{Disarmed} Portable External Hard Drives for the New Course: Buying Guide with Recommendations for Backups, Mobile Work and More

Portable External Hard Drives for the New Course: Buying Guide with Recommendations for Backups, Mobile Work and More

A hard drive is one of those essential peripherals for those who work with a computer. It can be simply to organize and save our files, work and notes, but also to work from here to there, alternating files between computers in the laboratory, personal or at home, if you have one. If you need a hard drive for your academic day to day, in this buying guide you will find a complete analysis of the different types that you will find and what they are most suitable for , as well as a careful selection of outstanding models that you can buy.

Buying a hard drive to study: buying guide with tips and recommendations

SSD vs. HDD

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Although they are all commonly known as hard drives, probably the most important division of these storage peripherals is whether we are more interested in a classic mechanical hard drive or a solid state drive .

In this article you will find the in-depth explanation about the differences between HDD and SSD , which you can see in a summarized way in this table. Here, however, we will focus on what they are most interesting for .

Main advantages

SSD

HDD

Capacity

Generally between 256 GB and 4 TB

Generally between 1 and 10 TB

Consumption

Lower consumption

Higher consumption

Cost

Much more expensive

Much cheaper

Noise

Quieter due to no moving parts

Somewhat louder for having moving parts

Vibrations

Does not vibrate due to no moving parts

The spinning of your discs can cause slight vibrations.

Fragmentation

Does not have

Can be given

Durability

Your cells can be rewritten a limited number of times

With mechanical parts that can be damaged by movements

OS boot time

7 seconds

16 seconds

Data transfer

Generally between 200 and 550 MB / s

Generally between 50 and 150 MB / s

Affected by magnetism

No

Magnetism can remove data

There are two very important parameters: speed and the storage-price ratio. SSDs are noticeably faster than HDDs , so they are the most suitable if we want to work or add / remove files frequently.

If what we want is to save files from time to time, we will need a lot of storage space and the HDDs will be the most suitable . It is not that there is no SSD with considerable storage space, it is that its price is noticeably higher.

As HDDs also have more ballots to be damaged , in mobile use (where it is more frequent to suffer shocks and falls) SSDs will generally be the best option.

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How much space do you need

However, the parameter that we usually consider when we buy an external hard drive is the storage space. The key is to do a good dimensioning in the present and near future and pay attention to the offers, since sometimes making the jump to more space means a very small price jump.

For working with files, a good starting point is 1TB , a fairly tight figure to use as a mixed bag to store everything.

Be careful because even if we are going to use it as an electronic filing cabinet (remember, in that case better HDD), the 4 / 5TB mark an important barrier : from that threshold the hard drives that we are going to find are desktop, that is, more large (3.5 ") and with plug. This is not a problem if its location is to be our work table, but if the idea is to move it from here to there.

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Transfer speed

If you insert, modify or extract files from your storage unit regularly, the speed of data transfer is a very important factor so as not to despair .

The two main parameters that make the difference are the storage technology and the connector used (be careful with this, because if the port of our computer is limited to being compatible but has an inferior technology, you will not be able to take advantage of its virtues).

As we have seen above, in general SSDs are faster than HDDs and are the best option for those looking for speed, that is, if we are going to move files frequently.

Most storage units use the USB interface as a connector, but be careful because there are big differences in transfer speed between generations, versions and even a nomenclature that invites confusion . If you are going to buy a hard drive right now, what you can find is:

  • USB 2.0 is an old standard whose maximum transfer speed is up to 480 Mbps.
  • USB 3.0 has a transfer rate of ** up to 4.8 Gbit / s (600 MB / s).
  • USB 3.1 achieves a transfer rate of up to 10 Gbit / s (1.25 GB / s). It is the one that is usually used by Type C connectors.
  • USB 3.2 : up to 20 Gbit / s (2.5 GB / s).
  • USB 4.0 : up to 40 Gbit / s (5 GB / s)
USB connectors

The USB-A connector is the most common and through it you can use the standards (USB 1.0), USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and 3.1. Those connectors with the 3.0 standard differ from the rest by having a blue internal tab.

The most modern connector is USB Type C. As it is completely reversible, you can always connect it from either side. This connector is also used for Thunderbolt 3 , an alternative standard to HDMI.

The ideal from a speed point of view is a Thunderbolt 3 connection, but they are neither the most frequent nor the cheapest. Also, your device may not have a USB-C (or Thunderbolt 3) port, in that case, bet on those with USB 3.1 / 3.2 Gen 2 .

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Of portability and durability

If you simply want an external hard drive to make backup copies at home, buying a NAS is a good idea that will also allow you to transfer and update files wirelessly and automatically.

But you may want something simpler and more classic like transferring the files yourself and keeping them local. In that case, self-powered, high-capacity HDDs are the best alternative . They are relatively compact to have on your desk and the idea is not to move them from the site, but to have them within reach of your work area.

However, you may prefer a little more mobility for your backup copies and important files, for example if you study abroad and alternate your family residence with a student flat or residence hall. In that case a small, lightweight hard drive is a great option to take with you . In addition, the fact that it does not have a power outlet makes it more comfortable to move.

The most "dangerous" scenario is the one in which you want to take it with you in your day to day. We have already commented previously that SSDs are technically less prone to failure and also tend to be more compact.

In any case, there are models designed for potentially "dangerous" conditions for their durability, with an especially resistant casing in the style of ruggerized mobiles.

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Compatibility

When you take the hard drive out of its box, it comes in a serial format that is especially suitable for an operating system . This means that at first, it may not be compatible with macOS or Linux, for example, since most are prepared for the majority OS: Windows.

Fortunately, this is not a problem since it is not irreversible : you can simply format the hard drive or a partition on it. Although it is a fairly simple procedure , you may prefer not to complicate it and have it ready for your computer right out of the box.

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Two extras to consider

There are two characteristics that usually go unnoticed when buying a hard drive that we want to highlight.

The first has to do with the guarantee, which by law is now two years three years . There are models with an extended warranty that offer added peace of mind in the event of an unexpected misfortune.

The second has to do with the cables it includes . The most modern laptops and mobiles already have USB-C or Thunderbolt 3, but the cable that you find in the box does not have that socket and you will have to buy an additional cable to connect it. By the way, some hard drives have Wi-Fi connectivity to transfer files without the need for cables.

Fast external "hard drives" for use on the go

WD My Passport Go

Go

The WD My Passport Go ( 63 euros ) is a compact storage unit with a casing with rubber bumpers to withstand impacts and drops of up to two meters, very attractive both for its small size and for its price to be an SSD.

Available from 500GB to 2TB, connects to your computer with a USB 3.0 port, includes backup software. With serial format for Windows, you can format it for Mac.

WD My Passport Go 500GB External Solid Hard Drive - Cobalt Finish

WD My Passport Go 500GB External Solid Hard Drive - Cobalt Finish

Today on Amazon for € 81.49 RRP in MediaMarkt € 84

Crucial

Crucial

With a fairly compact, small and light rectangular design and at the same time very resistant, this external SSD is available in versions up to 4TB offering a good cost-performance ratio for this format. With USB 3.2 and USB-C as a port, you can buy it with different adapters depending on the one you need for your computer.

Crucial CT1000X6SSD9 X6 1 TB Portable SSD, up to 540 MB / s, USB 3.2, External Solid State Drive, USB-C

Crucial CT1000X6SSD9 X6 1 TB Portable SSD, up to 540 MB / s, USB 3.2, External Solid State Drive, USB-C

Today on Amazon for € 127.90

Samsung PSSD T5

Sam

This Samsung PSSD T5 ( 129 euros ) is the model used by several xiaomist.com Video editors to work with photo and video due to its reliability, good operation and data transfer speeds thanks to the fact that it integrates a Samsung V-NAND flash memory and an interface USB 3.1 Gen 2

With an attractive, very strong aluminum casing, it is compact, slim and light, as well as being compatible with both Windows and Mac.

Samsung PSSD T5 - External hard drive, 1 TB, USB 3.0 connector, Gray

Samsung PSSD T5 - External hard drive, 1 TB, USB 3.0 connector, Gray

RRP in MediaMarkt € 129 Today on Amazon for € 129.95 PVP in FNAC € 151 PVP in PcComponentes € 136

SanDisk Extreme

Sandisk Extreme Ssd Portable 1TB

The design of the SanDisk Extreme ( 129 euros ) is especially interesting for those who need a unit to take from here to there, since it has a very resistant casing (IP55 grade against dust and water) and a hole to be able to hook it up and leave it hanging, for example in the backpack.

It is also very fast, since it uses NVMe technology and has USB-C for data transfer. Password protected with AES 256-bit hardware encryption. By design and features, it is a very attractive "hard drive" for photographers, as they can move heavy photos and carry it along with their equipment in the bag.

SanDisk Extreme 1TB Portable SSD - NVMe, USB-C, Hardware Encrypted, up to 1050MB / s, Water and Dust Resistant

SanDisk Extreme 1TB Portable SSD - NVMe, USB-C, Hardware Encrypted, up to 1050MB / s, Water and Dust Resistant

RRP in MediaMarkt € 129 Today on Amazon for € 151.99

WD My Passport SSD 1TB

Wd My Passport Ssd 1tb

Very compact, with a premium design and USB-C to connect it to the most modern computers and equipment and compatible with the modern standard USB 3.2 Gen. 2 for more speed, this 1TB WD My Passport SSD storage drive (is available in 500GB to 1TB) is a very interesting model for those who are going to work moving files.

With password-enabled 256-bit AES hardware encryption and a casing that is resistant to bumps and drops of up to 2 meters (according to the manufacturer), you can carry it in your backpack with peace of mind.

WD My Passport SSD 1TB - NVMe Technology, USB-C, Read Speed ​​up to 1050MB / s & Write Speed ​​up to 1000MB / s - Gray

WD My Passport SSD 1TB - NVMe Technology, USB-C, Read Speed ​​up to 1050MB / s & Write Speed ​​up to 1000MB / s - Gray

Today on Amazon for € 151.99 RRP at MediaMarkt € 199 PVP at FNAC € 163

Cheap external hard drives for mobile use

Toshiba Canvio Basics

Tosh

Winner of our comparison of the best 2.5 "external HDD hard drive , the Toshiba Canvio Basics ( 39 euros ) stands out for three characteristics: a very competitive price, a recognized brand and its reliability.Available in different versions up to 4 TB It is a brutal solution in relation to cost benefits, with a basic but functional design, it has a USB 3.0 port.

Toshiba Canvio Basics 2.5-Inch USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive (1TB) Black

Toshiba Canvio Basics 2.5-Inch USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive (1TB) Black

Today on Amazon for € 41.97

WD Elements

Ele

Western Digital is a reference brand in the sector and its WD Elements is a great and reliable alternative for those looking for storage space at low cost. With a basic design, it is available in versions up to 5TB, at which point we will jump to the 3.5 "desktop version with power. Easy to use, you simply have to connect to your Windows computer (you can format for use on Mac) and use. With USB 3.0

WD Elements - 2TB Portable External Hard Drive with USB 3.0, Black

WD Elements - 2TB Portable External Hard Drive with USB 3.0, Black

RRP in MediaMarkt € 52 Today on Amazon for € 60.03 PVP in PcComponetes € 60

Seagate Expansion Portable

Be

This portable external hard drive has a textured casing that improves grip on surfaces or simply so that it does not slip through our fingers. Just connect to your Windows computer and drag files. It is also available from 500GB to 5TB to suit your needs. With included 18-inch USB 3.0 cable and two years of recovery software

Seagate Expansion Portable, 1TB, External Hard Drive, HDD, USB 3.0 for PC, Laptop and Mac, 2 Years Rescue Services (STEA1000400)

Seagate Expansion Portable, 1TB, External Hard Drive, HDD, USB 3.0 for PC, Laptop and Mac, 2 Years Rescue Services (STEA1000400)

PVP in PcComponetes € 50 Today on Amazon for € 51.49 RRP at MediaMarkt € 54

LaCie Rugged

Lacie Rugged Usb C

If you need to store lots of information to carry around and don't need the speed of SSDs, the LaCie Rugged is an attractive external HDD available with a USB-C or "lifetime" USB port (with USB 3.0). ).

Its casing is resistant to impacts, rain and pressure. It comes with password protection and two years of Rescue Data Recovery Service.

LaCie Rugged, USB-C, 2TB, External Hard Drive, Portable HDD, USB 3.0, Drive Resistant to Drops, Shock, Dust and Rain, for Mac and PC, 2 Years Rescue Services (STFR2000800)

LaCie Rugged, USB-C, 2TB, External Hard Drive, Portable HDD, USB 3.0, Drive Resistant to Drops, Shock, Dust and Rain, for Mac and PC, 2 Years Rescue Services (STFR2000800)

Price in Macníficos € 107 Today on Amazon for € 109.99 RRP on MediaMarkt € 139

Desktop hard drives

Seagate Expansion Desktop

Be

From 4TB to 12TB the Expansion option is desktop and is called Seagate Expansion Desktop. It keeps the case textured, but in this case makes the jump to 3.5 "and the power socket, but maintains the ease of use and configuration and the recovery software. With 18W power adapter and a USB 3.0 cable 45 cm

Seagate Expansion Desktop, 4 TB, External Hard Drive, HDD, USB 3.0 for PC, Laptop and Mac, 2 Years Rescue Services (STEB4000200)

Seagate Expansion Desktop, 4 TB, External Hard Drive, HDD, USB 3.0 for PC, Laptop and Mac, 2 Years Rescue Services (STEB4000200)

Today on Amazon for € 89.36 Price at El Corte Inglés € 104

Western Digital My Book

My book

From 3TB to 28TB and available in one or two bays in case we go to the more ambitious models, the Western Digital My Book ( 109 euros ) is one of WD's solutions for backups. Its desktop design is compact, to put aside on our desk, and pleasing to the eye. With the confidence of a reference brand and easy use and configuration. It has a USB 3.0 port, a classic suitable for both older computers and newer computers.

Western Digital My Book External Desktop Hard Drive 6 TB, 3.5 ", USB 3.0, Black

Western Digital My Book External Desktop Hard Drive 6 TB, 3.5 ", USB 3.0, Black

Today on Amazon for € 109.99 Price in Macníficos 149 €

WD Elements

Ele

Up to 18TB reaches the WD Elements ( 119 euros ) in desktop version, a highly reliable and easy-to-use desktop hard drive formatted for use with Windows. With USB 3.0

WD Elements - 6TB External Desktop Hard Drive with USB 3.0, Black

WD Elements - 6TB External Desktop Hard Drive with USB 3.0, Black

PVP at FNAC € 119 Today on Amazon for € 163.80
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The news Portable external hard drives for the new course: buying guide with recommendations for backups, mobile work and more was originally published in xiaomist.com by Eva Rodríguez de Luis .

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