Seagate Expansion 8TB external hard drive review: No-frills storage that requires USB-C


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When speed isn’t paramount, external USB hard drives are necessary tools for any Mac owner. The Seagate Expansion is a solid choice with 8TB of capacity for backups and file storage.

Seagate is well known in the storage space, building not only the internal drives but also the enclosures. Most of the drives in the Seagate line are mainstream consumer devices, while LaCie represents Seagate’s professional line.

While not necessarily as flashy as LaCie, Seagate devices are reliable and more widely available.

Design and connectivity

The Seagate Expansion is your typical desktop storage solution. It has a well-ventilated plastic body, just a hair larger than the 3.5-inch hard drive it hides inside.

Seagate Expansion Rear Ports

It connects to your Mac or PC via USB 3.1. On the back of the drive is a common barrel connector used for power and the included Micro-B USB port.

We’re not big fans of the slim Micro-B connector, but they’re frequently used with external hard drives. Since the cable is a USB-A cable, you may need to use a hub or adapter with your Mac if it only has USB-C ports.

The included USB-A cable and our USB-C replacement

The included USB-A cable and our USB-C replacement

In our case, we just picked up one of the widely available USB-C to Micro-B cables found on Amazon. We’d prefer a USB-C cable in the box, but a lot of people still rely on USB-A, and replacement cables are easy to find at a glance.

Using Seagate Expansion with our MacBook Air

Using Seagate Expansion with our MacBook Air

The case has a striped look with slanted lines along the plastic body. The top, back, and bottom have hidden vents that allow airflow to the hard drive. They are between the lines which make them almost invisible at a glance.

Due to passive cooling, the drive feels a little hollow when we pick it up, but that’s better than a fan spinning hard.

Finally, there are silicone feet under the drive that keep it just off your desk surface and prevent it from sliding around.

Speed ​​and performance

The speed isn’t going to impress anyone on the Seagate Expansion drive. Not because it’s bad, but because it aims to be affordable.

Rotating hard drive platters will be cheaper than solid state media, especially when you’re looking for something as big as 8TB.

If you need a backup system or a place to store a multitude of files, this is what you need.

We connected the drive to our Mac and the drive was formatted to ExFat by default. As ExFat, it can work with out-of-the-box Mac or Windows PCs, but you can easily reformat it into the more Apple-specific APFS or leave it in ExFat for universal access.

Blackmagic Disk Speed ​​Test Results

Blackmagic Disk Speed ​​Test Results

Using the Blackmagic Disk Speed ​​test, we got 177MB/s for our write speed and 178MB/s for read speed. It’s not fast but not terribly slow either.

Concretely, we transferred a 1 GB file to the Seagate Expansion in less than 10 seconds. Again, for a backup drive, file repository, and day-to-day tasks, you’ll be fine.

Using Seagate Expansion with our MacBook Air

Using Seagate Expansion with our MacBook Air

It won’t be ideal for a video editing player, but it’s great for 95% of other use cases. Not everyone regularly moves 124 GB Final Cut libraries.

Should you buy the Seagate Expansion external hard drive?

You don’t always need the flashiest hardware. Seagate has a solid drive with an attractive appearance that gives you 8TB of reliable storage at an affordable price.

Seagate Expansion in its box

Seagate Expansion in its box

You can get faster drives that have HDDs in raid formation or that use an SSD, but they’ll cost you a lot more. If you don’t need the extra speed, the Seagate add-on will do the job without breaking the bank.

Benefits of Seagate Expansion

  • Solid and reliable drive
  • Sufficient capacity of 8TB
  • Sleek and modern exterior
  • Affordable
  • Pre-formatted in ExFat universal file system

Cons of Seagate Expansion

  • No USB-C cable included
  • Uses a full size desktop drive which takes up more space
  • Hard drive speeds

Rating: 3 out of 5

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