Buying guide 2022: External hard drives & SSDs

Whether as an extension of the existing storage space or as a backup solution for your personal data – the best medium for this is an external hard drive or SSD. We tell you what to look for when buying.

With external HDDs – here a SATA drive is usually inserted in a USB housing – a distinction is still made between models in 2.5 and 3.5 inch format. The advantage of the smaller versions: They are particularly mobile, also work quietly and mostly energy-conscious. And with capacities of currently up to 5 TB, such as the

Seagate One Touch HDD

for 100 euros, they offer plenty of space for your data. External 3.5-inch disks, on the other hand, are ideally suited for stationary use and offer higher capacities – currently up to 18 TB like that

Western Digital Elements Desktop

for about 410 euros. However, they need their own power supply and are accordingly more power-hungry and louder in operation than their external 2.5-inch colleagues.

External SSDs, which are currently available with up to 2 TB, usually have a SATA III storage module in 2.5-inch format built into them. More expensive external SSD like that

Sandisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD

On the other hand, which costs around 300 euros with 2 TB capacity, are based on the faster PCI Express standard and are connected internally via NVMe. Accordingly, you can achieve sequential data rates of 1 to 2 GB / s on average, in contrast to the approximately 600 MB / s of the SATA models.

USB connection in many variations is particularly confusing with USB-C

With an external HDD or SSD, pay close attention to the USB port. Especially with USB 3.2, a distinction must be made between Gen1 (5 GBit / s), Gen2 (10 GBit / s) and Gen 2×2 (20 GBit / s). Models with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 are about that

Seagate Firecuda Gaming SSD

(from 135 euros) and the

Black P50 Game Drive SSD

from Western Digital, which is available from 110 euros.

As far as the functionality of an external hard drive or SSD is concerned, integrated encryption can be used as with the

MyPassport models

Western Digital from 75 euros can be helpful. Even secure fingerprint access, like the

Verbatim Executive Fingerprint Secure Hard Drive

offers from 65 euros, protects your data. The G-Technology

Armorlock NVMe SSD

even offers 256-bit hardware encryption and uses the biometric method of your smartphone for access – so you don’t need a separate password here. But the model with 2 TB also costs a proud 410 euros.

If you like it particularly fast, you can use an NVMe SSD with a Thunderbolt 3 connection such as the Samsung Portable SSD X5. Cost: 490 euros for two TB.


If you like it particularly fast, you can use an NVMe SSD with a Thunderbolt 3 connection such as the Samsung Portable SSD X5. Cost: 490 euros for two TB.

© Samsung

See also:

Buyer’s guide 2022: The best smartphones

Buyer’s guide 2022: The best smartwatches

Buyer’s guide 2022: The best headphones

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