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In this report

External Hard Drives: Ratings of Sources

Total of 18 Sources
As of June 2013
by Dong Ngo
Our AssessmentCNET regularly tests external hard drives, giving each a star rating and a written review. Reviews are listed chronologically, and in Best lists by type of device, such as NAS drives, desktop backup drives and portable external storage drives. Testing is hands on, though perhaps not as in depth as at some other sites. The very best external hard drives earn an Editors' Choice distinction. That award goes to the Synology DiskStation DS412+ and Buffalo DriveStation DDR.
2. PCMag.com
As of June 2013
Hard Drives
by Editors of PCMag.com
Our AssessmentPCMag.com regularly tests external hard drives, rates all of them and grants the best ones an Editors' Choice award. Testing and evaluation are hands on and competent, but less comprehensive than some other reviewers. Top models for categorical roundups are identified, and the overall top-rated models are listed. Tests aren't always head-to-head, but reviews often mention how a unit stacks up against other models. Reviews are easy for the nontech-savvy to understand, and editors' recommendations are clear.
3. The Register
As of June 2013
by Editors of the Register
Our AssessmentReviews at this U.K. website are refreshingly cynical about marketing hype and fluffy features. The site frequently reviews a variety of external storage devices. Testing is competent, and ratings are consistent with reviewer comments. Reviews of external hard drives are listed with all other computer peripherals and can take time to sort through. Several external hard drives receive recommended ratings; a few earn an Editor's Choice award.
4. Macworld
As of June 2013
Storage Reviews
by Editors of Macworld
Our AssessmentMacworld reviews a good number of external hard drives. All are Windows and Macintosh compatible, but the reviews always state which drives are pre-formatted for the Mac OS. The testing process and published results are very good, and each product gets a rating of 1 to 5 mice.
5. ThinkComputers.org
As of June 2013
by Editors of ThinkComputers.org
Our AssessmentThinkComputers.org doesn't review a ton of external hard drives, but its reports are hands on, well illustrated and reasonably detailed. Recommendations are made, ratings are provided and top external hard drives are given Editor's Choice or recommended awards. However, comparisons are not often made, and there's no easy way to see where a backup drive rates without clicking through each report.
6. StorageReview.com
As of June 2013
Consumer Reviews
by Editors of StorageReview.com
Our AssessmentStorageReview.com frequently reviews external hard drives, along with all other types of computer peripherals. While the site's reviews aren't too technical, they do offer a good overview of each device and how it fits into the marketplace. Navigation is easy, as desktop external hard drives, portable hard drives and NAS storage for small offices each get their own category. A "leaderboard" page names the best drives in several categories, though internal drives get more coverage here. Ratings are not provided, but Editor's Choice selections are named.
7. NewEgg.com
As of June 2013
External Hard Drives
by Contributors to Newegg.com
Our AssessmentThis retail site allows users to review products that they've purchased. Because Newegg.com caters to a technically oriented customer base, reviewers here are sometimes more knowledgeable than at other retail sites. Some external hard drives here earn only a handful of ratings and reviews, though others have hundreds.
8. Amazon.com
As of June 2013
External Hard Drives
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentWhile many of the owners posting at Amazon.com don't have the experience to compare one external hard drive with another, they can report on their experience with the drive they own -- including issues that don't always crop up in shorter-term professional reviews. Many external hard drives earn average user ratings of at least 4.5 stars out of 5 and attract hundreds -- sometimes even thousands -- of reports, which makes spotting common problems easier. Even some well-regarded drives with significant numbers of reviews receive complaints, mainly for drive failure.
9. Laptop Magazine
As of June 2013
Storage/ SSDs Guide
by Editors of Laptop Magazine
Our AssessmentLaptop Magazine regularly tests external hard drives, awarding each a rating and naming the best ones as an Editors' Choice. Reviews are complete but not extremely technical. The drives tested here tend to be the most popular ones on the market.
10. PC World
As of June 2013
Hard drive Reviews
by Editors of PC World
Our AssessmentPC World's reviews aren't very extensive compared to other sources, but the publication reviews a fair number of external hard drives in single product reviews and occasional multiproduct roundups. Some copy is syndicated from sister sites and publications. Ratings are typically provided, and the editors are not shy about awarding low marks. Most of the focus is on portable external hard drives, NAS and other network storage devices.
11. BigBruin.com
As of June 2013
Storage Category
by Editors of BigBruin.com
Our AssessmentThis tech news and reviews website occasionally reviews external hard drives. Reviews are very good in most regards, but comparisons are mostly limited to benchmark performance tests. Testers point out pros and cons of different products, but ratings are not provided, and most external hard drives seem to do well enough to win either a Recommended or Highly Recommended award.
12. PCMag.com
As of June 2013
Network Attached Storage (NAS)
by Editors of PCMag.com
Our AssessmentPCMag.com reviews NAS devices separately from its hub for external hard drives, though coverage and testing methodology are similar. Top models receive Editors' Choice ratings, though most picks are prohibitively expensive for most home users or small businesses.
13. Choice magazine
As of June 2013
Hard Drives
by Editors of Choice magazine
Our AssessmentThis Australian magazine, which is that country's equivalent to ConsumerReports.org, tests a decent amount of external hard drives -- some USB 2.0, some USB 3.0. Editors rate each for performance, features and ease of use. Product roundups -- which cover anything from portable to NAS models --compare several external hard drives, and editors make recommendations. All of the top picks are widely available in the U.S.
14. TomsHardware.com
As of June 2013
External Storage
by Editors of TomsHardware.com
Our AssessmentTomsHardware.com regularly reviews a variety of storage options, though their reviews of external hard drives have been slim. The site does offer a few fairly recent roundups where models are grouped by specific categories. Testing and evaluation are very thorough, and hard drives are often tested head-to-head. Review conclusions weigh all the important pros and cons, to the point of being a bit dense for the nontechnical reader. Reviewers don't award numeric ratings to the drives, and recommendation nods are rarely given. For these reasons, it can sometimes be hard to determine editors' favorites.
15. PC Advisor
As of June 2013
by Editors of PC Advisor
Our AssessmentBritain's PC Advisor reviews a good number of external hard drives, though some reports are syndicated from sister sites/publications in the U.S. and elsewhere, such as PC Word and Macworld UK. Because of that, review quality and consistency vary. Still, most are hands on and appear to be competently written. Ratings are provided.
16. DigitalTrends.com
As of June 2013
External Hard Drive Reviews
by Editors of DigitalTrends.com
Our AssessmentIn many categories, DigitalTrends.com's reviews are cursory, and they focus on sounding hip. However, hard drive reviews are much more substantive. Screenshots of bundled software are very helpful. Reviews are objectively balanced. However, DigitalTrends.com has reviewed only a few external hard drives. The ioSafe Solo G3 earns the Editors' Choice nod.
17. Wired
As of June 2013
Desktops and Accessories
by Editors of Wired
Our AssessmentWired lists a few external hard drive reviews, including some single-product tests. Reviews are easy to read, but short compared to other sites. Coverage focuses on portable external hard drives.
18. ConsumerReports.org
April 2013
Computer Backup Systems
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentConsumerReports.org explains the pros and cons of the different types of computer backups, including external hard drives, USB flash drives and online backup services. Editors briefly evaluate a few examples of each type and recommend the best choices, though some of those are discontinued. Still, this is a good plain-English primer on backup alternatives for the nontech-savvy.
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