Portable hard drives, also known as external hard drives, are a great solution to all your data backup problems. Of course, you could store all these files by using online applications, but you cannot be sure of having access to the internet all the time. With a portable hard drive, you can have all your media handy and accessible constantly. There are all kinds of drives out there and it sometimes makes the process of researching for a portable hard drive purchase complicated. Read the following article to know all the types and features so that you can buy the best external hard drive.
But what is exactly a portable hard drive? To make it short, portable hard drives or external hard drives, as both names themselves imply, are portable media storage devices that are plugged into a computer via a USB, FireWire, or wirelessly.
Let’s have a look at the descriptions of the different features of the two most important types (we can call these types the physical classes of external hard drives) of portable hard drives.
The desktop-class hard drives are usually bigger than notebook-class drives, requiring more space, as well as, an interface cable and a separate AC adapter, that is to be plugged into a power outlet. These types of hard drives are also heavier in weight compared with the notebook-class portable hard drives. Some desktop-class hard drives might come with fans that are designed for reducing the heat level of the drive, but they make the actual drives heavier as well. Nonetheless, this added feature saves the drive from being overheated and is a worthwhile detail. Such drives, by nature, are stationary, or meant for either a desktop computer (as the name itself prompts us) supplementation or to be attached to a laptop. By stationary, we mean that it is not a drive that usually leaves its normal location, such as on your desk or next to your computer. Actually, there is no really inherent difference between desktop-class and notebook-class hard drives except in the drive and the enclosure. The enclosure also adds some weight. What the drive is referred to then, is the desktop-class external hard drives that are constructed by utilizing a 3.5” (this is the measurement of the hard drive diameter of the circular storage disk platter) drive.
Notebook-class external hard drives are built using either a 2.5” or a 1.8” hard drive. The latter are not really used by normal consumer use, because they are meant for ultraportable notebooks and mostly lack the feature of being not being able to be upgraded. The former, for example, the 2.5” notebook-class hard drives, are what most people use in their laptops. The advantage of a notebook-class hard drives is that they are very compact and come with a protective enclosure that is easy to pack. Also, it is not as heavy as the former type of external hard drives. Many notebook-class hard drives possess the feature of having lower requirements from the aspect of consuming energy. This enables them to be bus-powered, or meaning that they absorb power from the host computer outlet, thus removing the need from having to pack and untangle another cord. This small feature is very popular with consumers and is becoming a more normal option. Also, in the case of notebook-class drives, you always have another option to choose from – the “SSD”, or solid state drives. Unlike HDD’s, which are standard hard disk drives, solid state drives have a lot of features that are advantageous, such as:
However, the capacity of these types of hard drives is limited and for the storage of large-sized files you will need to spend a lot more money in order to get an SSD that will provide you with the needed storage space. So, if you want to save money, yet store your large files, then consider the usual HDD’s. In any case, the really big and massive drives with huge capacity are the desktop-class ones. As in any such decision, personal preference and budget limitations come into play.
So if you have already decided the type of external hard drive you need buy, the next step is to choose the one with the right features. Here is a list of the most important features that the best external hard drives should possess.
The capacity size is really of great relevance. For this feature, you need to know what you want the hard drive for, what kind of files and media you will store in your drive, etc. So if you are all clear about this, you will be able to know if your external hard drive needs to have a large capacity or not. Generally, in HDDs the storage capacity varies from 2GB to 4TB. There are even external hard drives that have two 4TB drives put into them thus making their capacity 8TB. So if you are going to store, say, large-sized videos, then you will probably need an external hard drive with about 1TB or 2TB capacity. A smaller one would be good for simply storing your documents, since videos take more room to store.
Here is another important feature to look for in portable hard drives. What most consumers need when buying a technology item is the ease of use. Most of them are not keen on turning on and installing technical stuff that have complicated techniques. If you are one of the above mentioned people, then we advise you to choose a drive that will possess the feature of included software, thus making everything clearer and easier for you. But, you never are able to get a 100% guarantee of the perfect performance of the product. So don’t forget to buy an external hard drive that comes with at least a one-year warranty. Keep in mind, that the longer the warranty, the better. A year is the absolute minimum and external hard drive should serve you much longer, if it is of high quality!
Safety and protection – here are other important things to consider when buying an external hard drive, especially if you are planning to carry it around with you. You should buy a portable hard drive that has the feature of hardware-based encryption, this being more dependable compared to software-based encryption. It’s important for the above mentioned reason of carrying the hard drive around with you, as well as, for highly sensitive information storage. If you are taking your external hard drive that contains a lot of important files and information with you “to travel”, then making sure that it does have an encryption will protect your device from loss and theft. Thinking about this feature, after purchasing a portable hard drive, will be too late to protect your files.
The interface of your external hard drive is the key to determining as to which of the ports or backup software it will have connectivity to. Below we enumerate the types of the ports and to what they can have accessibility to:
The speed of the above mentioned backup ports varies. If you have large files like videos and photos to be backed up, then you need the fastest external hard drive available. A portable hard drive with a ISB 3.0 interface would be good, though a USB 2.0 is fine too, but is 10 times slower than the former. An eSATA is the next best drive port type (speeds of up to 3 Gbps) however it might cost you more money. In third place, from the aspect of speed, is occupied by FireWire, which can provide transfer speeds up to 800 Mbps. Thunderbolt is the fastest of all, with transfer speed that can reach up to 10 Gbps.
This feature is very important from the aspect of helping you reduce the probability of your external hard drive getting lost or stolen. We have mentioned it earlier, in a more detailed way, in the section above about protection, as we consider it to be an inseparable part of it. It’s important enough to mention another time.
Here again, comes the question of you carrying your external hard drive around with you everywhere, which highly increases the probability of it getting dropped or damaged. This is why hard drives come in sturdy enclosures. Though these enclosures add weight, they will still protect your drive from dropping and getting damaged.
Some models of external hard drives come in low profile enclosures, other in shock-absorbing material within rugged cases. The quality of the material of the enclosures will decrease the chances of your drive getting wet and damaged by water. You are never totally protected, so paying a little more and buying a case of quality material may be a necessity. The safety of your important information stored in external hard drives, is surely worth the money.
After having taken into consideration all the above mentioned important features, we are sure that you will be able to buy the best external hard drive. However, if you are still of two minds about its efficiency and are asking yourself the question of why not to choose the cloud storage over the external hard drives, then keep reading in order to see that the proof is the opposite.
First of all, cloud storage requires accessibility of internet connection and you can never be wholly sure that you will be able to get access to your files every time you need them, because you might be in a place where there is no Wi-Fi, or any other type of internet connection. Imagine having all your favourite songs downloaded via cloud storage and deleted from your device and going to, say, a faraway mountainous place where there is no Wi-Fi and not being able to listen to any song you like. Does that not sound like a disaster, especially for a music fiend? Of course it does. Hence, this is the first downside of cloud storage – the must-have capability of internet access. Another point is that cloud storages have a capacity limit and the moment you cross that limit you will not be able to store any more files until you pay for it. So, isn’t it better to pay only once knowing exactly the amount of space you need to store your files, than worry about needing to pay more and more for additional space? The answer is clear! External hard drives provide you with a number of advantages and great features. You can buy portable ones that are easy to carry around with you and you can buy external hard drives that will possess as much capacity as you want. They are fast and easy to use and are always handy.
If we managed to persuade you about the external hard drive having outdone cloud storage, then fine. But, if you still doubt the essential and actual need for paying for a portable hard drive and are not sure whether it will not be a waste of money, then here are a few other facts serving as proof for the hard drives’ being beneficial. Above all, having a lot of files, especially uncountable video, music and photo files of large sizes piled up in your computer, will by all means slow the latter’s performance. No one likes when the computer freezes in the middle of, say, writing an important document. The next relevant thing to mention at this point is that you are not protected from the risk of losing all your files, because your hard drive can crash at some point. Everyone thinks that such things will not happen to them but, the fact is, that you can never say for sure. And losing your files might be fatal. So better keep them safe and sound in an external hard drive at the same time having your computer work fast and smooth.
We are sure that the latter two points were convincing enough, that you do need an external hard drive for the storage and preservation of your digital treasures. The only question that remains, is which external hard drive is the best to buy and will it exactly fit your needs and expectations?
All the information provided in this article is just enough to lead you to the best purchase. Simply follow our instructions and buy the best portable hard drive, considering your own purposes. Reviews Bee has made the list of the top external hard drive brands leaving you almost nothing to do, except to choose the right one, because all of them are fine hard drives meant for different purposes. Make the best external hard drive purchase and keep your digital storage safe!
The total Reviews Bee rating sums up the overall picture of every product. Reviews Bee works tirelessly to ensure that we are providing the best product recommendations to you and your family. In rating the various portable hard drives available, we strive to give you the best information possible. Our algorithm includes information from both expert and consumer resources. There is no need to spend hours on researches, because Reviews Bee instantly gives all researches and analysis for you and creates a Top list to save your time and money.
Reviews Bee collects consumer review information from popular retail websites including Amazon, eBay, BBB, Yelp, Consumer reports, etc. In addition, Reviews Bee utilizes reputable market niche websites, to include in the product ranking decision. Using the feedback of actual customers in coordination with expert evaluations enables us to provide each product with a score that takes into account all trustworthy information available on that item.
We came up with the popularity score for every portable hard drive provider while analyzing 19 expert sites that are trustworthy. Based on our detailed evaluation, each portable hard drive is assigned an expert popularity score based upon how many times each product is positively mentioned by experts in the industry.
By analyzing all the expert review sites our algorithm summed up the average ranking for every portable hard drive in their rankings and that is how we came up with the final score for each portable hard drive brand.
We managed to gather more than 6789 reviews from 88 reliable sources and our algorithm calculated the average score for each brand.
In order to understand how satisfied those consumers were, we analyzed the total number of reviews. We collected all the reviews and the number of stars people gave for each product. Based on these findings we came up with the average customer rating. This is how we managed to bring out the portable hard drive reviews through which you know how the consumer can rate the portable hard drive.
In order to make our results authentic, we don’t limit ourselves to just the positive rankings factors but we also take complaints from all over the web into consideration and figure out how many customers were complaining about the product.
Through this, we show both sides of the product whether it’s positive or negative in nature. This then makes it a negative factor in our algorithm. This as a result makes the portable hard drives reviews. That is why portable hard drives reviews not only have positive comments mentioned but also the negatives as well.