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Guide to Buying the Best External Hard Drive

November 6th, 2013 3:49 am

When you spend most of your time using your laptop computer either for work or for entertainment purposes, you will likely need a large storage space in your laptop to keep all of your data. Music files, movies, and pictures can take up a lot of space, so if you don’t have enough space in your laptop’s hard drive, you will have to erase some of them once your hard drive is full. If you have a desktop PC, you can easily replace the hard drive if you need a larger storage space for all your files. This is something you cannot do on a laptop. However, these days you can get an external unit easily. Choosing the best external hard drive can be really confusing due to the wide range of selections. But not to worry, there are some tips on searching for an external hard disk drive (HDD) that’s suited to your digital needs.

Storage Capacity – External HDDs are available in various storage capacities, ranging from 160/ 250 gigabytes (GB) up to one or more terabyte (TB) models. Higher-capacity drives typically afford the lowest cost-per-gigabyte, giving users the most bang for their buck. Casual users looking to simply transfer files and folders will likely find a smaller-capacity drive sufficient; however, heavy users who plan to use the drive to add extra storage to their computer or as an additional backup layer should seek drives with a higher storage capacity.

Transfer Speeds – Transfer speed refers to the rate at which an external hard drive can transfer data to and from a host controller (i.e., a computer). If you plan on using the drive to simply back up and store data, you probably don’t need the fastest external hard drive on the market. On the other hand, users planning to store large multimedia files should seek drives with quicker transfer speeds, like those with a USB 3.0 interface. USB 3.0 offers transfer rates up to 10 times faster than the preceding (though still widely used) USB 2.0 interface.

Portability – The overall portability of an external hard drive is determined by three key factors: size, weight and durability. Many portable hard drives measure mere inches in size and ounces in weight, making them lightweight, pocket-sized devices that deliver the utmost portability without sacrificing storage capacity. In terms of durability, any portable external HDD should be durable enough to withstand the minor abuse sustained through daily transport and use, especially if you’re a gadget addict who doesn’t like to coddle your devices. Look for mobile drives with drop protection features and that are made from solid, long-lasting materials such as aluminum or sturdy plastic.

Encryption – Given their portability, small mobile drives are inherently more susceptible to loss and theft than larger desktop drives. Consequently, encryption should be a priority for any users planning to frequently take their drive on the go or who store sensitive information on it. Look for drives that offer password protection and, ideally, hardware-based encryption. While software-based encryption does offer some protection, it is usually not as secure as hardware-based encryption – and it’s definitely more system-intensive.

Preloaded Software – Many external hard drives conveniently come with backup software preloaded on the drive that allows users to automate and customize backups to the drive. If your storage needs are modest, stick with drives that provide basic plug-and-play operation. But for those who plan to routinely back up data to the drive, included software can be highly useful and can help simplify the overall backup process. Furthermore, since the software is factory loaded onto the drive, users don’t have to worry about external software installation.

Why to Choose a Smartwatch

August 23rd, 2013 10:05 am

We are living in the hi-tech era where everything needs to be technologically sound. Smartwatch is one of the burning examples of technological evolution. Like with all bleeding-edge technology, smartwatches currently exist for early adopters. People are no longer satisfied with just an electronic wristwatch which shows them time. They want their watches to perform better. The followings are what makes people enjoy a smartwatch now:

You want notifications but you don’t want to spend tons of time on your phone

Smartwatches sit on your wrist and tell you what’s up. You can peek to see if you just received an important message or if you can ignore it. Over everything else, this offers the greatest advantage because you can stay informed while out and about without rudely interrupting activities with real, live people. You won’t look bored in meetings, you won’t look disinterested on a date, and you won’t distract other viewers in a movie theater with your excessively bright smartphone screen to see who just sent you a text. A smartwatch allows you to stay connected and informed without constantly interrupting your life.

A timepiece that actually does something without paying much more for it

Watches don’t seem too relevant anymore because they just tell the time—something a cellphone can do without occupying space on your wrist. While some prefer to check the time more easily and/or prefer the aesthetic of a wristwatch (to nothing at all), you get a lot more out of a smartwatch and don’t really pay much of an additional cost. That may seem like a strange statement when you look at the $120-300 price tags on the smartwatches in this post, but if you purchase a nice timepiece for its aesthetic value you’ll pay about the same amount (if not more, in some cases). If you want a cheaper watch, this obviously doesn’t apply. You can buy inexpensive timepieces that look nice, but many premium options fall into the exact same price range.

A watch you can upgrade and customize

While not all smartwatches offer ways to add tons of new features, most pair with smartphone apps and have user/developer communities that improve functionality on a regular basis. Pebble, for example, was designed around developers and people create cool, new stuff every day. While most apps still need some work before you can install them on your watch, browsing through the developer community will show you everything from live weather updates to playable versions of Space Invaders. You can’t do everything with your smartwatch now, but you will have the opportunity to do a lot more later without buying new hardware.

Despite these benefits, you may not want to jump on board just yet. Over the next couple of years, wearable technology will evolve significantly. Big players like Google and Apple may step into the ring. Sony may create a product that actually works (or someone else will fix it for them). Take the plunge if a smartwatch seems like something you’d enjoy and benefit from. Otherwise, give it some time. The future will (quickly) bring new ideas and choices, plus far more experiences from early adopters, so you can better decide whether you want intelligence on your wrist or not.