hard drive
A reliable external hard drive can serve as an efficient way to store all your pictures and videos safely. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Do you want your pictures and videos at your fingertips, rather than up in the cloud? Or do you need more space for your video game collection?

Today’s external hard drives are a great solution. With a whole range of storage capacities and prices, they are reliable and safe – perfect for any home.

We spoke with Shahbaz Khan, a systems administrator for a Canadian software company, with over 10 years of experience in the information technology (IT) industry. He explained the difference between hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs), and which type would work best for your specific needs. Scroll down to read his advice.

In our curated list, we share only the best high-capacity HDD devices, with storage capacity of 4TB and higher, to ensure you always have space for your growing digital library. For instant access to smaller files, check out our selection of the best 1TB flash drives that can even connect to your smartphone. Get these devices as early as tomorrow with Amazon Prime.

1. Best Overall: Western Digital Book 8TB Desktop Hard Drive


  • Password-protected
  • Scheduled back-up software
  • Doesn't overheat
  • Includes two USB cables


  • Bulky
  • Works better with Windows

Don’t worry about losing valuable data anymore, with this massive 8TB capacity hard drive. If you work with a lot of videos and pictures, or need a storage facility for your home office, this desktop hard drive will serve you well. Schedule full system back-ups using the Acronis True Image WD Edition software. It’s compatible with Windows and Mac, and has password protection. The hard drive is known for its durability, shock tolerance and long-term reliability, and it’s easy on the eyes, too. With over 7,000 4.5-star reviews, the device gets top marks from reviewers, for its rapid transfer speed.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh58.25 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The supplier offers a three-year limited warranty.

2. Best NAS Hard Drive: Seagate IronWolf Pro 18TB NAS Internal Hard Drive 


  • High storage capacity
  • Sufficiently fast
  • Quiet device
  • Warranty and data recovery support included


  • Expensive

Built to run for weeks on end, network-attached storage (NAS) devices can store and share data for multiple computers, and be accessed remotely. Seagate’s IronWolf Pro is a strong example of this. Its massive 18TB capacity and 300TB/year user workload rate makes it a beast in terms of performance. Reviewers say installation is quick, and it’s a quiet device for something that’s operational 24/7. People who work in media and IT, and require large storage space for their video files or data applications, find this hard drive to be an excellent solution. Small- and medium-sized businesses will also find Seagate’s NAS device to be particularly useful.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh150.83 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer provides five-year limited product warranty, and three-year rescue data recovery services.

3. Best Portable Drive for Mac: WD 5TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive for Mac, Blue


  • Slim and lightweight at 209 grams
  • Password-protected
  • Automatic scheduled back-ups with Apple's Time Machine
  • Backs up social media posts
  • Comes with USB-C and USB-A cables


  • Can be slow in transferring speeds

Western Digital’s (WD) My Passport drive for Mac is exactly as you would expect – slim, stylish and portable. With a storage capacity of up to 5TB, you can ensure all your content on your Mac device, from photos and videos to music and documents, never gets lost. The drive works seamlessly with Apple's Time Machine software that can be set to automatically back up important files from your system, and its encrypted password protection system ensures no one can use it without your permission. You can even connect directly to social networks through the WD Discovery software, and organise life’s best moments.

4. Best for Durability: LaCie Rugged Mini 5TB Portable Hard Drive 


  • Sturdy and drop-resistant
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows
  • Automatic back-up software included
  • Comes with one-month membership to Adobe Creative Cloud apps


  • Transfer speed may drop as used storage space increases, reviewers say

With a 5TB capacity, the LaCie Rugged Mini is a small but mighty USB 3.0 portable hard drive. The device is perfect for busy creatives – it slips into their bags easily, and offers premium protection for photos and video footage. The Rugged Mini is compatible with both Mac and Windows, offers fast transfer speeds of up to 130Mbps, and its LaCie Toolkit provides customisable back-up. The best part, however, is its durability. It’s shock-, rain- and drop-resistant up to 1.2m when it’s non-operational, and it has a pressure resistance of up to 1,000kg – so even if a car rolls over it, your data is likely to be safe. Photographers, content creators and graphic designers in the comments appreciate that they get a month’s free access to Adobe Creative Cloud and all its related apps, like Photoshop and Premiere Pro. However, some note that the transfer speed drops to about 60Mbps once you start to use up storage space.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh52.92 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer provides a two-year limited warranty.

5. Best Budget: Toshiba 4TB Canvio Advance Portable Hard Drive


  • Comes in a range of colours - white, black, red and green
  • Free automatic back-up and password protection software for Windows
  • Lightweight and slim
  • Compatible with both Mac and Windows; needs reformatting for Mac computers


  • Free software downloads for Windows users only

As stylish as it looks, this Toshiba hard drive is a high-performance solution for all your storage needs. Available in four different colours (white, red, green and black), the device is powered by USB 3.2 Gen 1 technology – so it’s much faster than USB 3.0, but still compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0 devices. With its storage backup software and user-friendly interface, backing up content is easy, and with Toshiba Storage Security and password protection, you can always be assured your data is safe.

6. Best Gaming Hard Drive: Western Digital Black 8TB P10 Gaming Hard Drive


  • Two USB Type-A charging ports for gaming gear and accessories
  • Stores more than 200 games (36GB per game)
  • Rugged design to match gaming set-up
  • Thermal control keeps drive from overheating


  • Expensive

Give your video game console or PC a performance-enhancing tool – this top-tier external hard drive is built specifically for gamers who are looking to save their game library in a portable device. The WD P10’s 8TB hard drive can save more than 200 games, so you never have to choose which to save and which to delete, when you need to make room for new games and record your best gameplays. Its portability and durability give you the ability to take your library with you anywhere. You can even charge your gaming accessories and gear using the two USB-A ports on the drive. With optimised speed boosts and expansion, it’s the perfect Game Drive to suit your needs.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh70.17 for 12 months with select banks.

7. Best External Hard Drive for PlayStation: Seagate 4TB Game Drive 


  • Space for over 100 PlayStation games
  • Plug-and-play convenience for PS4 console
  • Palm-sized and portable
  • Plays PS4 titles on PS5


  • Doesn't store PS5 games

Another great option for video game storage, this Seagate Game Drive can make room for more than 100 titles, with 4TB of space. This expansion drive is compatible with PlayStation 4, PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro, but reviews say it stores PS5 games as well. The device delivers no-lag performance and is easy to intall, plug in and play. With USB 3.0 connectivity, you don’t need a power cable to connect with it. The best part? It’s small and sleek, so it’s travel ready, meaning you never have to be away from your games ever again.

What is the difference between hard disk drives and SSDs?

hard drive
Since hard drives have many moving parts, they tend to be more fragile than SSDs. Image Credit: Unsplash/Vincent Botta

When it comes to storing data, you have two options – hard disk drives and solid-state drives. SSDs are a newer form of technology, where information is stored within blocks of integrated circuits. They use silicon’s physical and chemical properties, in order to create more storage volume, better speed and higher efficiency.

Mechanical hard disk drives, on the other hand, may seem a relic of the past, but there are still many areas of our lives in which, they offer value. These devices have a completely different way of functioning, compared to SSDs.

Khan explains: “Hard drives have spinning discs inside them, and have several mechanical components, so they are a bit delicate. If you accidentally drop your hard drive, for instance, it’s likely going to break. SSDs don’t have moving parts, so they’re less likely to get damaged. Hard drives are also slower than SSDs, with slower transfer speeds.”

Who should use a hard disk drive?

So, if SSDs are fast performing and more durable, why would you buy a hard drive?

It comes down to what you’re using it for, and your budget.

If you just need a secure place offline, to store all the images and videos from your smartphone or camera, for instance, a hard drive is a cost-effective option. You don’t require SSD’s fast random access memory (RAM) for this purpose, and HDDs offer a significantly higher storage volume than SSDs, at a cheaper price.

Moreover, if you’re using your hard drive to watch shows or movies, HDD’s sequential performance still offers plenty of power for streaming and other tasks.

Khan said: “If you’re not going to be carrying it around, a hard drive is a good option to save your data.” Once you store your content, slip your hard disk drive into a safe place, like a desk drawer, and it’s likely to last you a very long time, with no issues.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.