I got an Advent Laptop when I was 24 for my birthday off my super generous Step Dad. I had it for 4 years when at Christmas this year it overheated, switched off and left a lingering smell like an exploded hairdryer (you know that smell, right?). I had insurance through PC World and when I took it in to see them, they advised me that I had a free back up service as part of my package and if I brought in an external memory device, they could back up all of my information - which included about 3000 photos, so I thought about it for half a second, then went and bought the cheapest external hard drive they had for sale. They actually even gave me £10 off, so I paid just £55 (it's now only £50 full price!) for the Western Digital Elements SE Portable WDBPCK5000ABK 500 GB External Portable Hard Drive. They backed up my data and ultimately replaced my laptop with a newer model as mine was quite old, so all in all, thumbs up to PC World - but back to the review in hand!
My (now not so new) hard drive looks smart - it's black matte on the top and bottom and glossy black around the edges, it's a relatively small size, 11cm x 8cm and just under 2cm deep. It's got smart rounded corners and is lightweight - at just 0.2kg; it's perfect to carry around making it super portable. There are some really nice protective cases you can buy from PC World for just £4.99 too, though I am sure that you can pick them up cheaper online now. For a non gadget orientated person this is completely sufficient for me - though I have seen much smarter looking hard drives with price tags to match. That said; I have also seen some where they need wall plug power to work and are the size of a DVD player! It's robust and has shock absorbing technology which means you can take it wherever you go without worrying too much about your precious data being lost; perfect peace of mind!
Have you heard of a terabyte (TB)? Well I hadn't, but its 1,000 gigabytes (GB) for those who are as technically ignorant as me - for those who don't know a gigabyte or what the heck I am talking about, it's measures of data storage and transfer - just like ounces and pounds, grams and kilograms. So this hard drive is 'half a terabyte' in size, or 500GB. This is roughly enough for any 'average PC user' who wants to store documents, movies, games and photographs or who wants to copy and take back ups of a regular laptop or desktop. Currently I have a few thousand photographs, 3 years worth of University work (including PDF learning material as it was Distance Learning), hundreds of draft blog posts, downloaded recipes, e-books and about 100 albums and I've only used less than 10% of the drives capacity. Essentially, the cost per gigabyte of storage is just 10p. For online cloud storage you can't get even get that sort of deal!
The Western Digital Elements SE Portable WDBPCK5000ABK 500 GB External Portable Hard Drive has USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 meaning high speed data transfer, at up to 5 gigabytes per second. I have pictures taken with my DSLR camera which are very fine and large in size and they take fractions of a second to transfer to the hard drive, so it's quick. If you don't have a USB 3.0 port on your PC then you can enjoy reasonably fast speeds of 480 megabytes per second, which doubles the transfer time compared to USB 3.0 but again would be sufficient for an average user.
Overall this external hard drive is excellent value for money - a lot of storage for not a lot of coin. The transfer speeds are fast; it's reliable, robust and looks good plus it is super portable so you can take it anywhere without lugging power cables, etc around with you. I've had this for 9 months now and I use it very regularly, I rate it excellent for an average PC user and I would certainly recommend it!
It is available online and in PC World stores.