Best external hard drives with cloud access and storage

By: Matthew Adams
5 minute read

External hard drives are portable alternatives to hard disks that you can connect via a USB port or wirelessly (as is the case with network-attached storage devices). Cloud (otherwise web) storage has become a notable alternative to external hard drives as it’s more flexible. However, now there are some external HDDs that provide extra cloud storage and backup options. These are some of the external hard drives that will give you cloud access and storage.

My Cloud (NAS) (recommended)

The My Cloud is a hybrid NAS drive with five models that provide 2 TB, 3 TB, 4 TB, 6 TB and 8 TB of hard drive storage. As a NAS drive My Cloud provides DLNA support and incorporates a browser dashboard. It’s compatible with both the Windows and Mac OS platforms and has a Gigabyte Ethernet interface.

external hdd6What sets the My Cloud apart from many alternative external hard drives is its cloud storage apps. My Cloud provides remote file access across a range of devices with its iOS, Android, PC, and Mac apps. These mobile apps support established web storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, so that you can transfer content between them. The My Cloud app also automatically backs up photos and videos to personal cloud storage.

Seagate Duet

The Seagate Duet is a new external HDD that’s launching December 2016. Seagate and Amazon have teamed up to deliver a hard drive integrated with Amazon Drive cloud storage. This is an external hard drive with 1 TB storage retailing at just about one hundred bucks now.

The cloud storage integration amounts to automatic backups to Amazon Drive. In addition, you can also back up mobile and tablet files to cloud storage with the Amazon Drive app; and with that users can access files on Seagate Duet. Amazon is offering 12 months unlimited cloud storage for the Seagate Duet HDD, but that’s an offer limited to the United States only.

Seagate Personal Cloud (NAS)


external HDD5

The Seagate Personal Cloud is a notable alternative to the WD – My Cloud. It’s also a network-attached storage device that gives you remote access to files and syncs with established cloud services. The Seagate Personal Cloud has five alternative models with 3 TB, 4 TB, 5 TB, 6 TB, and 8 TB HDD storage. The external hard drive is available for the 3 TB and 4TB model and is compatible with Windows and Mac OS X.

When you’ve set up your Seagate Personal Cloud, you can access it with the Seagate Media app for Android, iOS and Windows mobiles or tablets. The Seagate Backup Manager enables you to back up the external hard drive to Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, Yandex, and Baidu.

Or you could back up files from the cloud storage to the hard drive. In addition, users can sync Seagate Personal Cloud folders with Baidu, Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive storage accounts.

Seagate Backup Plus

Seagate Backup Plus is a series of external hard drives that have 200 GB of extra OneDrive cloud storage. The Backup Plus Portable has the most storage with its 4 GB and 5 GB models. The 4 TB Portable model for Windows and Mac OS X is currently available online.

external HDD2All the Seagate Backup Plus HDDs have the free 200 GB OneDrive storage for a couple of years, but that needs to be activated by June 2017. You can back up data to cloud storage providers with the Dashboard software for the Backup Plus. With the Mobile Backup app users can also back up content from Android and iOS devices to both the storage drive and cloud service. Jingwen Li, an ICD research analyst, stated, “With features such as OneDrive cloud storage, Lyve app and the new 4TB capacity point, Seagate Backup Plus family addresses the growing needs for data storage and backup with flexible data access and simple data management in the personal storage market.

Toshiba Canvio Connect II

external HDD3The Toshiba Canvio Connect II is a series of external hard drives that enable you to turn a Windows or Mac OX desktop into a cloud server. The Connect II HDD storage ranges from 500 GB up to 3TB. You can choose from blue, black, white, satin gold or red Connect II hard drive models.

The PogoPlus software bundled with the Canvio Connect II enables users to set up a cloud server with the desktop or laptop in standby mode. With that program, you can access your files on the hard drive via the web. As a bonus, the hard drive also gives you a free 10 GB of backup cloud storage.

My Book Duo

WD’s My Book Duo external hard drives for Windows 10, 8 and 7 provide substantial 4 TB, 6TB, 8 TB, 12 TB, and 16 TB storages. These are drives that incorporate RAID data management. For example, with RAID 1 mirror mode configuration one drive automatically duplicates (backs up) all the data on the other. These hard drives are retailing from $260 up to $600 depending on the size model.

Jim Welsh, a Content Solutions executive vice president, stated, “My Book Duo offers super-fast transfer speeds, massive capacity, and integrated WD Red drives to provide the ultimate desktop storage solution for all your digital libraries.

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One of the best things about the My Book Duo HDDs is that they have Dropbox cloud integration. As such, users can back up their Dropbox storage to the Duo hard disk. With the hard drive‘s WD SmartWare Pro software you can also back up files to Dropbox.

My Cloud Mirror (NAS)

My Cloud Mirror is another of WD’s personal cloud external hard drives compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7 and Mac OS X. So its cloud options are fairly similar to My Cloud. The big difference is that MC Mirror is a duel drive with a RAID 1 configuration. It has 4 TB, 6 TB, 8 TB, and 16 TB models, but remember that the HDD‘s mirroring effectively cuts those storage figures by half with one of the disks backing up content on the other.

external HDDMy Cloud Mirror provides remote access to files, and you can access the hard drive content with your phone or tablet. You can use the same My Cloud app as with other WD NAS drives to open files on MC Mirror with tablet or phone. Then users can also transfer files between other cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive. In addition, the HDD also includes Amazon s3 and ElephantDrive cloud backup options.

Those are a few of the external hard drives that include extra cloud features and storage. The hard drives give you remote file access, extra cloud storage and have handy web backup options. So they offer the convenience and flexibility of cloud storage.

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