10 best external hard drives

After some additional storage space on your computer? IndyBest finds kit to grow your device’s capabilities

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The Independent Online

If you have too many photos, films and songs to store on your computer, or want somewhere to back them all up to, external hard drives can offer extra space without ripping your computer apart.

They come in a range of storage sizes, and in a variety of different looks. Some also offer extra functionality, such as wireless compatibility or the ability to share over the internet. Whether you're after something big or small, clever or simple, we've picked through the best external hard drives.

{1} Seagate Seven (500GB): £119.99, amazon.co.uk



It’s rare that external hard drives can be described as beautiful, but this one can. It’s the slimmest in the world and made of posh steel. Perhaps not as big or high-performance as other drives at this price – but when it looks this cool you might not care.

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{2} Seagate Backup Plus Fast 4TB: £179.99, amazon.co.uk



If you need a lot of space – for HD video editing, for instance – this has it. Otherwise it’s fairly practical, though it does come with Seagate’s seamless software for backing up your computer.

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{3} Diskashur DT (1TB): £179, iStorage (other sizes available, up to 6TB)



If you’re concerned about privacy, this is just the thing. It’s encypted and unlocked with a built-in keypad, keeping your data secure.

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{4} Seagate Wireless (500GB): £99.70, ebuyer.com



In part, this is just a normal hard drive. But you can access whatever’s stored on it through a wireless connection – meaning, for example, that you can do so from your phone. Great for travelling and storing films.

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{5} LaCie Rugged (1TB): £80, amazon.co.uk



Rugged by name and by nature, this drive still works when dropped, rained on and even – according to the company – driven over. (We didn’t put that claim to the test.) It’s also a fast and big hard drive, perfect for taking on the go.

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{6} Synology DiskStation (2TB): £276.93, amazon.co.uk (other sizes and disk options available)



Network attached storage allows you to connect your hard drives to the internet, and makes them accessible from anywhere. The DiskStation is a great way of getting that. You can buy either an empty enclosure and stuff it with your own disks, or get one with them already installed.

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{7} G drive EV: £99.95, store.apple.com



This is a very good piece of kit on its own – but becomes great when paired with other drives in the company’s dock. Using that you can switch drives out quickly and easily.

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{8} Apple Time Capsule (2TB): £249, store.apple.com (also comes in 3TB version)



More expensive than many similar drives – but as with much Apple stuff, that gets you easy operation and excellent customer service. Easy to set up and use, this is a router as well.

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{9} Samsung M3 (1TB): £65.99, amazon.co.uk (comes in different 500GB, 1TB and 1.5TB)



Portable, with decent storage and well-priced, this is a straightforward way to get more space for your computer. It doesn’t have the tricks or fancy looks of some other hard drives – but if you don’t need them, this will do the job.

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{10} Leef iBridge (16GB): £49.99, amazon.co.uk (alternative sizes, and models for other phones available)



Most external hard drives are for computers – but one of the most annoying places to run out of space is your phone. This adds extra storage space through a little USB hard drive that clips onto the back of your mobile.

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If you're just after space, and don't want to pay too much for it, the Samsung M3 offers just the thing. But if you're looking for something a bit more clever, then a NAS storage like the DiskStation gives you a range of options.

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