Desktop Hard Drives

PC Advisor reviews the 10 best external hard drives you can buy in the UK in 2015.

So you need some additional storage, and you don't want to physically add an internal hard drive or SSD to your PC or laptop. The benefits of external storage are many - you can address these drives from multiple devices, you can simply move them from room to room, and you don't have to get involved in any messy upgrades. If portability is the key thing here, we recommend you read our sister article: The 10 best portable hard drives. It's also possible that your needs could be met via the virtual storage in the so-called 'cloud' (that's the internet to you and me). That being the case we have another article for you: Top 20 cloud storage services.

However, here we're looking at external hard drives, sometimes known as desktop hard drives. These are the type of device that you can plug in to your PC or laptop, and sit on the desk offering an additional hard drive that your computer can access. Key things to look out for include connevtivity - ideally you want USB 3.0 or even Thunderbolt in order that the connection speeds aren't too slow. The interface of any external hard drive is unlikely to be as quick as will be an internal SATA connection, so every second counts here.

Also look for good build quality. You don't want to back up your PC to a device that is going to break down. And if possible check for power consumption and noise when working. These will become important factors over time.

Finally, you may be able to get decent added extras such as backup software or  encryption for security. These are important only if they are of value to you - don't be upsold. And check that the dimensions - including the power supply - are going to fit into your desk space.

10 best external hard drives 2015 UK

1. Axtremex Micro SSD

Axtremex Micro SSD
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 5 August 13
  • RRP: £130 for 32GB,

The Micro SSD is a long-awaited storage device – a tiny, portable flash-based drive that can approach the kind of performance promised by the USB 3.0 standard, high speed that’s been waiting to be released from modern flash memory. Setup and operation is tricky in Windows, affected by choice of OS version and motherboards, and will usually require additional drivers. Operation in OS X was flawless, making this an easy recommendation for Mac users especially.

Read our Axtremex Micro SSD review.

2. WD My Cloud

WD My Cloud
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 7 October 13
  • RRP: £134 inc. VAT

If you need storage that's available from just about everywhere, and you don't want to rely on a third-party cloud service to provide it, WD's My Cloud is a brilliant solution.

Read our WD My Cloud review.

3. WD My Passport Edge for Mac 500GB

WD My Passport Edge for Mac 500GB
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 20 November 12
  • RRP: £69.99 inc VAT

The WD My Passport Edge for Mac 500GB is a fast and stylish portable drive, embued with category-defining build quality and attractively slim dimensions. This covetable piece of storage technology is also competitively priced given its performance and supreme finish.

Read our WD My Passport Edge for Mac 500GB review.

4. Synology DS213 DiskStation

Synology DS213 DiskStation
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 9 April 13
  • RRP: £494.05 inc VAT

If there’s a flaw, it’s the DiskStation’s case. Beautifully designed as it is, it’s plastic and - though solid and robust for the most part - it feels thin in places. The hum of twin drives conducts noisily through the unit. That’s not a terrible thing by any means - perhaps we’ve been spoiled by the industrial build quality of some of the other enclosures in the review. Overall, it’s a very powerful and holistically well designed piece of kit.

Read our Synology DS213 DiskStation review.

5. G-Technology G-DRIVE 4TB

G-Technology G-DRIVE 4TB
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 13 June 13
  • RRP: £250 inc VAT

The addition of USB 3.0 to the G-Technology G-DRIVE is very welcome. Previously the only way to match the performance of the disk was through eSATA, almost entirely limited to Windows systems. Now both Windows PC and Apple Macs can take advantage of the high-performace Hitachi disks inside, in a robust and stylish chassis.

Read our G-Technology G-DRIVE 4TB review.

6. My Book VelociRaptor Duo

My Book VelociRaptor Duo
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 26 September 12
  • RRP: £679 inc. VAT

If you have the need for a high performance drive, and are willing to drop £679 on 2TB, then the My Book VelociRaptor Duo is a great choice. In our tests, this drive more than exceeded our expectations, posting faster transfer speeds than most drives we've seen. Its myriad of other features made it incredibly easy to set up and use, and with two 10,000-rpm drive mechanisms and two Thunderbolt ports, this drive is the stuff media professionals dreams are made of.

Read our My Book VelociRaptor Duo review.

7. G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt 8TB

G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt 8TB
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 27 April 12
  • RRP: £720 inc VAT

The more time we spent testing this unit, the more respect we had for its incredible performance. Relatively quiet in use, the G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt nevertheless proved to be a powerhouse in both capacity and performance. With that huge 8TB of storage on offer, accessible at real-world speeds consistently exceeding 300 MBps, the G-RAID offers size and speed that should satisfy any media professional or Mac power user.

Read our G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt 8TB review.

8. Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 240GB SSD

Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 240GB SSD
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 20 December 11
  • RRP: £750 inc. VAT

The Little Big Disk Thunderbolt SSD isn't without its flaws. Its price will keep it out of the reach of most users – though it's well worth the cost if you can stretch to it – and while Thunderbolt can certainly deliver power, the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt SSD has to be plugged into the mains. Even so, its blistering performance alone makes it a winner.

Read our Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 240GB SSD review.

9. Toshiba Stor.E Basics 2 TB

Toshiba Stor.E Basics 2 TB
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 10 July 13
  • RRP: £100 inc VAT

The Toshiba Stor.E Basics 2 TB is a straightforward little black box that can take care of portable bulk storage for not a lot of cash.

Read our Toshiba Stor.E Basics 2 TB review.

10. Patriot Aero

Patriot Aero
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 4 July 13
  • RRP: £160 inc. VAT

Priced at around £160 inc VAT, the 1TB version of the Aero (500GB and driveless versions are also available) competes directly opposite the Corsair Voyager Air, and it's more expensive than the Seagate Wireless Plus. The Aero is a good product. It just happens to be up against stiff competition.

Read our Patriot Aero review.