WD Black P10 review: great value HDD storage for gamers

The WD Black P10 is perfect for gamers on the go

WD Black P10
(Image credit: Western Digital)
T3 Verdict

The WD Black 10 is a fine external hard disk drive that's suitable for a number of jobs, as long as you're aware that you're trading the superior performance that SSD offers for a more affordable price. It's fine for storing and transporting games and any other files.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Plenty of capacity

  • +

    Impressive performance levels

  • +

    Reliable in operation

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Proprietary cable connector

  • -

    Style won't suit everyone

  • -

    Not as fast as SSD

The WD Black P10 has to be of interest if you're in the market for one of the best external hard drives at the moment: it offers up to 5TB of capacity (though our review unit only packed in 2TB), plenty of rugged style, and some impressive performance specs too.

It's certainly worthy of consideration when it comes to expanding the amount of storage available to you on your games console – you can play games from this on the last-gen consoles and store games on it with the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S.

The drive is also compatible with Windows and macOS, so it works as an external storage locker for your laptop or desktop computer too. In our full WD Black P10 review, we'll explain everything you need to know about the drive, from setup to performance.

WD Black P10 review: design and setup

WD Black P10

(Image credit: Future)

The WD Black P10 follows the same design cues we've seen from other drives in the Black series from Western Digital – it's got a ridged, black casing that wouldn't look out of place in a military headquarters. The aesthetics aren't going to be to everyone's tastes, but we're fans: the appearance of the drive certainly gives you the impression that it's going to last longer than many of its competitors.

This is also a drive that's impressively sleek – just 118 mm by 88 mm by 12.8 mm (for the 2TB version we had), which is 4.65 inches by 3.46 inches by 0.5 inches. The 2GB edition of the WD Black P10 tips the scales at 0.14 kg or 0.31 pounds. It's slim and lightweight, and you can carry it around in one hand no problem at all. We also like the little rubber feet on the base of the external disk drive, which stops it from slipping around.

The dimensions and materials that Western Digital has used here also makes it easy to sling into a backpack or a briefcase if you need to: it won't weigh you down at all, and you don't have to worry about it jostling around with whatever else you're carrying. The ease with which you can just pick up the WD Black P10 and transfer it somewhere else has to be one of the key selling points of this particular piece of hardware.

Thankfully, setup is as simple as you would expect, no matter what device you're connecting the WD Black P10 drive to. Connect the bundled cable, plug it into your computer or console of choice, and you will be up and running in just a few minutes. You don't get anything in the way of software on the disk drive, but then we reckon most people won't need any (various utilities are available via the Western Digital website if you need them).

WD Black P10 review: specs and performance

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WD Black P10

(Image credit: Western Digital)
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WD Black P10

(Image credit: Western Digital)

There's a lot of space here: 5TB, 4TB or 2TB (our review unit was the 2TB version), depending on how much room you need and how much you're willing to spend. Western Digital reckons 5TB is enough for around 125 games on average, so you can do the maths on the smaller capacity models. That's plenty of storage space for just about any purpose, and it's available at a very competitive price.

Part of the reason this drive is such good value is that it's a conventional 2.5-inch hard disk drive (HDD) running at 5,400 rpm, not a solid state drive: it's not going to compete with the best SSD drives for speed, but then again it doesn't necessarily have to. Western Digital reckons that you can get  transfer speeds of up to 140MB/s from this, which is a fraction of the rates offered by the best SSDs on the market.

In our testing, we had no problems with the speed or reliability of the WD Black P10. It supports USB 3.2 Gen 1 via a USB-A connector, and on our Windows machine with ports that matched that spec we were seeing 100GB transfers happening in around 13-14 minutes. While SSD transfers will nip along much faster, depending on the SSD, it's a respectable enough speed for backup storage and normal file access – though we wouldn't recommend actually trying to run games direct from the drive.

The drive is nice and quiet in operation too – not SSD-level quiet, but certainly nothing beyond a very gentle hum – and it stays warm to the touch even after a lot of data transfer activity. If you want to hook this up to a USB-C port then you'll of course need an adapter or a hub of some description, which could affect the transfer speeds that you see from the drive, but overall there's not much to complain about in terms of the specs and performance you're getting for your money.

WD Black P10 review: price and verdict

WD Black P10

(Image credit: Western Digital)

Western Digital has almost always been a brand that we've been able to trust down the years (your mileage may of course vary), and the fact that the P10 Black comes with a three-year limited warranty makes us even more confident that this is a piece of hardware that's going to last you a long time. The drive's rugged style adds to that feeling of durability – it looks like a device that's able to take a few knocks, though we're not giving you permission to throw it against the wall to test this out.

There's no shortage of external hard drives on the market at the moment, and we reckon that if you're going to go for the WD Black P10 then the appearance of the device is going to play a big part in that. From the lightweight, compact design to the prominent hex screws that give off an industrial vibe. It's fair to say that not many external drives look like this one, and it's definitely a device that stands out.

We don't have to dive too deep into a HDD vs SSD comparison here, because it's actually a pretty simple calculation that you have to make: either you pay extra for the additional speeds of an SSD, or you save on the cost-per-gigabyte with an HDD and wait a little bit longer for your files to transfer. As you get to bigger capacities – up to 5TB in this case – the savings get bigger too, but then again the waiting time increases as you move more data and larger files too.

If you're after lots of room for your files at an affordable price, packed into a drive with respectable performance, then we'd say the WD Black P10 does a very good job indeed. Add in the polish of the device's design, and it's absolutely one of the best options out there in what is a very crowded field – just make sure you've fully worked out what type and capacity of drive is going to be right for you. Check the widgets on this page for the latest deals, but at the time of writing the 2TB model is available for around £75 / $90.

David Nield
David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.