A New File System

Here's CNET's Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy , which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion. Don't show this again. Review Sections Review Prices Specs. No bundled software or protection feature Unlike the Seagate Backup Plus family, such as the Backup Plus Fast , that boasts helpful features and useful backup software, the Seagate Expansion doesn't comes with anything, other than the program that facilitates the registration. Performance Considering the fact it hosts a low-power internal drive, the Seagate Expansion's performance is a nice surprise and more than makes up for its lacks of features.

Samsung Portable T1. Brinell Drive SSD. Segate Backup Plus Desktop. Seagate Expansion. Toshiba Canvio Slim II.


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As you might have guessed, the answer is more tradeoffs. Almost every Mac laptop sold today comes with USB Type-C ports that support Thunderbolt 3, but other than a headphone jack, they are the only connectivity options available, which means you'll need an adapter to plug in any device that doesn't have a USB Type-C cable.

Unfortunately, you won't find many Thunderbolt 3-compatible drives on the market currently. Even some Mac-specific drives are still sold with USB 3.

Western Digital WD My Book Studio Mac External Hard Drive Review 1TB 2TB or 3TB USB 3.0

Moreover, the Thunderbolt 3 drives you can buy are constrained by the maximum throughput of the drive itself, rather than the Thunderbolt 3 interface. This means that for now, it's best to include Thunderbolt 3 support in your buying decision only if you're concerned about futureproofing. Drives intended for PCs sometimes come bundled with software that will automatically back up your files to the drive when it's connected, but such software isn't really a consideration for Mac users, who already have an excellent built-in backup option in the form of Time Machine.

Knowledge Base

The first time you plug in an external drive, Time Machine will ask if you want to use it as a backup drive. While you can customize backup options in System Preferences, such as asking Time Machine to exclude certain folders, there's no action required on your part if you're happy with the default settings.

The next time you plug in your drive, Time Machine will automatically set to work creating a backup. Unless your drive is never going to leave your home or office, you should also consider its physical durability. Rugged, waterproof drives are a good option not just for surfers and BMX riders, as their marketing seems to suggest, but also for people who are carrying their drives to and from school or work, where they might occasionally get spilled on or dropped on the floor.

12 Best External Hard Drives

Check out our favorite rugged drives. Finally, you might want to consider how the drive will look when it's plugged into your Mac. Some drives come in a variety of colors. Many others feature copious amounts of aluminum and industrial-chic styling to match the design cues of your MacBook or iMac. We've selected a few of our favorite drives for Macs below; for more, check out our main list of best hard drives.

You can also read our full list of hard drive reviews , as well as our top SSDs. Certified waterproof and dustproof. Comes with USB 3. Cons: Warranty limited to two years. SSD option is still unreleased. Pros: Comes in a variety of large capacities. Three-year warranty. Cons: Requires external power adapter. Pros: Slick, faceted design. Solid-feeling aluminum enclosure. Useful LaCie Toolkit software handles backup and restore, as well as mirroring. On-the-mark performance. Cons: A little hefty. Toolkit utility requires a download. It's geared to macOS users, but it will please anyone with an eye for style in their gadgets.

Pros: Fabric-covered enclosure.

Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External Hard Drive Review – Design & Specification

Small and light. Data protected by password and AES hardware encryption. Cons: Fabric cover a bit slippery to grip. Seagate Toolkit a separate download. Plus, a fabric coat adds appeal. Pros: Excellent performance. Includes USB 3. Android-, Mac-, and Windows-compatible. Cons: While a comparable good per-gigabyte value, the drive itself is expensive. Pros: Excellent connectivity options and transfer speeds. Solid build quality and attractive aluminum finish.

Easy disassembly.


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Cooling fan can be disabled. No software required for Macs. Hardware RAID controller. Cons: Expensive. Only 27W of power delivery. Pros: Relatively low cost per gigabyte. Drive is easily removable from its enclosure.

Expansion Portable Hard Drives

Thunderbolt 3 support. Cons: Included Thunderbolt 3 cable is short. Pros: Internal power supply. Little to no setup required. Supports daisy-chaining other Thunderbolt 3 devices. Lightning-quick file transfer times. Cons: Does not boast class-leading throughput.


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Multiple capacity options. Sleek design. No USB support. Difficult to connect to Windows PCs.