With the “Big Bang of Data,” storage capacities are evolving exponentially. As a result, external hard drives/SSDs have become essential for backing up important data. They provide additional storage capacity for our computers, making transporting and securing data easier. Thus, there is a wide variety of them, each with unique features and functionality.
In this article, we will introduce you to the best external hard drives/SSDs available on the market. We will compare storage capacity, transfer speed, portability, or robustness criteria. So you can choose the external hard drive that best suits your needs.
What Is An External Hard Drive?
An external hard drive is a data storage device that can be connected to a computer through a USB port. It allows the user to keep digital files and data on a removable hard drive rather than the computer’s internal hard drive. These devices are often used to back up important data or to transfer files between different computers.
Depending on the storage technology, they can be qualified as SSD (Solid State Drive) or HDD (Hard Disk Drive). A power cable or USB port usually powers an external hard drive. It can be formatted to be compatible with different operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, or Linux. DDEs have different storage capacities, ranging from a few gigabytes to several terabytes.
Of various sizes and shapes, some are more suitable for transport, while others are “office automation” tools. There are also external hard drives with additional features such as automatic backup or encryption of stored data.
Top 6 Best External Hard Drives (2023)
Samsung T7: The Best External SSD Of The Moment!
In terms of versatility, it takes a lot of work to top the Samsung T7. This SSD is the worthy heir of the T5 model, itself very powerful. Covered in an aluminum case, it weighs only 58 grams and is only 8 mm thick, making it one of the most compact DDEs available.
But don’t be fooled by its small size; the Samsung T7 is very fast! Its read speed is 1050 MB/s for 1000 MB/s in write. This is thanks to its USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 connector, which provides speeds of up to 10 GB/s. It is available in 500MB, 1TB, and 2TB versions and is compatible with PCs, Macs, game consoles, and other mobile devices with a USB-C connector.
The T7 SSD is available in several colors (blue, red, gray, white, and black) and several models. For example, the T7 Touch incorporates a fingerprint reader to maximize the security of your data. The T7 Shield is reinforced by a resistant elastomer shell (IP65 certified), which guarantees adequate protection against falls up to 3 meters in height. Samsung has thought of everything, and it’s appreciable!
Toshiba Canvio Basics: Simple, Cheap, And Efficient!
The Toshiba Canvio Basics is undoubtedly one of the best external HDDs. Indeed, for a very reasonable price, it offers a storage capacity ranging from 500 GB to 3 TB. Here, we have chosen to present the 2 TB version (sold for around 65 €). It is a hard drive, which explains its low price compared to its storage capacity. Its transfer rate ( about 140 MB/s) is reasonable but far from equaling that of SSD models.
On the design side, the device is sober, black, and without frills. It only includes the essentials, namely a USB 3.0 port, and no software is offered. In addition, no carrying case is supplied with the product. A word of advice, carry it with care… Despite these shortcomings, the Toshiba Canvio Basic remains an economical and efficient enough external storage solution to meet the needs of a majority of users.
WD Black P50: The Best External SSD Dedicated To Gaming
The Western Digital Black P50 hard drive is an SSD suitable for gamers. Indeed, its speed performance is quite impressive. Its 20 Gb/s SuperSpeed USB (3.2 Gen 2×2) interface allows you to install games and launch them on your computer or console with excellent fluidity.
Its read speed reaches 2000 MB/s for a more responsive gaming experience and reduced loading times. Depending on the version, its storage capacity is 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, or 4 TB. This external SSD also exists in a console/PC and Xbox version. As you’d expect, this device could be more compact out there. That said, it’s also not bulky.
Its dimensions are 11.8 x 6.2 x 1.4 cm (L x W x H) for a weight of 115 grams. Its atypical design could suggest that its shell is entirely made of metal, but only its front face is aluminum. However, this SSD is not fragile, not to mention that it is guaranteed for five years by the manufacturer. Combining speed and performance, it is geared toward gaming. It is undoubtedly the best SSD for seasoned gamers at the beginning of 2023.
SanDisk Extreme Pro: A Solid And Fast External SSD
The SanDisk Extreme Pro has it all: compact, fast, and robust… the SanDisk Extreme Pro! Its dimensions are 11 x 5.7 x 1 cm (L x W x H) for a weight of only 77 grams. In addition, the device is IP55 certified, which means that it is resistant to drops, splashes, and dust.
Its forged-aluminum case gives it good solidity and allows the heat generated by the components to be dissipated. This ensures consistent performance, even after some time of use. In short, this external storage box is made for adventurers who need to carry computer equipment in the field (for photography or video in the middle of nature, for example). But what about its performance?
First, you should know that the pro version of this external SSD differs from its “classic” version in several ways. It embeds an NVMe interface offering a read/writes speed of 1050 MB/s. If it is connected to the appropriate hardware, this speed can go up to 2000 MB / s.
For this, you must have a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port. As for its storage capacities, they range from 1 TB to 4 TB . Whether in its Pro or classic version, the SanDisk Extreme is an excellent SSD capable of operating in any condition.
Seagate Expansion Portable: Big Storage Capacity
The portable Seagate Expansion is an HDD with a storage capacity of 5 TB! It is ideal for saving many files and is also an additional memory space for the latest game consoles. Its connectivity and power supply are via USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 in Plug-and-play. There is no software to install; the machine is immediately ready to use! Its read and write speed is around 130 MB/s, which is decent for this capacity but could be better.
However, this DDE fishes slightly in terms of its compactness. It measures approximately 12 cm in length, 8 cm in width, and 2 cm in height for a weight of 240 grams… This does not prevent you from taking it with you on the go, but it will be more suitable for office use. Note that the guarantee for data recovery in the event of a breakdown is valid for two years.
LaCie Rugged SSD Pro: The Most Rugged SSD
If the SanDisk Extreme Pro is resistant, we must admit that the Rugged SSD Pro is even more so! It is arguably the most robust external SSD on the market. We recommend it in its “Thunderbolt 3” version, which can transfer 60 GB of data per minute for a memory space of 2 TB. The SSD can reach 1050 MB/s in reading and 1000 MB/s in writing. Seagate Secure self-encrypting technology maintains the integrity and privacy of your backed-up data.
This rugged storage device is IP67 certified. Thus, it remains completely waterproof (even in immersion) and dustproof. It is also protected against falls of up to 3 meters in height. The icing on the cake, the LaCie brand guarantees this model for five years against breakage, accidents, and material failure. This warranty includes access to data recovery services.
Choosing The Best DDE: Buying Guide!
Before going directly to the “purchase” box, you must ask yourself specific questions. Indeed, as you may have noticed during your reading, external hard drives/SSDs have various characteristics and do not all use the same technology.
What Are The Differences Between An HDD And An SDD?
There are mainly two types of external drives:
- HDD (Hard Disk Drive)
- SDD (Solid State Drive)
Hard drives (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD) differ in their storage technology and the performance they offer:
- Storage: HDDs use spinning platters to store data, while SSDs use flash memories with no moving mechanics.
- Speed: SSDs are faster to access data, boot the operating system, and load applications.
- Reliability: SSDs are generally more reliable because they have no moving parts that can break.
- Capacity: HDDs can offer higher storage capacity for a lower cost, while SSDs are more expensive for the same degree.
SSDs have a better throughput, but is that more important to you? Indeed, if you mainly need to duplicate many files to keep them, it may be wiser to choose an HDD. Admittedly, SSDs offer equivalent storage space, but their purchase price will always be higher for the same capacity.
Read And Write Speed
They are, therefore, far from swallowing up the performance of SSDs, which can easily exceed 1000 MB/s. This characteristic influences the ability of the DDE to process information quickly. Thus, the higher these speeds, the more you can perform heavy and complex tasks from your external device (running editing software, video games, etc.).
Not all external hard drives have the same connectors. Some are designed to work exclusively with game consoles. This is the case with Seagate’s Game Drive which is only compatible with the PS4. It’s always possible to reformat your drive later to make it consistent, but if you can avoid the hassle of this step, that’s always better!
Weights And Dimensions
For “nomadic” use, an SSD disk will always be more advisable than an HDD. As we have seen, the latter is less likely to be damaged in shocks. However, not all external HDDs are specifically designed for transport. Some are heavy, bulky, and therefore more suitable for office work. Conversely, others are light, compact, and have an IPXX-type certification. Although size is only one of the essential purchase criteria, it can help you decide between two models.
You now know the best external hard drives for the beginning of 2023. So be relieved; your storage and backup problems will soon be history! But beware, more than backing up to an external device is required for essential data. DDEs remain physical devices; they are, therefore, not immune to the risks of breakage and avarice. Thus, we recommend you perform a double backup locally and on the cloud to keep your sensitive files safe.