Eight years ago I got my first real smartphone. It was a HTC Hero and when I started carrying it along with several other changes I started carrying a reasonable camera around with me all the time. Fast forward 9 years and I’ve had several phones and upgraded my camera and video taking ability hugely and along the way I’ve had a child and been through a number of life events. I now find myself with thousands upon thousands of pictures and hours of family videos to say nothing of the DVDs I’ve ripped to take backups of and audio files and music. I can store these online (and do) but the essence of a good backup solution is one where things are stored in multiple places on different formats.
External hard disks are getting cheaper and cheaper and when you’re looking at bulk storage you want a good size and simple drive. Enter the Seagate Expansion Desktop drive series. The series includes 2TB, 3TB, 4TB and a 5TB version and I’ve gotten a chance to use the 4TB version but apart from storage size they’re identical. Seagate have chosen to make them as simple as possible. They have USB 3.0 (2.0 compatible) data connection and dedicated power supply and come pre-formatted with NTFS so can be plugged into your PC and used as is. The drive will also plug and play on the Xbox One and can be reformatted to work with Mac OSX.
Speedwise the drive holds up well. In my testing with CrystalDiskMark I consistently got read and write speeds between 150 and 159MB/s sequentially. That’s not incredible but is decent and assuming you’re using USB 3.0 it will let you stream video with no issues.
The drive doesn’t come with any pre-loaded software apart from an application that bounces you to the Seagate site and prefills serial numbers to register the driver. This is worth doing as it activates the two year warranty but afterwards it can be removed. Seagate also offer two downloadable tools – SeaTools and Seagate Settings that will let you check the basic health of the drive, change sleep time, switch off the LEDs and update firmware.
Price: ± Around £100
Delivery costs: Free Delivery
Ships to: U.K., Europe. U.S., Canada
Seagate Technology was formed in 1978 and developed and produced the first 5.25 inch hard disk held a massive five megabytes. They were one of the early supplies for IBM’s XT PC and have grown explosively to become one of the two (with WD) suppliers of hard disks to the world.
Externally the drive is very simple with the power and USB socket along one of the shorter edges and feet on two sides so it can be stood straight up or laid down. Given the choice and space laying it down is preferable as it means less chance of it falling over. The two largest sides’s plastic is slightly mottled which makes it far better at not showing fingerprints.
- Target audience: Those needing local extra storage at a reasonable speed and cost.
- Target gender: Unisex/gender neutral,
- Indoor use only, will not withstand inclement weather, moisture or high or low temperatures
The drive can be found for costs between about £85 and £110 but is usually at around £100. That works out at around 2.5 pence per gigabyte. Compared to cloud storage this is very economic and somewhat lower than the average for external hard disks. It should be noted that the larger the hard disk the more data you might lose if it crashes!
Product dimensions: 17.6 cm x 12.1 cm x 37 cm
Connection: USB 3.0
Power: Mains 12v 5w
Internal connector: SATA
Formatting: Windows but Mac is possible.
Internal drive size: 3.5 Inch
Drive Spin Speed: 5900 rpm
Warranty : Two year limited warranty for defects caused by manufacture or material.
The drive requires a USB port – preferably USB 3.0 – and a mains power supply. It’s not designed to be a portable drive and will work best and have a longer lifespan if you are able to keep it in a fixed position.
The Seagate Expansion Desktop drive isn’t going to win any awards for innovative design or specs but it’s well built and offers a very good price per gigabyte. If you’re looking for external desktop storage the range will fit most people’s requirements perfectly. Recommended.
The review is based on the Seagate Expansion 4TB USB 3.0 Desktop 3.5 inch External Hard Drive Desktop 2016 version kindly provided by Seagate. Read more about Ergohacks’ eco, access and feature icons used in reviews.