Earlier people used to use floppy disks with 8 MB of storage. Games used to be that size. But things have changed, and hugely so. CD drives came, and then came DVDs. This was followed by a transition to pen drives and now portable hard disk drives.
We are on a quest to find the best external hard disks that are available in the market today. The one which you can transfer data the fastest, so that you can copy games, or the one which has lots of storage so you can store all your data and use it as a vault.
First off, we want to tell you what kind of hard disks are there and why you should choose one over the other. This will help you make an informed decision. So a guide is provided after this list, and check it out to make the buying process easier.
Cheapest 1 TB Hard Disk: Western Digital ElementsBuy from Amazon
If you're someone who doesn't care much about speed and carry it around a lot, and all you need is some place to back up your data, this is the perfect hard disk for you. At a little under 4000, the cheapest 1 TB Hard disk is Western Digital Elements.
Western Digital has been making hard disks for a long time, and it has made another timeless piece with the Elements. The hard disk supports both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 for faster data transfer. It has a transfer speed of around 625 MBps.
The hard disk is small in size making it easy to carry around and is durable. The LED light on it is dim so it doesn't disturb you while working at night. The hard disk doesn't vibrate or make any annoying noices showing the quality and the build.
The same hard disk is available at other storage sizes also, if you want you can take a look at them too. But if you're willing to put a bit more money, we have more rugged and faster ones.
Best 1 TB Hard Disk: Transcend TS1TSJ25M3S StoreJetBuy from Amazon
Transcend is one of the known names in storage industry, and it is not a surprise that the best 1 TB Hard disk is Transcend StoreJet.
The hard disk is a 1 TB hard disk and has military grade shock resistance. It has an advanced three-stage shock protection system which helps in case the hard disk falls down. This is the perfect storage for you if you're clumsy.
The built quality of the hard disk is also excellent. It has a durable anti-shock rubber outer case which helps in giving grip when holding the hard disk. It has a quick reconnect button which is helpful to re-enable the hard disk after clicking on safely remove the hard disk.
The hard disk also has a one touch backup button, so that you can backup the data easily.
It has 256-bit AES file and folder encription for added security. This helps in keeping the hard disk data safe even in case of theft.
Transcend StoreJet has an advanced internal suspension system which helps in case the hard disk falls down or it bumps against something.
Best 1.5 TB Hard Disk: Seagate Expansion PortableBuy from Amazon
Seagate Expansion Portable hard disk is a great way to increase the storage provided by the laptop.
Windows laptop require extra space on hard disk which they use for caching. This har disk is perfect to copy all the data which you don't use on a regular basis onto so that you don't run out of space on your laptop or PC.
To copy data all you have to do is to plug it to your PC and drag and drop the data. No additional setups or hassles.
The hard disk supports USB 3.0 which increases the data transfer speeds of the laptop. This is also backward compatible with USB 2.0 so you can use it on older laptops also.
The hard disk can be encrypted to store sensitive data. It also comes with build in power management for energy efficient operation.
The hard disk is priced a bit over 4000 and is great value for money. Most of the other hard disks at this price range offers only 1 TB of storage.
The hard disk has a textured pattern on the surface making it easier to hold.
Best 2 TB Hard Disk: ADATA HD650Buy from Amazon
When going for larger amount of data, we strongly recommend having something with military grade protection. It is not like you are going to war, but in case it falls down, you don't have to heart attack.
With 2 TB of storage, you don't have to worry about running out of disk space any time soon. You will have lot of space for all your movies, games, songs and images.
The hard disk has ruggedized body and is waterproof, dustproof and is highly resistant to scratching. The hard disk doesn't even imbibe fingerprint smudges. We are extremely happy with the build the hard disk offers.
The hard disk is covered by a triple-layer build and is encased in silicon layers. This helps in the hard disk from not getting damaged even after falling from great heights. The mounts are also cushioned to prevent drive damage and to fully protect the data inside it.
The hard disk also suppoorts 256-bit encryption so that data can be store without people peeping into your private data. All your images can be stored safely now.
The hard disk supports USB 3.0 and is also backward compatible with USB 2.0. This helps in transfering the data quickly. It also comes with a 3 year warranty.
Best Rugged Hard disk: Adata HD710 ProBuy from Amazon
If military grade protection is what you're looking for, we strongly recommend that you get Adata HD710 Pro. The hard disk comes with all the new technologies that are available to protect your data.
The hard disk is available in multiple storage sizes ranging from 1TB to 5TB. The hard disk has withstood military grade testing, offering the ultimate protection to the hard disk. The hard disk passed the Military MIL-STD-810G 516.6 drop test.
It has an inbuilt shock sensor. It helps in case of a shock by moving the parts from touching the surface of the disk and scratching it.
The hard disk supports USB 3.2 gen 1 for transferring data faster. It is not only rugged but also transfers data at extremely high rates due to the port.
Adata HD710 Pro is also waterproof and you can dip it in water of up to 1.5 m deep for 60 minutes and not worry about damaging the hard disk. Great choice if you're a fan of taking the hard disk with you while swimming. Of if you're in the army and want to take the hard disk through paths untravelled.
The hard disk has a light blue LED light to indicate power and data transfer status. It comes with a 3 year warranty from the date of purchase.
A guide to buying Hard Disks
SSD vs Hard drive
Though we are listing hard drives, the word hard drive is somewhat loosley defined. So first thing we need to find is what exactly is it?
Traditional Hard Disks are kind of like CD drives with the tray. They have a spinning disk inside and other movable parts. This makes it slow compared to an SSD which has no movable parts. An SSD has a collection of flash cells similar to the ones used in a RAM making it extremely fast.
Usual read and write speeds of HDD are in 100-200MBps range depending on the speed (5400 RPM is the more common speed, and 7200 RPM for expensive ones). Whereas SSDs offer speeds of more than 400 MBps which is around twice of what is offered by HDDs.
Since the maximum speed that can be attained is the speed of the port, if you have a USB 2.0 port only, the speed will be slow and the actual speeds mentioned above cannot be attained.
Need for speed
One of the major elements that needs to be considered is how fast do you need your hard disk to be. The faster you want it to be, you'll find yourself spending more.
And also, faster also doesn't always translate to faster. That is, if you do not have a USB 3.0 port on your laptop, it doesn't make sense to buy a portable HDD that has 3.0 support.
As we have said, SSD based hard disks are faster than the traditional ones, but are there other ways to increase the speeds? If you are not a fan of laptops and doesn't need to move your external hard disk around too much, you will get hard disks that are RAID based.
RAIDs can be of multiple types. One is RAID 0. In RAID 0, the hard disk will contain two disks and data will be copied onto the two disks simultaneously. For example, if you want to copy 1 GB of file, 500 MB will be copied onto one disk and the other 500 onto the other disk. This increases the speed hugely, as it will take only half time to copy the data.
Which interface to connect to the laptop
Which interface you use to connect to the laptop is the second most important thing to look into after the speed of the drive. As mentioned before, if your port is slow it translates into the performance of the Hard disk.
The fastest port available today is the Thunderbolt port. This can give speeds of upto 40 Gbps, but that speeds can be attained only if the external hard disk is an SSD. Traditional hard disks cannot give speeds anywhere near the speeds that can be given by SSDs.
Rugged or not?
If you carry your hard disk around too much, we would strongly recommend you go with rugged hard disk. Though they are a bit more bulkier than their non rugged counterparts, they'll take a fall or two.
Some of the hard disks just have bumpers to prevent huge damage, but some has even military grade protection.