TOP 6 – Best 1TB External Hard Drives of 2016

Last best 1tb external hard drive list update October 19, 2016

This year again Wd My Passport Ultra is the best 1TB portable external hard drive. The popularity of My Passport Ultra is only increasing. In spring 2015 Western Digital launched a new model of Wd My Passport Ultra. The biggest update is its price and new design, and now it`s cheaper than ever before. Also, maximum capacity has been increased to 3TB before it was 2TB. The biggest competition to Wd My Passport is Seagate ExpansionToshiba Canvio Connect II, and Seagate Backup Plus Slim. All three external hard drives are very similar to Wd My Passport Ultra regarding price, performance, and popularity among users. And all three of them are Amazon bestsellers, right behind My Passport Ultra.


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1. WD My Passport Ultra – The Best and Most Popular 1TB Portable External Hard Drive (HDD)

WD My Passport Ultra 1TB Portable HDD Review - The Best 1TB External Hard Drive of 2016 from Western Digital

My Passport Ultra Available Capacities and Ratings
New Wd My Passport Ultra model comes in five capacities – 500GB; 1TB; 1.5TB; 2TB and 3TB. Old model is available just in three capacities – 500GB; 1TB and 2TB. Notice that new model of My Passport now is both bestseller and top new release on Amazon. Old model has more than 11 000 customer reviews with overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. New model already has more than 4700 customer reviews with overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Colors and Product Dimensions

Drive is available in four colors – Black; Blue; White; Berry (New model) and Black; Blue; Red; Titanium (Old model). Product dimensions for new model is 4.34 x 3.21 x 0.5 inches (11 x 8.15 x 1.27 cm) and 4.34 inches by 3.21 inches by 0.5 inch (10.9×8.1×1.27cm) for old model. On the inside WD My Passport Ultra has standard 2.5-inch (laptop size) internal hard drive.

Software

The drive will work on both Windows and Mac computers, out of the box the drive is formatted in NTFS file system. To use it with Mac you need to reformat it to HFS+ file system. There are three software’s included – WD Utility, WD Security, and WD SmartWare Pro. Western Digital Software&Downloads page is a fast way to find the software you need. All software will work on Windows and on Mac you can just use Time Machine with the drive. Use WD Security to set up a password protection and keep your files safe from unauthorized access. Now with WD Smartware you can backup hard drive to Dropbox online service, but you need to register a Dropbox account before.


Performance and Warranty

My Passport supports both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. When used with USB 2.0 drive registered reading speed of 30Mb/s and writing speed of 28Mb/s. Drive speeds via USB 3.0 are very similar to each other and quite impressive – 118Mb/s reading and 120Mb/s writing. The drive worked quietly and almost with no vibration during our tests. Wd My Passport Ultra comes with a 3-year limited warranty, which is more than other portable external hard drives usually have (2-years).  This 1TB external hard drive will be an excellent choice whether you need a device for backup or gaming consoles like Xbox One and Playstation 4 (PS4).
 
 
  • Portable external storage with maximum capacity of 3TB
  • 256-Bit AES hardware encryption
  • Software with automated cloud and local backup
  • Stylish design and plenty of colors to choose from
  • Both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 connectivity
  • Out of the box formatted in NTFS file system for Windows, reformatting required to use with Time Machine on Mac
  • Model number (most popular)  – 1TB external HDD (WDBZFP0010BBL-NESN)
  • Useful software included in price
  • 3 year limited warranty
 
2. Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable HDD Review – The Best 1TB Portable External Hard Drive of 2016 From Seagate 
Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable HDD Review - The Best 1TB Portable External Hard Drive of 2016 From Seagate

In our Top 6 list Seagate Expansion portable drive takes the second place. Also this portable external hard drive has new model (STEA1000400) which is available in five capacities – 500GB; 1TB; 2TB; 3TB and 4TB. Old model (STBX2000401) comes only in four capacities – 500GB; 1TB; 1.5TB and 2TB. Notice that Expansion`s old model is more pricey than the new one. Read Seagate Expansion full review to find out more. People whoo need big capacity should consider Seagate Expansion as an option. The price for 1TB version right now is very similar to WD My Passport Ultra, though is changing all the time. Seagate Expansion comes without any bundled software, which is main reason it takes the second place in our top list. Many included softwares are a big advantage for WD My Passport Ultra, and that is the main reason why it`s in the first place instead of Seagate Expansion. Both new and old models supports USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connectivity and is Bus-powered. Drive comes only in one color and it`s Black for both new and old model. This Seagate portable hard drive is very popular and also have more than one thousand Amazon customer reviews with overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Out of the box drive is formatted in NTFS file system for Windows, in order to use it with Mac you need to reformat the hard disk. The same as most external hard drives Seagate Expansion is mostly used with game consoles – Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or by photographers. The internal 2.5-inch hard drive spindle speed is 5400RPM. Product dimensions 4.8 x 3.2 x 0.6 inches (12.2 x 8.1 x 1.52cm) and it weighs just 5.9 ounces (167.2 grams). Drive offers excellent performance, it`s faster than Wd My Passport Ultra and all other 1tb external hard drives in this list. Drive registered following speeds – 121Mb/s writing and 129Mb/s reading. Drive is also faster than Seagate Backup Plus SlimSilicon Power Armor A60, WD Elements and Toshiba Canvio Slim II. Expansion is one of the fastest 1tb external hard drive on the market. Seagate Expansion also have a dekstop version which is good deal for the money.

 
  • Expand your Xbox One or PS gaming storage
  • No bundled software comes with the external hard drive
  • Both compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0
  • Drive is powered via USB port – Bus powered 
  • Excellent performance that beats competition
  • Automatically recognised by Windows and can be used with Mac after reformatting
  • Massive capacity for affordable price
 
3. Toshiba Canvio Connect II 1TB Portable HDD Review – The Best 1TB External Hard Drive of 2016 from Toshiba
Toshiba Canvio Connect II 1TB Portable HDD Review - The Best 1TB External Hard Drive of 2016 from Toshiba

The compact Toshiba Canvio Connect II (HDTC810XK3A1) offers decent performance bundled with useful softwares, such as Pogoplug PC and NTI Backup Now EZ. If you buy it yourself Pogoplug PC would cost you 30$. Drive comes in four capacities – 500GB; 1TB; 2TB and 3TB. And in five colors – Black, Blue, Red, White and White-Gold. Canvio Connect II is the most colorful portable hard drive in our Top 6 list. Toshiba Canvio Connect II 1tb is few bucks more expensive than WD My Passport Ultra and Seagate Expansion at the moment. 

NTI Backup Now EZ is very easy to use automated backup software. As long as your computer is connected to the internet you can access data stored on Canvio itself remotely via mobile app. This software turns Canvio Connect into a personal home cloud server. Canvio Connect supports both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports but sometimes it declines to work via USB 2.0. That should`nt make any hassle at all, because who now still uses USB 2.0? When used with USB 3.0 Canvio Connect scores 100Mb/s writing and 98Mb/s reading speed.  It`s quite good for portable external hard drive, but still behind Seagate Expansion and WD My Passport Ultra. Product dimensions are 4.3 x 3.1 x 0.6 inches (10.9 x 7.8 x 1.5 cm) and it weighs just 5.8 ounces (164 grams). Out of the box hard drive is formatted in NTFS system, to use it with Mac you need to install Tuxera NTFS for Mac, included on the drive itself. After installation you can use it with Time Machine. It has more than 640 Amazon customer reviews with overall rating 4.5 out of 5 stars. Now lower prices makes Canvio Connect II a better deal than before, drives biggest advantage is it`s size and included software. Warranty is between My Passport Ultra and Seagate Expansion – 2 years.
 
 
  • Included software – Pogoplug PC (Price $29.95) and NTI Backup Now EZ ($29.99)
  • Easily access files stored onn Canvio Connect II from any device, anywhere via internet
  • Run scheduled and automated backups
  • Drive is available in Six colors
  • 2 year limited warranty

4. Seagate Backup Plus/Slim 1TB Portable HDD Review – Second Best 1TB External Hard Drive of 2016 from Seagate
Seagate Backup Plus/Slim 1TB Portable HDD Review - Second Best 1TB External Hard Drive of 2016 from Seagate

Second best external hard drive from Seagate is Seagate Backup Plus Slim (STDR4000100), 2.5-inch external USB hard drive. Drive is available in five capacities – 500GB; 1TB; 1.5TB; 2TB and 4TB. After registering your drive on Seagate.com you will recieve 200GB of free Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage (value $95). Offer is not available in all countries and it must be activated by June 30, 2017. Seagate Dashboard software is included. This drive have two versions, the 0.5 inch thin drive is called Backup Plus Slim (capacity up to 2TB and four colors) and the Seagate Backup Plus which is 0.8 inch thick, comes in black and have 4TB capacity only. Like most portable drives it`s Bus-powered and supports both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. Also, like most portable hard drives out of the box it`s formatted in NTFS. To use it with Mac you can install NTFS driver for Mac or re-format it to HFS+ file system. Drives performance is very close to other hard disks in our top list, 4TB scores 115Mb/s writing and 120Mb/s reading but 2TB capacity registered 120Mb/s writing and 125Mb/s reading. But Backup Plus Slim is just half as fast as Seagate Backup Plus Fast. To find more alternatives read – Best external hard drive buying guide

Product dimensions – Seagate Backup Plus Slim :500GB, 1TB, 2TB: 4.5 x 3 x 0.5 inches (14 x 13 x 5 cm), | Seagate Backup Plus: 4TB: 4.5 x 3.1 x 0.8 inches (14 x 13 x 5 cm). And weight consecutively is – 500GB, 1TB, 2TB: 5.6 ounces (159g) | 4TB: 8.6 ounces (200g). Hard disk comes with 2 year limited warranty. Overall Amazon rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars. You can find out more about Seagate Backup Plus Slim from Amazon Customer Reviews.
 
 
  • Free 200GB OneDrive cloud storage for 2 years when you register your drive on Seagate.com
  • Create scheduled backups with Seagate Dashboard
  • Both compatbile with Windows and Mac
  • No security features
  • 2 year limited warranty
 
5. Toshiba Canvio Basics USB 3.0 1TB Portable HDD Review – Second Best 1TB External Hard Drive from Toshiba
Toshiba Canvio Basics USB 3.0 1TB Portable HDD Review - Second Best 1TB External Hard Drive from Toshiba

The Toshiba Canvio Basics USB 3.0 (HDTB220XK3CA) 1tb external hard drive really is basic. The 1tb version is more expensive than alternative drives. Canvio Basics is available in five capacities – 500GB; 750GB; 1TB; 1.5TB and 2TB. It`s quite weird but different capacities have different warranty. Warranty varies from 1 to 3 years, on Amazon you can see how long warranty is for each capacity. Toshiba Canvio comes with no bundled software, that is a big disadvantage. Hard disk is Bus-powered and both compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. Toshiba hard drives stand out for their reliability, many server owners choose Toshiba instead of Seagate, HGST or Western Digital. Internal 2.5-inch hard disk speed is 5400RPM, the same as most portable external hard drives. The drive will work on Windows and Mac. Buffer cache is 8MB and average seek time 12m/s. This drives performance is a little bit weaker than competitors – Wd My Passport Ultra, Seagate Expansion and other external hard drives we have reviewed so far. We registered reading speed of 95Mb/s and writing speed 89Mb/s. At the moment when Top 3 1tb external hard drive prices for one terabyte is just about $54-65, they come with useful software and performs well, then there is no big reason to prefer Toshiba Canvio Basics. So how to explain Canvio Basics popularity and more than 5100 Amazon customer reviews with overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. I think it`s reliability what Toshiba offers to their customers. Product dimensions – 4.7 x 3.1 x 0.7 inches (11.9 x 7.9 x 1.8 cm) and weighs 6.4 ounces (0.18 kg).

 
 
  • Easy to use – Plug and Play
  • No bundled software and higher cost per TB than alternative devices
  • Warranty varies for different capacities from 1 to 3 years
  • Intenral shock sensor and Ramp Loading Technology
  • Compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.0, bus-powered
 
6. WD My Passport for Mac 1TB Portable HDD Review – The Best 1TB External Hard Drive for Mac from Western Digital
WD My Passport for Mac 1TB Portable HDD Review - The Best 1TB External Hard Drive for Mac from Western Digital

Wd My Passport for Mac (WDBJBS0010BSL-NESN) is very similar to Wd My Passport Ultra seventh generation, but especially made for Mac users. Passport for Mac offers compability with Apple Time Machine, 256-bit AES encryption and WD Drive Utilities software. Drive is available in three capacities – 1TB; 2TB and 3TB. All models have 3 year warranty. Product dimensions are – (H x D x W): 4.33in x 0.62in x 3.21in (110mm x 15.84mm x 81.6mm) and 1TB model weighs just 0.34lb (0.16kg). Passport for Mac performance is quite lower than Wd My Passport Ultra. The Wd My Passport for Mac scored 104Mb/s write speed and 105Mb/s read. Drive has USB 3.0 inerface, if you want thunderbolt connection you can look at Wd My Passport Pro, which has capacity up to 4TB and is much more expensive. Also Passport for Mac got new design in Spring 2015. New model comes only in Black color. Old model (WDBLUZ0010BSL-NESN) is available just in Grey color, but it is more expensive.

read speed comparison - Best 1TB External Hard Drives
write speed comparison - Best 1TB External Hard Drives
cost per gb comparison - Best 1TB External Hard Drives
user rating comparison - Best 1TB External Hard Drives
warranty comparison - Best 1TB External Hard Drives
weight comparison - Best 1TB External Hard Drives

Why 1TB external hard drives are so popular?
The 1tb external hard drive is the most searched external hard drive capacity online. What makes them so popular? Especially when talking about portable external drives people are more interested in 1tb capacity. Main reason for that is the price, almost all 1tb external hard drives costs quite below $100, usually you can get one for about $50-70. Purchasing one won`t make your wallet empty in most cases, but we can`t say that about bigger capacities like 5TB and more. 
What does others think about our Top Pick?
Why to trust us? There are three main reasons, firstly this is what we do, we write external hard drive reviews and top lists to help you make a better choice. Secondly our only income is small commission from products you buy on Amazon, and if you return the product we earn nothing. So we are interested in providing reviews only for the best storage devices. After all we will compare our top picks to other trusted websites top picks so you can see the bigger picture of best products on the market. 
 
The first portable drive in Cnet`s Best Portable Drives of 2016 list is WD My Passport Ultra (Spring 2015 edition). Dong Ngo form Cnet recommends My Passport Ultra and says that it is sylish portable drive with everything you could ever want from such a drive. He liked capacity up to 3TB, many color choices and fast performance, though it is a bit slower than older model. He disliked that WD Backup software can`t backup entire system as an image and real-time changes will not automatically backup. 
 
Techradar has Seagate Expansion on top of their best portable drive list. They liked the fact that drive is cheap and comes with big capacity up to 5TB (5TB version comes as dekstop external hard drive, not portable). Techradar writes that Seagate Expansion is hardly pretty, but notice that they have the old model in their top list. 
 
The top pick of Thewirecutter is Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB model. They determined that Backup Plus Slim 2TB will be the best portable drive for most people. It`s slim, light, reliable and fast. Though their testings with HD Tune showed it is not one of the fastest opt. Also PCadvisor has the same top pick as Thewirecutter, Backup Plus Slim 2TB model. They also have some more interesting drives, like LaCie Mirror 1TB and iStorage diskAshur Pro 1TB in their top list.
 
PCworld recommends Seagate Backup Plus Fast 4TB, which is a bit more pricey that 1tb portable hard drives in our top. Backup Plus Fast really is fast and actually it has two intenal hard drives working in RAID0 configuration to provide high read/write speeds. The biggest downside of the drive hides in RAID0 configuration, in case one drive fails you lose all data from both internal drives. 
 
Conclusion
Wherever you look the most recommended portable drives mostly will be WD My Passport Ultra, Seagate Expansion, Seagate Backup Plus Slim, Backup Plus Fast or Toshiba Canvio Connect II. These are the most popular drives on the market at the moment with most customer reviews. Knowing that thousands of consumers have choosed the drive and only small percentage of them reports failure will make your purchase much safer compared to other drives with few or no customer reviews to rely on. 
 
Our top pick is WD My Passport Ultra, why not Seagate Expansion, Backup Plus or some other drive? Because My Passport has the best combination of price, warranty, capacity, performance and includes useful software. 
 
Do you agree with our 1TB external HDD top pick? Which drive did you choose?
Share your experience with others and comment below! 
 

About The Author
ExternalHDD
ExternalHDD
He's fanatic tech lover with degree in electrical engineering. Hobbies? To buy, test, break and write about newest gadgets. Also, the CEO of HDDmag.com.
1 Comments
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  • Dan
    January 25, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    I ordered Seagate Backup Plus Slim in the hope that it would contain the long anticipated 2TB 2.5" 9.5mm Samsung M9T hard disk. I'm happy to report that it does and that said drive has a standard SATA interface.
    My MacBook Pro is now sitting pretty with 2TB of internal storage. Happy Days!

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