The 6 best external hard drives for data backup

Important data should be archived. At least one backup copy should be on an external hard drive. atechbook presents the best models.

atechbook knows the market: The prices of external hard drives with the same storage capacity vary greatly among different manufacturers. Therefore, our editorial team reveals what you should pay special attention to and presents six of the best external hard drives for reliable data backup and fast data transfer.

What makes a good external hard drive?

Security is one of the most important keywords when it comes to external hard drives, because hacking and data loss can have serious consequences not only in professional but also in private environments. Depending on the application context, the transfer speed of the external data carriers also requires special attention. If the integrated software contains additional protection features and enables continuous, simple data transfer, the optimal hard drive is quickly found. All the better if it is available at an affordable price.

500 GB: Maxtor M3 Portable

A practical external hard drive in an attractive design for smaller storage needs – that’s the Maxtor M3 Portable. The sturdy plastic case and interface are also suitable for frequent use in everyday life. Users also praise the integrated software. For example, AutoBackup backs up the data independently, i.e. without the user having to do anything. An additional memory buffer guarantees that the stored data is checked in time and deleted if necessary. The speed of both reading and saving data is hard to beat.

Features

Maxtor M3 Portable
Perduct type USB hard disk
Capacity in GB 500 GB
Connectivity: Bus SATA
Interface USB 3.0
Transfer rate 5 Gbit/s
Form factor 2.5 inch
Features LED power light, AutoBackup, memory buffer 8 MB
Power supply Via USB port
Maximum rotations 7.200 rpm
Dimensions (W × H × D) 82 × 112 × 17.5mm
Weight 141g
Case material Plastic
Accessories USB 3.0 cable

Advantages and disadvantages

Rating at idealo: Note 1,0 | 5 of 5 stars

Per

  • + Excellent transfer rate
  • + Attractive design
  • + Practical integrated software
  • + Relatively low price

Contra

  • – USB cable rather short

1 TB: Buffalo DriveStation Velocity

The manufacturer Buffalo specializes in data media with above-average speed. The Buffalo DriveStation Velocity external hard drive is a good example of its innovative spirit. The TurboPC EX function ensures faster data transfer than usual. The SuperEco automatic power-off function saves power. In addition, the integrated software and robust hardware are well matched to ensure maximum security. Although the external hard drive is not suitable for transport due to its weight, it will last all the longer. This is because the solid case and the encryption sustainably protect all data. Thus, it is an optimal model for the office or home office to secure private data on shared computers.

Features

Buffalo DriveStation Velocity
Perduct type USB hard disk
Capacity in TB 1 TB
Connectivity: Bus SATA
Interface USB 3.0
Transfer rate 5 Gbit/s
Form factor 3.5 inch
Features TurboPC EX function for faster data transfer, backup utility, automatic power off function SuperEco
Power supply About external power supply
Maximum rotations 7.200 rpm
Encryption 256bit AES
Dimensions (W × H × D) 189 × 123 × 39mm
Weight 950g

Advantages and disadvantages

Rating at idealo: Note 1,0 | 5 of 5 stars

Per

  • + Highspeed performance
  • + Secure encryption
  • + Robust case
  • + 2 years manufacturer warranty

Contra

  • – Rather unsuitable for transport

1 TB: Western Digital My Passport Ultra

Chic design of the metal housing in PC look, fast data transfer and maximum protection – the external hard drive Western Digital My Passport Ultra offers all this in one storage solution. The integrated WD backup software ensures that data can be restored flawlessly if necessary: If desired, the backup is automatically created hourly, daily or monthly. The manufacturer’s own WD Discovery feature is also one of the advantages of this model, which ensures the import and management of social media and cloud storage. Equally handy are password protection and compatibility with the Xbox and PlayStation 4. The external hard drive is available in a range of storage capacities from 1 to 5 TB.

Features

Western Digital My Passport Ultra
Perduct type USB hard disk
Capacity in TB 1 TB, available from 1-5 TB
Connectivity: Bus SATA III (SATA 600)
Interface USB 3.0
Transfer rate 5 Gbit/s
Form factor 2.5 inch
Features LED operating light, automatic backups, password protection, compatibility with Xbox and PS4
Power supply Via USB port
Maximum rotations 5,400 rpm
Encryption 256bit AES
Dimensions (W × H × D) 81.6 × 110 × 12.8mm
Weight 130g
Case material Metal
Accessories USB 3.0 Type-C cable

Advantages and disadvantages

Rating at idealo: Note 1,1 | 5 of 5 stars

Per

  • + Relatively fast data transfer
  • + Additional password protection
  • + Compatible with Xbox and PS4
  • + 3 year manufacturer warranty

Contra

  • – Software partly outdated, requires updates
  • – USB port wears out quickly / quickly becomes loose

1 TB: Verbatim Fingerprint Secure

Great storage performance in a lightweight: the compact Verbatim Fingerprint Secure external hard drive is one of the storage devices that guarantee the highest possible data security thanks to the fingerprint scanner and backup software. Up to eight users can be authorized via fingerprint.

The AES-256 encryption and excellent data transfer performance recently earned this gadget well-deserved top rankings on relevant review portals. The atechbook editorial team is also fully convinced by this compact portable USB hard drive and the unbeatable price-performance ratio.

Features

Verbatim Fingerprint Secure
Perduct type USB hard disk
Capacity in TB 1 TB
Connectivity: Bus SATA III (SATA 600)
Interface USB 3.0
Transfer rate 5 Gbit/s
Form factor 2.5 inch
Features LED power light, fingerprint scanner, Nero backup software
Power supply Via USB port
Maximum rotations n/a
Encryption 256bit AES
Dimensions (W × H × D) 81 × 126 × 16.5mm
Weight 156g
Case material Plastic, Aluminium
Accessories USB A-C adapter, USB 3.0 cable

Advantages and disadvantages

Rating at idealo: Score 1.3 | 4.5 out of 5 stars

Per

  • + Very good price-performance ratio
  • + More security thanks to fingerprint scanner
  • + Excellent data transfer

Contra

  • – Bugs possible with the integrated software

2 TB: Toshiba Canvio Gaming

Toshiba is known for high-performance external hard drives for the small budget. The storage device, which is optimized for storing games, also convinces with its price and fast data transfer. The Toshiba Canvio Gaming hard drive is the absolute insider tip for gaming fans, who can store up to 50 latest game releases on 2 TB according to the manufacturer. The design is simple, the focus is mainly on functionality – handy design, accessible software and a practical always-on mode, thanks to which the hard drive starts immediately during the next gaming session. The hard drive is also available with storage capacities from 1 to 4 TB: for creating a select gaming library according to your own preferences.

Features

Toshiba Canvio Gaming
Perduct type USB hard disk
Capacity in TB 2 TB, available from 1-4 TB
Connectivity: Bus SATA III (SATA 600)
Interface USB 3.0
Transfer rate 5 Gbit/s
Form factor 2.5 inch
Features Compatibility with PlayStation / Xbox
Power supply Via USB port
Dimensions (W × H × D) 80 × 111 × 13.5mm
Weight 149g
Case material Plastic
Accessories USB 3.0 cable

Advantages and disadvantages

Rating at idealo: Note 1,0 | 5 of 5 stars

Per

  • + Handy design
  • + Solid data transfer performance
  • + Optimized for storing games and videos

Contra

  • – No hardware encryption

4 TB: Toshiba Canvio Flex

A versatile talent: The Toshiba Canvio Flex external hard drive is compatible with Macs and Windows PCs as well as tablets and offers a brilliant performance in data transfer across devices. It offers secure data transfer without reformatting when moving from one device to another. For those who travel a lot and need to have their data at hand at all times – this portable storage solution is an affordable recommendation. It is also optionally available with a smaller storage capacity of 1 TB or 2 TB. Thanks to the cables included in the scope of delivery, the connection succeeds immediately. The design is simple and has a restrained metallic look.

Features

Toshiba Canvio Flex
Perduct type USB hard disk
Capacity in TB 4 TB, also available in 1-2 TB
Connectivity: Bus SATA III (SATA 600)
Interface USB 3.0
Transfer rate 5 Gbit/s
Form factor 2.5 inch
Power supply Via USB port
Dimensions (W × H × D) 80 × 111 × 19.5mm
Weight 210g
Case material Plastic
Accessories USB 3.0 cable, USB 3.0 Type-C cable

Advantages and disadvantages

Rating at idealo: Note 1,1 | 5 of 5 stars

Per

  • + Enormous storage capacity
  • + Transfer rates on a very high level
  • + Favorable price
  • + 3 year manufacturer warranty

Contra

  • – No hardware encryption
  • – Occurrence of frequent bugs possible

Conclusion

In terms of price-performance ratio, atechbook was particularly impressed by the Western Digital My Passport Ultra external hard drive. It’s true that Toshiba’s storage devices are also inexpensive and have excellent transfer speeds. However, with the sporadically occurring software bugs, the manufacturer should strive for a more reliable solution in the future that is on the same high level as the other Toshiba performances. The Maxtor M3 Portable is recommended for those looking for an inexpensive entry-level model. If the highest possible data security is required, then the Verbatim Fingerprint Secure or the Buffalo DriveStation Velocity is a good choice.

More articles worth knowing about external data backup

  • How to turn an old hard drive into an external hard drive
  • What you need to consider when erasing an SSD hard drive
  • That’s why the memory of a hard disk is always smaller than stated

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