We now live in a world where consumers have so much choice that we no longer need to tolerate ugly design. In more and more cases we can have both form and function in our devices—without needing to compromise in either department. I don’t know about you, but as an Apple user, I’ve simply come to expect it. And that goes for the previously mundane world of external storage.
For most of my life I believed that hard drives were ugly and always would be ugly. Now I believe that that is still mostly the case, but there are some beautiful exceptions. No longer must a person hide their external drives behind their monitor our try to cover them up or, frankly, think of them as necessary clutter. Thanks to a few companies that good aesthetics are a real feature, our Mac’s can finally have a more deserving storage-based desk-mate.
In this roundup I’ve picked out four incredible hard drives that 1.) store your files and 2.) look really, really, really good. You’ll find that the functionality and styles are dramatically different, but the result of buying any of them will be the same: your desk will never be the same (even though you’re storing the same old files you have been keeping track of and preserving for years).
The drives I’ve listed here range in price from quite affordable to quite expensive. Sometimes it’s the design you are paying for and sometimes the functionality, but one thing is certain: if all you are after is functionality, you’ll almost certainly wind up with something ugly.
Of course I am excluding from this list Apple’s Airport Time Capsule because I assume you are already familiar with it and may be looking for alternatives (for whatever reason).
Goodbye ugly hard drives. Hello desktop sculptures.
LaCie Christofle Sphère (1TB)
How can I not start with this sleek orb from LaCie (who, by the way, makes a number of downright eye-pleasing hard drives for Macs including the Mirror and Blade Runner)? This is the external hard drive that I imagine Apple master-designer Jony Ive would be inclined to use himself. It’s gorgeous and literally nothing else compares to it. I’d put something that looked like this on my desk as a sculpture; the fact that it stores files is just that much better.
ioSafe Solo G3 (3TB+)
While this hard drive does look very, very cool, I’m guessing it’s the features that will literally blow your mind. Until I discovered the incredible Solo G3, I had no idea that a fireproof and waterproof external hard drive even existed! Add to that the fact that people can’t steal it thanks to the ability to physically lock it into place AND the fact that ioSafe offers a forensic data recovery service and this is starting to look like one of the most (the most?) secure personal storage devices in the world. Seriously… all I can say is, “Dang!” And, “I want one!”
WD My Passport Wireless (500GB to 2TB)
The My Passport Wireless from Western Digital may be the most mundane-looking piece of hardware listed in this article, but it’s a nice mundane. It’s not over-stated or overblown. Sure it could probably look cooler (I’ll grant you) but good design isn’t just about looks. Looks must support usability and this thing is usable to the extreme thanks to built in wireless (you can connect with up to 8 devices simultaneously) and a built-in rechargeable battery which means it’s portable. Ya. Because it’s portable, it won’t be seen as often… but if it is, it looks alright.
Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive For Mac (2-4TB)
Sometimes you don’t want something wacky or too different or “out there.” Sometimes you just want something that is nice. Well the Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive for Mac (yes, that is it’s official and far too long name) is pure class. It’s simple, sturdy and states calmly, “I’m here,” because there’s no need for it to shout. But don’t get me wrong: this Seagate does have some flair—just take a look at the venting in the back. It looks like it could easily fit in at a museum of modern art.