Getting value for money
Everybody loves a bargain, and getting value for money for the best external hard drives on the market isn’t necessarily difficult to do, regardless of how much you’re looking to spend. My experience is that retailers (particularly online ones) run frequent discounts on all types of models across all price ranges. Researching the best deals around can be time consuming, so check back to the site over time as I’ll keep it updated with the latest deals.
Things are changing all the time as manufacturers bring out new models using improved technology, but as a rule of thumb, you’re probably getting a great deal if you’re paying less than £65 for a 500GB drive, less than £80 for a 750GB drive or £90 for a 1TB drive (taking into account other factors such as data transfer speeds, portability, brand name, etc). As I say, these are just a guide at time of writing, and standard prices for drives will invariably continue to fall in line with component costs, emergence of new technologies, release of new models, etc.
Another thing to look out for when buying an external hard drive is what you get in addition to the drive you buy – many manufacturers offer free pre-installed back-up software, as well as cables, carrying cases, etc. Most importantly of all, keep an eye on what manufacturers warranty is offered for the drives you’re researching – most offer 2 or 3 years, with some going up to 5 years.
With all this in mind, I share with you below my views on some of the best value for money external hard drives your hard earned cash can get you at the time of writing, across 3 categories of budget – low cost, mid range and top end.
Low Cost (less than £65):
The guys at Toshiba haven’t come up with the catchiest of names for this drive, but at just under £65 at time of writing, what it lacks in title it certainly makes up for in value for money! It’s a USB 3.0 enabled drive, so files are transferred at SuperSpeed – up to 5 Gbps, but also backwards compatible with any devices using USB 2.0. Usefully too, it’s a plug and play drive so no need for external power cables, and comes preloaded with backup software (Nero BackItUp & Burn Essentials). Comes in 4 colours (blue, orange, green, black) and is light and small enough to slip into a laptop bag or handbag. Read more >>>
Mid Range (£65 – £120):
One of the best mid range models on the market is the Buffalo DriveStation (1.0TB, USB2.0 model), which can be snapped up as little as £70 on some websites. If it’s simplicity you want, this model is about as straightforward as you can get, connecting to your computer via USB port for data transfer and formatted ready to use out of the box. It’s also very quiet with no internal fan, and seems to maintain a cool temperature even when in heavy use. Note, though, that this drive is intended for desktop use rather than portability – it’s a bit of a lump and needs to be plugged into the mains to run. Read more >>>
If you’ve got a little more to spend, you might want to invest in the WD My Passport Essential SE (1TB, USB 3.0/2.0 model). Tends to be priced at around £100 (at time of writing) and ticks all the boxes for size, speed of transfer (USB 3.0, with USB 2.0 compatibility), portability (USB powered and just 200g in weight) and ease of use (you can set it up to run continuously once installed, without having to prompt back up). It also comes in a variety of colours (metallic blue, metallic red, silver, midnight black), which is a nice touch, given that most models are only available in the ubiquitous black. One thing to note is that it comes with in-built back-up software which hasn’t had the most glowing of reviews, but you don’t have to use it, others such as Microsoft’s SyncToy 2.1 (free to download) seem to work just as well. (Note: at time of update, the 500GB model of this drive is available for nearly half price on amazon.co.uk, a steal!) Read more >>>
Top end (£120 and up):
This drive from Samsung normally retails at £150 but at time of writing is available on amazon.co.uk for only £75, so a massive 50% off which is great value for money! As it says on the box, it’s ultraslim and weighs in at just under 200g, which is good going for a 1TB drive and means you can take it out and about with you without much hassle. It has an auto backup function, and comes with pre-installed backup software, as well as a freebie travel case. It does, however, only have USB 2.0, so transfer speeds are slower than the WD model above, at around just 500 Mbps. Read more >>>
I’ve already reviewed the LaCie P’9230 drive in Best for… style, so won’t dwell too much on this here, just to say that at time of writing this drive is currently being offered on amazon.co.uk at a massive £142 discount (53%) to its usual list price of a whopping £266.99! It’s a desktop drive rather than a portable one, so comes with an external power source, but uses USB 3.0 for incredibly quick data transfer. Read more >>>
With manufacturers regularly bringing out new models and retailers running frequent discounts, you should always be able to find value for money when looking to buy the best external hard drives available.
Tagged: Best For Value For Money, Buffalo DriveStation, external hard drive, featured, LaCie P'9230 2TB, Samsung S2 USB 2.0 1TB Ultraslim, Toshiba, Toshiba PA4272E-1HE0 Store Partner (500GB), Value For Money, WD My Passport Essential SE
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