1. Which type to go for?There are 4 common types of External Hard Disk Drive.
Picture 1 shows different types of hard drives (5.25", 3.5", 2.5" and 1.8"); Picture 2 is a direct comparison between a 3.5" External HDD and a 2.5" External HDD.
- 1.8" (Very new in the market, very small, extremely portable and extremely pricey)
- 2.5" (highly portable, powered by USB only, good value, available in 40GB, 60GB, 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 500GB)
- 3.5" (powered by external power source, cheap, available in 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 400GB, 500GB, 640GB, 750GB, 1TB, 1.5TB, 2TB)
- 5.25" (bulky, inconvenient, and may or may not be cheaper than 3.5")
**If you are unsure whether the item that you are looking at is 2.5" or 3.5", please make sure that you ask the seller because you don't want to be paying, say, $100 for a 250GB 3.5" External HDD when you can get a much much smaller and portable 250GB 2.5" External HDD for $105.
2. Which brand or design to opt for?Now, as soon as you have decided which type of External Hard Disk Drive to go for, it is time for you to decide which brand or design to opt for.
External HDD is made up of 2 parts:
- The core (Hard Disk)
- The case (Enclosure)
Hard drives come in different capacities just as Potato Chips come in different flavours. Tailor your purchase to your needs. Basically you have nothing to worry about the hard disk because there are very few fakes or low quality hard disks out there. Almost all hard disks are manufactured by the following reputable International companies: Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Hitachi etc and they all offer at least 3 years of warranty.
However, having a hard disk with 3 years warranty does not mean that you will definitely get at least 3 full years of good use out of it because the enclosure tends to fail before the hard disk does. That is probably why most enclosures come with only 1 year manufacturer warranty instead of 3 or 5 years. To make things worse, most of the enclosures in the market are produced by some manufacturers based in China or Hong Kong. They may have resellers in Australia, but they do not have their own offices or representatives/dealers here in the country. If something goes wrong with the enclosure, will you be able to claim the warranty and have the enclosure fixed or replaced? Hence, to protect yourself, it is vital that you choose the right enclosure. Any enclosure with easy access to warranty information and services is good and any enclosure with more than 1 year warranty is a bonus!
**A Samsung (or Western Digital or Seagate etc) External Hard Disk can mean 2 things. 1, Samsung Hard Disk with Samsung Enclosure. 2, Samsung Hard Disk with other branded or generic enclosure. Whichever it is, make sure that your enclosure has easy access to warranty information and service.
3. Which seller to buy from?This is not specific to External Hard Disk. It applies to any online purchase.
- Check the feedback score or feedback comments left by other customers. It tells you how reliable the seller is.
- If the seller has negative feedbacks, check how did he get those feedbacks. It gives you a bit of clue how responsible the seller is.
- Check the location of seller. It gives you a bit of idea as to how genuine the product might be.