The Best External HDD – Test and Comparison 2021
An external hard drive is an absolute must for every modern computer user whether for the data backup of PC, Mac, or laptop, for the outsourcing of large amounts of data such as videos, games, or photos or simply for easily transportable exchange of data. This guide presents the recommendations of the editors and offers a compact overview of the range of different external hard drives.
The Editors Recommendation, Back to Basics- WD Elements 1 TB
The Western Digital Elements hard disk with 1 TB is outwardly inconspicuous (additional storage options are available at an additional cost), but the 2.5 “hard disk still offers everything that PC users need.
As a mechanical hard drive, it is louder and a little slower than SSDs, but it is also significantly cheaper. A good alternative for mass storage, where storage size is more important than speed.
Thanks to its compact exterior and rounded edges, the WD Elements also fits perfectly in your trouser pocket and can therefore also be used ideally on the go – the power is also supplied via USB 3.0 (the disk is also compatible with USB 2.0, then of course with reduced data transmission). This works brilliantly even in tight situations such as when traveling by train. With 5 GB/s data transfer speed, its elegant, lightweight housing, and compact dimensions, the WD Elements is a great all-rounder for every application.
Toshiba HDTB410EK3AA 1 TB – Lots of storage space for little money
In the portable, external hard drive from Toshiba in Canvio Basics design, users will find a cheap alternative to other hard drives. Here, too, the simple, matt black design and connectivity are impressive. 5.0 GB/s data transfer speed is more than just decent write speed for an external mechanical hard drive.
In addition to the version presented here with 1 TB of storage, otherwise, identical external hard drives from the Canvio Basics series with up to 4 TB are available. The model is an inexpensive all-rounder that can be easily transported, is ideal for working on the go, and is a reliable back-up hard drive for home use. Like other 2.5″ HDDs, the Toshiba hard drive is small and narrow, the rounded design of the edges also ensures a good feeling during transport ergonomically.
WD Elements 2 TB – The extra storage is worth it
There is little to say about the WD Elements with 2 TB that would not also apply to the model with less storage space. Externally identical and equipped with the same speed, the weight is only a few ounces higher than the smaller version. This is only noticeable on the kitchen scales, but not in practical use.
If you have several WD Elements disks with different storage capacities, you should even label them. Because from the outside, the Elements series does not differ from one another, regardless of the selected storage capacity. 2 TB is already very decent for a 2.5″ hard drive that draws its power via USB and is just as attractive as it is easily transportable. At the top, the WD Elements is (currently) available with up to 5 TB of storage. Will be more storage space if necessary, it is much more economical to simply use a large hard disk. Despite twice the storage capacity, the 2 TB element costs, for example, only 50 percent more than its smaller brother.
The quality of the hard disk has not changed despite the increased memory, the WD Elements is a recommendation for every capacity.
WD Elements 5 TB – The premium model at an economical price
What applies to the smaller versions of the WD Elements also applies to the currently largest external hard drive in the Western Digital series. 5 terabytes are a lot of storage space even for the highest demands. Whether entire memory cards for RAW photos, 4K videos, games, or regular back-ups, even professional users are well served with the Elements 5 TB.
Due to the compact dimensions and the elimination of a power supply via mains power, the WD Elements 5 TB can also be used on the laptop without any problems. It fits in every pocket and can be easily integrated into a modern desk ensemble.
Its rounded edges make the hard drive very pleasant to transport and handle, and the matte surface feels good in the hand. Like the other hard drives from Western Digital, it is pre-formatted on NTFS and can be used immediately on Windows computers. For other operating systems, the hard drive must first be formatted.
More space, more speed, more security
External hard drives provide security for data and back-ups and free the internal hard drives from rarely used data. This also ensures that operating systems such as Windows or Mac OS can do their work faster and more reliably.
Even for occasional users, at least one external hard drive is a must, if you have more data and, above all, work with larger amounts of files, you should invest in more external storage.
This also has cost advantages, because it saves money on the internal hard drive. SSDs can also be a good choice for external hard drives, then external data is also available more quickly, but the speed of an SSD is only fully developed via USB-C. Additionally, external SSDs are still very expensive, making external HDDs a great choice for large amounts of storage for the foreseeable future.