It used to be the case that storage was really, really expensive but now, in 2021, it has never been cheaper. To help you make smart choices and find the best external hard drives, we're comparing two smart options: the Seagate Backup Plus 4TB and WD Black D10.
Both Seagate and WD (née Western Digital) are known for making high quality, reliable storage that doesn't break the bank and works with all major platforms without a hitch. With one of these, you can store pretty much infinite content, backup your computer, and so much more.
We should note, for the avoidance of doubt, that these hard drives are exclusive for outside your computer; they work by plugging into your USB slots, not from connecting to a motherboard. As such, they're perfect whether you have a tiny laptop or a huge, powerful desktop.
Need something to go with your new external hard drive? The T3 experts have spent hours testing to find the best laptops, best SSDs, and best keyboards. You can also check out our back to school guides before September arrives.
Seagate Backup Plus 4TB vs WD Black D10: features
To start with, both of these offer a lot of storage. Seagate's Backup Plus comes with 4TB (with options from 1TB to 5TB) while WD's comes with 8TB (with options from 1TB to 12TB), both of which will be plenty of space for whatever you're doing.
In order to fit all of that storage in, Seagate and WD have used spinning disks – as opposed to SSDs – which comes with two main features: a slight hum when in use, from the disk physically spinning; and slower load times than an SSD.
- What is an SSD? The confusing technical terms and jargon explained
Seagate's Backup Plus spins at 5,400rpm, which is on the slow end of the spectrum, while WD's spins at 7,200rpm. Neither of these is catastrophically slow, but if you need lightning fast data transfer speeds (if, for example, you're editing videos), then choosing an SSD-based external hard drive is a better bet.
Both models make use of USB 3 for the fastest possible connection speeds and include full compatibility with Windows and Mac.
Seagate Backup Plus 4TB vs WD Black D10: design and use
The biggest differences arise from the physical designs that Seagate and WD have chosen. For its part, WD's hard drive is a much more desk-based unit, even coming with a stand, that most likely weighs too much to carry around all day long.
Seagate has gone the other way, making an incredibly portable external hard drive that you could easily slip into your bag when you're done.
The ports on offer reflect these priorities: Seagate has a single port, which connects to USB 3 and powers the device, while WD includes a data port, power cable port, and two USB ports.
What this essentially means is that the WD can handle a lot more at once, especially given that it is powered, while the Seagate is the more portable of the two.
In terms of actual use, we didn't have any real issues with either. Seagate's is slightly slower, which is to be expected given the slower spinning disks, but makes up for it by being incredibly portable, while WD is a beast but isn't as portable.
Seagate Backup Plus 4TB vs WD Black D10: verdict
Choosing between the Seagate Backup Plus and WD Black D10 is actually pretty simple: both offer loads of storage, attractive designs, and broad compatibility.
Seagate is the choice for those who are on the go, especially if you don't need the most blisteringly fast connection speeds, while WD is an excellent choice for anyone who is based around a desk and wants faster speeds and more power.