 151 g 165 g
Manual language DE, EN EN, DE, FR, IT, ES, PT, RU, PL, TR, UA, TH, KR, JP, TC, SC EN, DE, ES, FR, DA, IT, NL, NO, PL, PT, BR, RU, FI, SV, CS, EL, HU, TR, ID DE, EN, FR, IT, ES, PO, NL, DK, NO, SV, FI, SL, RU, CZ EN, DE, ES, FR, DA, IT, NL, NO, PL, PT, BR, RU, FI, SV, CS, EL, HU, TR, ID EN, CZ, DE, DK, ES, FI, FR, GR, HR, HU, IT, NL, NO, PL, PT, RS, RU, SE, SK, SI, TR, AR DE, EN, FR, IT, ES, PO, NL, DK, NO, SV, FI, SL, RU, CZ DE, GB, IT, FR, ES, PT, PL, RU
Quality of instructions Sufficient Sufficient Satisfactory Satisfactory Sufficient Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory
Internal Storage Size 1 TB 1 TB 1 TB 1 TB 1 TB 1 TB 1 TB 1 TB
Ports USB 3.0, USB-C USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0
Password protected No No Yes No No No No No
Test seal: LaCie 1 TB Rugged Mini, Rating 1.6
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Test seal: Transcend Slim StoreJet 25M3G 1TB, Rating 2
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Test seal: Western Digital My Passport 1 TB, Rating 2.1
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Test seal: Western Digital 1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive, Rating 2.1
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Test seal: Seagate 1 TB Expansion, Rating 2.6
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Test seal: Toshiba Canvio Ready 1TB Portable External Hard Drive, Rating 2.6
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Test seal: Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB, Rating 2.7
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Test seal: Intenso 1TB Memory Case, Rating 2.9
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*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

Tested products

Seagate 4 TB Expansion - thumbnail Test seal: Seagate 4 TB Expansion, Rating excellent

Seagate

4 TB Expansion

The Seagate Expansion Portable 4 TB is impressive in all aspects. On the one hand it is very compact, on the other hand it is very powerful and very quiet.

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Western Digital My Passport Ultra 4 TB - thumbnail Test seal: Western Digital My Passport Ultra 4 TB, Rating good

Western Digital

My Passport Ultra 4 TB

The WD My Passport Ultra 4 TB hard disk impresses in all aspects. Very high transfer speeds paired with a unique design and an additional security function.

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LaCie 4 TB Rugged Mini - thumbnail Test seal: LaCie 4 TB Rugged Mini, Rating good

LaCie

4 TB Rugged Mini

The LaCie Rugged Mini is clearly an above-average product. It has an orange protective armour that protects it from external influences. In addition, it has high transmission speeds.

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Transcend StoreJet H3P 4TB Rugged - thumbnail Test seal: Transcend StoreJet H3P 4TB Rugged, Rating good

Transcend

StoreJet H3P 4TB Rugged

The Transcend StoreJet Anti Shock Hard Disk Drive convinces especially with its robustness. The rubber housing ensures the necessary safety of the hard disk even in the event of a possible fall. In addition, the data backup at the touch of a button is a plus point. In terms of speed, the hard disk is average.

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Intenso 4 TB Memory Case - thumbnail Test seal: Intenso 4 TB Memory Case, Rating satisfactory

Intenso

4 TB Memory Case

The Intenso Memory Case 4 TB hard disk can not impress with its speeds, but it is quiet and visually appealing. The hard disk is suitable for a pure data backup, but not for higher demands.

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Winner
Best price winner
Our winner: Seagate 4 TB Expansion Western Digital My Passport Ultra 4 TB LaCie 4 TB Rugged Mini Transcend StoreJet H3P 4TB Rugged Intenso 4 TB Memory Case

Seagate
4 TB Expansion

Western Digital
My Passport Ultra 4 TB

LaCie
4 TB Rugged Mini

Transcend
StoreJet H3P 4TB Rugged

Intenso
4 TB Memory Case

  • Very powerful
  • Low noise level
  • Low weight
  • Quiet
  • Slim design
  • Safety function
  • Speed
  • Very powerful
  • Robust
  • USB and USB-C cables
  • Robust
  • Elegant Design
  • Good workmanship
  • Design
  • Noise

-

  • The design is a matter of taste
  • Large
  • Heavy
  • Average speed
  • Speed

A very fast hard disk that is also very compact and works very quietly.

A very quiet, powerful hard drive with exceptional design.

This hard disk is very powerful, but relatively large and heavy.

An averagely powerful hard drive that stands out with its robustness and design.

In terms of speed it is a below-average hard drive with a simple design.

Cent / GB 2,0 2,8 4,0 3,4 2,5
Reading speed 143 MB/s 139 MB/s 141 MB/s 123 MB/s 111 MB/s
Writing speed 129 MB/s 126 MB/s 120 MB/s 117 MB/s 107 MB/s
Read speed
Write speed
Compactness
Design
Compatibility
Scope of delivery Hard drive, USB cable Hard drive, USB cable Hard drive, USB cable, Thunderbolt cable Hard Drive, USB cable Hard drive, USB cable
Quality impression Good Good Good Good Good
Packaging Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard
Height 11,6 cm 10,9 cm 13,8 cm 12,5 cm 12,5 cm
Width 7,9 cm 8,1 cm 8,8 cm 8 cm 7,7 cm
Depth 2 cm 2 cm 2,9 cm 2,5 cm 2 cm
Weight 245 g 262 g 347 g 319 g 257 g
Manual language EN, DA, DE, ES, FR, IT, NL, NO, PL, PT, BR, RU, FI, FI, SV, CS, EL, HU, TR, ID, ZH, KO, JA EN, DE, FR, ES, PT, IT, TR, TH, KR, RU, UA, AR, TC, JP, PL, SC EN, IT, ES, PT, ID, ZH, FR, DE, NL, RU, JP EN, DE, FR, ES, PT, IT, TR, TH, KR, RU, UA, AR, TC, JP, PL, SC DE, GB, IT, FR, ES, PT, PL, RU
Quality of instructions Good Good Satifactory Good Good
Internal Storage Size 4 TB 4 TB 4 TB 4 TB 4 TB
Ports USB USB USB, USB-C USB USB
Test seal: Seagate 4 TB Expansion, Rating 1.4
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Test seal: Western Digital My Passport Ultra 4 TB, Rating 1.55
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Test seal: LaCie 4 TB Rugged Mini, Rating 1.85
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Test seal: Transcend StoreJet H3P 4TB Rugged, Rating 2.15
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Test seal: Intenso 4 TB Memory Case, Rating 2.75
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*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

Tested products

ADATA SD700 1TB	 - thumbnail Test seal: ADATA SD700 1TB	, Rating good

ADATA

SD700 1TB

The SD700 1TB is a very fast hard disk, which is also characterized by its high resistance. Its compact, rubber-protected case is robust and of very high quality.

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SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD 1TB	 - thumbnail Test seal: SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD 1TB	, Rating good

SanDisk

Extreme Portable SSD 1TB

The Extreme Portable SSD 1TB is the fastest drive of my test. In addition, it is characterized by extraordinary compactness and durability. So all in all it's a great data storage device for your home and on the go.

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Western Digital My Passport Portable SSD 1 TB	 - thumbnail Test seal: Western Digital My Passport Portable SSD 1 TB	, Rating good

Western Digital

My Passport Portable SSD 1 TB

Altogether the My Passport SSD 1 TB is a very fast drive. It is also stable and compact. Its design is a matter of taste.

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Samsung Portable SSD T5 1 TB	 - thumbnail Test seal: Samsung Portable SSD T5 1 TB	, Rating good

Samsung

Portable SSD T5 1 TB

The Portable SSD T5 1 TB is a very simple hard disk with a high read and write speed. Even though its write speed is somewhat slower than that of the test winner, it is still a few times faster than a conventional HDD.

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Seagate Fast SSD 1000 GB	 - thumbnail Test seal: Seagate Fast SSD 1000 GB	, Rating satisfactory

Seagate

Fast SSD 1000 GB

The Fast SSD 1000 GB is certainly the fanciest of the tested hard disks. But if you don't just care about the appearance, but also about a high write speed, you will be annoyed by the comparatively very slow write speed. However, as an ordinary memory from which data should be read, it convinces by its high reading speed.

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Winner Winner
Best price winner
Our winner: ADATA SD700 1TB	Our winner: SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD 1TB	Western Digital My Passport Portable SSD 1 TB	Samsung Portable SSD T5 1 TB	Seagate Fast SSD 1000 GB

ADATA
SD700 1TB

SanDisk
Extreme Portable SSD 1TB

Western Digital
My Passport Portable SSD 1 TB

Samsung
Portable SSD T5 1 TB

Seagate
Fast SSD 1000 GB

  • Waterproof
  • Dustproof
  • Fast
  • Robust
  • Compact
  • Fast
  • Compact
  • Stable
  • Compact
  • Light
  • Stylish design

-

-

-

-

  • Very slow write speed

A very robust and fast SSD.

Fast, durable SSD. Ideal for on the go.

A handy drive, which is characterized by a very high speed and an unusual design.

A simple hard drive that doesn't need to hide behind its competition, thanks to its fast performance.

Stylish SSD, which however cannot keep up with the competition, in terms of write speed, by far.

Design
Compactness
Write speed
Read speed
Scope of delivery SSD, USB-A to USB-micro-B cable, quick start guide SSD, USB-C cable (with USB-adapter), waranty and safety information SSD, USB-C cable (with USB-adapter), manual SSD, USB-C cable, USB-A to USB-C cable, manual SSD, USB-C cable, USB-A to USB-C cable, manual
Cent / GB 15 16 15 16 20
Reading speed 425 MB/s 431 MB/s 431 MB/s 419 MB/s 430 MB/s
Writing speed 427 MB/s 435 MB/s 434 MB/s 346 MB/s 92 MB/s
Additional warranty 3 years 3 years 3 years 3 years 3 Jahre
Weight 73 g 41 g 41 g 49 g 82 g
Height 8,5 cm 9,4 cm 9 cm 7,4 cm 9,2 cm
Width 8,5 cm 5 cm 4,5 cm 5,7 cm 7,8 cm
Depth 1,4 cm 1 cm 1 cm 1 cm 1 cm
Ports USB 3.1 (micro-B) USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C
Internal Storage Size 1 TB 1 TB 1 TB 1 TB 1 TB
Quality impression Very good Very good Good Satisfactory Very good
Packaging Cardboard Simple, informative Cardboard A lot of plastic Karton
Quality of instructions Sufficient - Very brief Very good Very good
Manual language 14 languages - EN 25 languages 23 languages
Password protected No No No No No
☆☆☆☆☆
★★★★★
36 reviews
☆☆☆☆☆
★★★★★
1132 reviews
☆☆☆☆☆
★★★★★
96 reviews
-
☆☆☆☆☆
★★★★★
45 reviews
Test seal: ADATA SD700 1TB	, Rating 1.75
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Test seal: SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD 1TB	, Rating 1.75
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Test seal: Western Digital My Passport Portable SSD 1 TB	, Rating 2
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Test seal: Samsung Portable SSD T5 1 TB	, Rating 2.3
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Test seal: Seagate Fast SSD 1000 GB	, Rating 2.65
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*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

Whether an SSD is cost-effective in practice always depends on how it is to be used. Usually, however, speed alone is more than a good reason to rely on SSDs. Even a slow SSD is significantly faster than most high-quality hard drives. In practice, the latter can achieve data rates of about 100 MB/s. SSDs, on the other hand, are often slowed down only by the interface and achieve data rates of 450 MB/s or more. This means that files can be transferred about four times faster. The differences become even more obvious when transferring many small files. With a hard disk, the read head has to jump back and forth all the time, which leads to long waiting times. Since there is no read head on an SSD, copy operations work much faster than on a magnetic disk.

The advantages of SSDs are also noticeable when used externally. Even hundreds of gigabytes of data are quickly backed up with an external SSD. This is a great help when frequent backups have to be made. Not only are the waiting times for copying shorter, but the computer is also relieved and can release its resources for other tasks. The purchase of an external SSD is therefore always rewarding if it is used regularly. Only if an external data carrier is to be used as a so-called "data grave", the advantages of SSDs are not to be felt too strongly. If, for example, you only want to archive films or similar files, you won't feel any speed advantages when retrieving them.

The fact that conventional hard disks still hold such a large position in the mass market today can only be attributed to their price. This is where such hard disks still play their greatest trumph, because consumers pay significantly less per gigabyte than with an SSD. This makes hard disks a good choice whenever terabytes of data need to be stored, for example on a server or NAS. In everyday use, however, the advantages of SSD hard disks clearly predominate, so that the use of such a data carrier is almost always recommended.

Prices for SSDs have also been falling steadily in recent years. Meanwhile, some high-quality models are already available for less than 0.10 Euro per gigabyte. The price difference to hard disks is likely to become smaller and smaller in the next few years. Therefore, it will only be a matter of time before SSDs finally replace classic hard disks.

The additional price for an SSD in comparison to a hard disk may be unpleasant at first. In practice, however, it is almost always worth it to spend some money for the advantages of modern data carriers. Users benefit in every conceivable way. SSDs are faster, more compact, more energy-efficient and lighter than almost any hard drive. This leads to a multitude of advantages in both stationary and mobile operation. For this reason, external SSDs are always recommended when a data storage device is in regular use. Today, hard disks are still the better option only for long-term archiving, but only because of the lower price. In all other categories, SSDs are far superior to hard disks.

Besides the already mentioned advantages, SSDs are convincing in many other areas. One of the biggest advantages is the fact that SSDs do not have any mechanical parts. This means that nothing moves inside the case. For the user this is a relief for several reasons. Firstly, an SSD generates less noise due to the lack of moving parts. The data carriers do not vibrate and cannot be heard at any time during operation. In addition, SSDs are immune to shock. If an SSD falls to the ground, this hardly ever results in data loss. This is completely different with hard disks. There, physical damage to the hardware can quickly occur after shock impacts. The result is often a so-called "head crash", which in turn can lead to irreparable damage to stored data.

Further advantages when using SSDs also arise with regard to power consumption. SSDs are almost always satisfied with less power compared to hard disks. With stationary use this may hardly be noticeable, the differences in the cent range, even in yearly comparison. Much more important, however, is the lower consumption for mobile use. Laptops are happy about the low energy consumption of SSDs and the battery lasts much longer than with classic magnetic drives. Depending on the model, a notebook with an SSD can be used up to 10 percent longer.

The weight of the data carriers also speaks in favour of SSDs. This advanced technology requires significantly fewer components than hard disks. This makes the data carriers much lighter in direct comparison, which makes transport easier and more pleasant. In addition, SSD technology makes it possible to accommodate a lot of storage space in very small dimensions. Manufacturers often use standardized designs, such as 2.5 inches. However, there are also external SSDs that are manufactured in a special, particularly small format. Classic hard disks cannot be shrunk to such formats, as the technology for writing and reading magnetic disks simply requires a certain volume.

  • Make sure you have a USB 3.0 port on your device.
  • You can recognize a USB 3.0 port by the blue port or the Superspeed logo (SS).
  • Also make sure you have the correct format for your operating system (Windows, IOS).
  • If necessary, delete the partition on the hard disk if it is not recognized.
  • With a USB-A cable you can also connect hard disks to tablets or smartphones.
  • You can also connect your hard drive to your router and access your data on the go.
 

Test procedure

In the run-up to the test, we defined practical requirements and the following test criteria:

  • Transmission speed (Read)
  • Transmission speed (Write)
  • Compatibility
  • Compactness
  • Design

In order to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for the external hard disks. First, the scope of delivery is checked. Two different software packages are used to check the transfer speed for writing to and reading from the hard disks. The results are recorded via screenshots.

A car rolling over an external hard disc
According to the manufacturer, we test every potential environmental influence

In addition, the stability of the devices is tested by dropping them from a height of approximately 60 cm. If, according to the manufacturer, the hard disks are extremely robust, this is also put to the test. By a passenger car rolling over the respective hard disks.

In order to rule out errors and to guarantee the load by the everyday use, each test takes place in several runs.

The test criteria receive percentages depending on their importance. The final score is then objectively calculated from the test criteria using an algorithm.

Product selection

Our product selection is based on observation of the current market. In addition to popular branded products, we also include insider tips in our selection. Criteria such as price and range of functions are an important factor to us. The test field is also determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest).

The devices are purchased anonymously or lent to us by the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our evaluation.

As soon as new relevant products come onto the market, our test field is extended by these. The new products go through the same test as the already tested devices.

Today external hard disks are handy small and impress with storage volumes of several terabytes. When is the purchase of an external hard disk advisable and what must the external hard disk be able to do?

What are hard drives?

The hard drive as we know it today has changed the world in the guise of the compact drive. While the use of the hard disk is rather easy to understand (storing data), the functioning is more complicated than it initially seems. After all, the data should not only be stored and stored securely for a long time, but must also be retrievable and changeable at any time.

The first hard disk in the world that could be used as a drive and not exclusively as a storage medium was built by the manufacturer IBM in 1956. It was a small sensation because, unlike storage spaces, it was portable. Up to 3.75 MB of data could be stored at a height of 172 centimetres, a depth of 152 centimetres and a width of 74 centimetres. This required 350 storage disks, which could be connected to a computer mounted on the tower.

These hard disks were so valuable that they seemed unaffordable even for companies and had to be maintained by IBM. They were therefore rented to customers for 3,200 US dollars a month. However, the first IBM hard disks 350, 353 and 355 were already reminiscent of today's storage media. A tactile arm selected the disk on which the data was to be stored and was thus able to transfer several thousand storage packets per minute in the correct order.

It was no coincidence that the developers of the first storage media for computer systems oriented themselves to the existing storage possibilities for sound recordings. The round design made it possible for the medium to rotate itself while the data was being uploaded or removed. The way it worked became popular with gramophone records, records, CDs and later CD-Roms, DVDs and Blu-Ray.

Larger drives and external hard drives still work in this way today, but are being caught up faster and faster by storage media that back up data on a memory chip. USB flash drives are a well-known example of this. However, the classic hard disk is said to have a longer life, since its contact points and storage disks are less vulnerable to physical and climatic influences.

Today, external, pocket-sized hard drives store 2 TB of data at a small price. Nobody would have dared to dream in these dimensions in the 50s at IBM. One terabyte of TB corresponds to a quantity of 1,048,576 megabytes. Thus the 2 TB hard disk corresponds to the incredible number of approximately 559,000 IBM 350 hard disks. However, with the progress of computer technology, the storage dimensions have also shifted. We don't have to think back very far to remember how software was once delivered on several CD-ROMs. Nowadays an average computer game would require a folder of up to 50 of these conventional discs to be installed, which is why most of today's games work with downloads. And also a single image file, a photo with a high resolution mobile phone camera, would occupy at least 2 whole IBM 350.

That's why every computer user has installed several hard disks somewhere in his devices. They are built into laptops and consoles or can be built into the desktop computer itself. External hard disks complement the range of storage media and are now taken for granted. Hard disks are therefore a part of our everyday life that rarely receives attention, unless a new purchase is necessary.

If you want to decide on a new external hard drive, you should first consider what features are important to you and what kind of data usage you have planned for the external hard drive. A distinction is made between HDD and SSD. The HDD construction is the original one with disc and probe arm. Today it is still relatively large and heavy, but in 2018 it could handle up to 14 terabytes of data. The SSD is smaller, faster and better protected against data loss. It works with chipsets instead of scanning mechanics. However, it is still considerably more expensive and usually has a storage capacity of up to 2 terabytes.

If you need a little less storage space, a USB flash drive could also be very suitable.
Nowadays there is also more and more storage space for USB sticks. We have tested USB flash drives with 128 GB extensively for you. You can find out which models are the best in our big USB-Stick Test.

Until the early 2000s, HDD drives were the optimal solution for computers and laptops. They were smaller than their predecessors and at some point they could even store a whole TB of data. Those who had a computer at home used these magnetic drives both internally and externally. As an external hard disk, the HDD could easily be placed in a practical case on the desk or a shelf and connected to the computer via USB cable.

HDD (Hard Disk Drive)

The external hard disk with HDD mechanics is still in use today. Its big advantage is the storage space. The 7-fold volume can replace virtually any cloud and provide entire small businesses with sufficient storage space for all databases. HDD hard drives are also extremely durable and can often be formatted and overwritten without the hard drive losing its functionality.

SSD (Solid State Drive)

External hard disks with SSD construction are fast, quiet and consume little power. They often fit in your pocket and can provide invaluable services while travelling. All important personal documents or photos can be stored on up to 2 terabytes. But beware: The SSD cannot be formatted indefinitely and becomes slower and slower due to frequent overwriting. This limits its lifespan and its use as a mobile medium to 2 to 3 years. It is also often twice as expensive as a much larger HDD.

Ideal on the go, bad as a server

The SSD's size and write speed make it suitable for anyone who needs to transfer data quickly on the move or who wants to use it directly from an external hard drive. Office programs, for example, can be ideally installed on an external SSD hard disk and started from there. Operating systems can also be installed here. Users should be careful not to move files unnecessarily often. By now the maximum space is 2 TB. However, this will most certainly change in the future.

The large, sluggish HDD hard disks are the undisputed leader as internal hard disks. They are robust and reliable. For servers and computers in the job they are the perfect solution. As external hard disks, they are suitable for permanent storage on the desk.

The purchase decision for external hard disks does not depend solely on the functionality of the memory. Often design, but also the format, play a role. You should consider the following features.

Size and shape determine mobility

Cheque card format or rather a little noticeable? Anyone who uses external hard drives when travelling will appreciate small formats and lightweight construction. However, the hard disk should not be too small. External hard disks that fit in your trouser pocket are just as easy to drop out of the pocket or be stolen unnoticed. When all the data is gone, it can be not only annoying, but also dangerous. Medium-size, stylish external hard drives are available from numerous well-known and inexpensive manufacturers. The large HDD hard drives are well suited for the workplace. Whether square or rounded, it decides how safely you can transport the external hard drive without damaging surrounding devices.

Customize color and style

External hard drives as a stylish accessory? Why not? With individual cases and sleeves, the hard disks can be transformed into favorite patterns and motif carriers. However, the hard disk itself can still look like a hard disk. So it can also be carried on flights or to public events without explanations.

Frame material - light or stable

External hard disks are available in all versions. Cheap hard disks come in a light plastic packaging and weigh less than a bar of chocolate. Metal cases, on the other hand, help against damage. If the hard disk often goes on a journey or is shaken in the bag, devices with metal frames are the better recommendation. Plastic is just as practical at home.

Lying or standing?

The discussion about how to store a hard disk properly, lying or standing, had to be conducted by every user at least once in the early 2000s. Today, this question is becoming more and more self-evident. Basically, this applies to all hardware parts: If it has feet on one side, it should stand on them. SSD cards usually lie flat on the surface during operation, HDD disks sometimes stand in their cases. As long as external hard disks don't get very loud or slow, they can be stored as the user likes.

External hard disks have a lifespan of at least two years. However, most devices last much longer. Before the hard disk makes its last revolutions, however, all data should be transferred to a new medium. After five or six years, the disks should therefore be replaced as a precaution.

The service life depends not only on the storage but also on the use. When used on a daily basis, external hard disks are often no longer usable after two years. However, if they are left unused for more than a year, the waiting time is not good for them either. For secure monthly backups we recommend replacing the external disks every 3 to 4 years, for weekly backups 3 years are recommended. Those who use external hard disks in their company should not use them longer than the expiration of the warranty. Afterwards, the data is basically no longer secure.

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