When it comes to storing large amounts of data, hard disks are often used – they are simply much cheaper than SSDs: While an external 4 TB SSD costs significantly more than 500 euros, an external hard drive of the same size can be used for very little over 100 euros over the counter.
We selected three models for this test: Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable, Toshiba Canvio Advance and WD My Passport, each with 4 TB storage capacity for better comparability. These are the cheapest models from the respective manufacturers. Some other manufacturers also offer mobile hard drives, but we have left them out for two reasons. On the one hand, there is a hard drive from Seagate, Toshiba or WD in there anyway – there are no other hard drive manufacturers anymore – which should hardly be faster in another USB housing. Secondly, the models from other manufacturers are significantly more expensive than our test samples. However, reaching for a mobile hard drive from another manufacturer can make sense, for example because it matches the design of the existing devices or comes in a particularly robust housing.
All three manufacturers offer 3.5-inch drives for desktop PCs and servers as well as 2.5-inch hard drives for mobile operation. These survive a somewhat harder treatment and work much more economically; the power supply via a USB socket is sufficient for operation. This makes them simply more practical for mobile use, because you don't have to carry a power adapter or look for a socket.
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