Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Hello, welcome to ReviewBox Brasil. Today we are going to talk about a super useful computer item to store heavy files: the External HD. It works as a great extra memory to store images, videos and files that are weighing your computer down. Nowadays, this is a product widely used by those who make constant use of laptops and computers.

Besides being useful for storing files, it is also very practical to carry for travel or work, since most models are portable and compact. We are going to talk about the best External Hard Drive models on the market, their advantages and disadvantages, prices and the main features that should be taken into consideration before you make your purchase. Come with us to learn all about this product!




Summary

  • There are external hard drive models of the most varied types: desktop and portable, of varying storage capacities and with different connections. We'll help you decide which model is best for you.
  • Despite their different storage capacities, all of them usually have more space than pen drives. Most models store 1 or 2 TB.
  • There are cheap models and other more expensive ones. However, for about £ 350 you can get an external HDD of great quality and high storage capacity.

The Best External Hard Drive: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Besides offering more storage space for your machines, the external hard drive is also widely used for backing up important files. It is an indispensable item for some professionals, such as photographers. But it has also become the darling of anyone who wants to keep their personal photos in a safe place. Throughout this Buying Guide we will bring all the information you need to buy a quality external hard drive that meets your expectations. Read on!

Imagem de HD externo branco conectado em notebook.

An external hard drive can be used to backup your files. (Source: nicolasmenijes / 123RF)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of External HD?

External hard drives usually have a high storage capacity. While most flash drives do not reach 64 GB, it is very easy to find external hard drives with 2 TB of capacity. They are especially useful for those who work with heavy files on the computer. Video editors, film producers, photographers and writers often save many videos, pictures and other files on their computers. A high capacity external hard drive is ideal in these cases.

Homem de costas sentado na frente de uma escrivaninha olhando para um computador com duas telas.

An external hard drive is very useful for those who work with videos or image processing. (Source: StartupStockPhotos / Pixabay)

In addition, they are great to carry around. Most models are compact and lightweight, making them ideal to be taken from your home to other places, such as trips and offices. However, an external HD may not be extremely necessary for those who do not usually store many heavy files on their notebooks or computers. A pen drive is already sufficient for smaller needs.

For having a very high capacity, an external hard drive usually costs a lot more than some pen drives. However, their values are not so high so, so it is worth the investment for those who store many heavy files.

Advantages
  • Large storage capacity
  • It is compact and lightweight
  • Ideal for being carried to other places
  • Very useful for those who work with heavy files
Disadvantages
  • Prices higher than pen drives

What is the difference between a desktop external hard drive and a portable one?

There are two main types of external hard drives available in the market today: desktop and portable. Each is ideal for different functions. Desktop external hard drives are larger and therefore not ideal for those who need to carry their files around frequently. However, they usually have a much larger storage capacity, up to more than 10 TB.

The portable ones, on the other hand, are more indicated for those who seek practicality. They are compact and much easier to carry around. Their disadvantage is that, generally, they have a lower storage capacity than the external desktop HDDs. Each type can serve different functions. If you work with videos, for example, and you need to take them on trips or to the office, the ideal is to opt for a portable model. If you always keep heavy files on the same computer, a desktop hard drive can be more useful.

External desktop hard drive Portable external hard drive
Advantages It has greater storage capacity Because it is compact, it can be easily carried to other places and are cheaper
Disadvantages It is difficult to be transported and costs more It has lower storage capacity
Cost High investment, from £ 1,000 Medium investment, from £150

What should I take care with an external hard drive?

Your external hard drive will be very useful for storing heavy files and transporting them to wherever you need to go. This already shows how important this device is and should be well taken care of to avoid the loss of files. Do not think that your external hard drive is immune from invasions. It is necessary to take good care of your hardware's security.

Whenever you connect it to your computer, turn on the antivirus to prevent invasions. This will prevent you from losing important files. Apart from that, you need to take other precautions. Check this out:

  1. Take good care of your device even when it is disconnected. Never leave your external HD in very hot environments, always prefer cool and ventilated places. Never leave it exposed to sunlight.
  2. Whenever possible, clean your device without using water or substances that can damage it. Always wipe it with a cloth and avoid leaving it in places where there is dust accumulation and exposure to fungus, such as drawers which are closed for a long time.
  3. It is also necessary to protect yourself on public PCs, which do not always have antivirus software. To avoid losing your files, you must vaccinate your external HD. To do this, create directories with the names of the most common infected files and, furthermore, autorun,inf directories, which block the propagation of this infection. Once these files are set in "read only" mode, the viruses in public computers won't be able to eliminate the file or folder. To apply this vaccine, there are several types of programs available, such as Panda USB and AutoRun Vaccine.

How much does it cost?

The price of an external HDD will depend a lot on its brand, storage capacity and technologies present in the device. An external HD from a not very popular brand, with 320 GB capacity, usually costs from £ 150. However, it is worth investing a little more in a reliable brand and a superior memory.

An external HD of 4 TB can reach £ 1,000, for its very high storage capacity. The devices with 2 TB capacity cost around £ 350. There are devices with the most varied prices. It is necessary to evaluate what your main needs are before making the purchase.

Homem sentado em frente a uma escrivaninha branca tratando uma imagem em um computador.

For those who work with images, it is necessary to purchase an external HD with greater storage capacity. (Source: StartupStockPhotos / Pixabay)

Purchase criteria: Main factors to evaluate an External Hard Drive

Each external hard drive has its own characteristics, and it is important to evaluate one by one before deciding which model is the best for you. These are some items that should be taken into consideration before the purchase:

  • Storage capacity
  • Available connections
  • Speed
  • Operating system compatibility
  • Weight

We'll explain exactly why each of these points is important when making your external hard drive purchase!

Storage capacity

In general, all external hard drives have a much higher storage capacity than pen drives. The simplest and cheapest models usually have 320 GB of memory, which is already enough to store many files. The portable models with greater capacity store up to 4 TB.

This type of space is suitable for those who have many heavy files, because it is able to store a wide variety of images and videos. Most models of external HD have from 1 TB to 2 TB of storage capacity. Before choosing your model, it is necessary to assess what your needs are, thinking about the size of the files you would like to store.

Available connections

Nowadays, most external hard drives on sale have USB 3.0 connections, which ensures an excellent and fast transfer rate of 5Gbps (equivalent to about 625 MB/s). There are models that provide even faster transfer speeds.

The external HDDs with USB 3.1, eSATA or Thunferbolt connection are already available on the market and offer more comfort and speed when transferring files. However, their prices are higher. Always prefer models that facilitate your daily life and do not provide headaches. Invest in quality external HDDs to ensure a better cost-benefit.

Speed

Speed and connections are features that must be evaluated separately when acquiring an external HDD. The connections are related to the file transfer capacity. The speed is the speed with which the HD can access data contained in it.

This is usually measured in RPMs. The more RPMs, the faster your external hard drive is. The slowest models usually have around 4200 RPM, while the fastest ones reach 10000 RPMs.

However, you can only take advantage of your external hard drive's speed if you have a computer with a compatible USB port. A speed of 10000 RPM will only be fully exploited with connections faster than USB 3.0.

Operating system compatibility

To ensure that your external hard drive works properly, you must make sure that it has the same operating system as your computer. Windows and Mac have different file systems (NTFS and HFS+, respectively).

Therefore, there are specific models for each platform. The Macs can read HD files in NTFS, but can not write new files. If your system is Linux, the external hard drives compatible with Windows will work normally.

Close em duas telas de computador com códigos de programação.

Always choose an external hard drive that is compatible with your operating system. (Source: PhotoMIX-Company / Pixabay)

Weight

Some external hard drive models are quite light, while others are heavier. Desktop hard drives, for example, weigh more than portable ones, besides being bigger. Therefore, they are more difficult to carry. If you are looking for a model that is easy to carry, it is necessary to consider the weight of the external hard drive.

Even among the portable ones, there is a wide range of weights. Some models are so light and compact that they even fit in your pocket. The weights of portable hard drives typically range from 350 g to over 1 kg.

(Featured Image Source: andriano / 123RF)

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