What Is The Best External Hard Drive?

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There are many hard drives out there in the market from different manufacturers. Some of them are reliable and durable and some others are not so reliable. Some of them are high performing and some of them are not.

Definitely you want an external hard drive that is reliable, durable, high performing compatible with different devices like PCs, and Macs. Or you may want to get an external hard drive which is tough and designed for extreme conditions.

So, what is the best external hard drive? It depends on your specific needs and requirements. No hard drive will be best for every kind of use and requirements.

I decided to research and find the hard drives that will be best for most of the users. After thorough research, here are the top 8 best external hard drives. Let’s go through each one and see what I found.

Table of Contents

  1. WD My Passport Portable External Hard Drive
  2. G-Technology ArmorATD Rugged Portable External Hard Drive
  3. WD My Passport Ultra External Hard Drive
  4. WD Elements Portable External Hard Drive
  5. Silicon Power Rugged Portable External Hard Drive
  6. ADATA HD710 Pro Ruggedized External Hard Drive
  7. LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive
  8. Toshiba Canvio Advance Portable External Hard Drive

1. WD My Passport Portable External Hard Drive

Overall Rank: 8.7 out of 10
Warranty: 3-year limited manufacturer warranty
Best Place to Buy: Amazon

WD My Passport Portable External Hard Drive is a reliable and trusted hard drive at an affordable price. It has a stylish design with three colors to choose from. It comes in red, blue, and black colors.

You can choose a capacity of up to 5TB. And it will have enough space to back up all your data no matter how much.

The drive comes only with a USB-A connector. You will need to buy a USB-A to USB-C adapter to use it with new laptop models.

WD My Passport Portable External Hard Drive works with both PC and Mac. To use it with Mac a USB-C adapter is needed and also you should reformat it to a Mac compatible file system.

One of the best features of this external hard drive is the high data security and privacy it gives you.

This drive comes with AES 256-bit hardware encryption. You just need to set the password for encryption using WD Discovery software which is embedded in the drive. Once the password is set, your data is secure and only accessible with the password.

WD My Passport External Hard Drive Backup Software
WD Backup Software
WD My Passport External Hard Drive Discovery Software
WD Discovery Software

If security is critical for you then get this external hard drive. The drive comes with a 3-year limited warranty, which gives you peace of mind.

The drive comes with auto backup software. You will be able to schedule backups daily, weekly, or monthly.

Get further details and buy now on Amazon >>>

Product Specifications

FeatureAdvertised SpecsActual Specs
(if different)
Sequential Read Speed130MB/s*124MB/s*
Sequential Write Speed130MB/s*124MB/s*
Available Capacities1TB*, 2TB*, 4TB*, 5TB*931GB*, 1.82TB*, 3.64TB*, 4.55TB*
Supported Operating SystemsWindows 8.1 and 10
macOS (when reformatted)
Connector TypeOnly USB-A connector
SizeAverage size.
DurabilityNot shock resistant
Temperature ToleranceOperating temperature: 5°C to 35°C When not functioning: -20°C to 65°C
EncryptionAES 256-bit Hardware encryption
Warranty3-year limited manufacturer warranty
Software includedWD Discovery, WD Backup, WD Drive Utilities
*Read advertised capacity vs actual capacity.

Overall Rating and Ranking

FeatureMy RatingReason
Durability7 out of 10Not shock resistant
Price9 out of 10Affordable price
Connector8 out of 10Only USB-A connector
Size8 out of 10Size is average for external hard drives.
Manufacturer10 out of 10WD is a very reliable brand.
Drive Encryption10 out of 10Hardware encryption
Overall Rating8.7 out of 10Average of all the ratings

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • High data security and privacy with hardware encryption
  • Affordable price
  • High storage capacity up to 5TB
  • Compatible with PC and Mac (reformat for Mac)
  • Modern design

Cons

  • Not shock resistant
  • You have to buy a USB-C adapter
  • Average performance

2. G-Technology ArmorATD Rugged Portable External Hard Drive

Overall Rank: 8.7 out of 10
Warranty: 3-year limited manufacturer warranty
Best Place to Buy: Amazon

G-Technology ArmorATD External Hard Drive is built for all-terrain and extreme conditions of use. This is one of the tough and most durable external hard drives in the market.

G-Technology ArmorATD Rugged Portable External Hard Drive

The drive can take a drop of 1m. It is shock, dust, and rain resistant. The perfect storage device for outdoor use. You can use it when traveling and on-the-go. Even when using at home, you have peace of mind that the drive will not get damaged easily.

It can even survive a car crash of 1000 lb. This external hard drive is built for filmmakers.

With a capacity of up to 5TB, it is safe storage for your data. You can backup all your data and it will be safe and protected.

G-Technology ArmorATD Rugged Portable External Hard Drive

G-Technology ArmorATD External Hard Drive has a great performance. The maximum transfer speed can reach up to 140MB/s. That means you can transfer 8.2GB of data in one minute, and 82GB in ten minutes.

The drive comes with a USB-C connector cable which works with all the latest laptop models. A USB-C to USB-A adapter is included to help you connect to older laptop models.

The drive is designed to work perfectly with PC and MAC. Just connect and use it from a Windows machine or MacOS machine. No reformatting is needed.

G-Technology ArmorATD Rugged Portable External Hard Drive

With all these protection layers against shock, dust, and rain, the size of the drive is a little bigger. If you want a small external hard drive, you can check other models.

The drive is a little bit expensive. But with the features it offers, the price is reasonable.

Get further details and buy now on Amazon >>>

Product Specifications

FeatureAdvertised SpecsActual Specs
(if different)
Sequential Read Speed140MB/s*133MB/s*
Sequential Write Speed140MB/s*133MB/s*
Available Capacities1TB*, 2TB*, 4TB*, 5TB*931GB*, 1.82TB*, 3.64TB*, 4.55TB*
Supported Operating SystemsmacOS 10.12+
Windows 10, 8.1, 7
Connector TypeUSB-C connector with USB-A adapter
SizeAbove average size.
DurabilityShock and crash resistant Rain and dust resistant
Temperature Tolerance
EncryptionSoftware encryption only
Warranty3-year limited manufacturer warranty
Software included
*Read advertised capacity vs actual capacity.

Overall Rating and Ranking

FeatureMy RatingReason
Durability10 out of 10Shock and crash-resistant Rain and dust resistant
Price8 out of 10A bit expensive
Connector10 out of 10USB-C connector with USB-A adapter
Size7 out of 10Size is above average
Manufacturer10 out of 10WD is is very reliable.
Drive Encryption7 out of 10Software encryption only
Overall Rating8.7 out of 10Average of all the ratings

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Extremely tough and durable. Shock, crash, water and dust resistant
  • Perfect for traveling and outdoor use
  • Great performance
  • High storage capacity up to 5TB
  • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • Can connect to all new and old laptops models

Cons

  • No data security or privacy, no hardware encryption
  • A bit expensive
  • Size is larger than average
  • Military style and look

3. WD My Passport Ultra External Hard Drive

Overall Rank: 8.6 out of 10
Warranty: 3-year limited manufacturer warranty (read WD warranty policy)
Best Place to Buy: Amazon

WD My Passport Ultra is one of the best choices when choosing an external hard drive. It comes with a set of nice features.

It has a USB-C connector that fits many newer models of laptops. The latest models of laptops all come with one or more USB-C ports. A USB-A adapter is also included with the drive, to use with old USB-A ports.

WD My Passport Ultra External Hard Drive

It has a beautiful metal cover on top and plastic at the bottom and comes in two colors, silver and blue. You can choose your favorite color.

This drive is compatible with Windows and Mac. You can choose either Mac or PC. The only difference between these two versions is the default file system. The Mac version is formatted with HFS or HFS+ and the PC version is formatted with NTFS.

Thus you can use any of these two versions with both PC and Mac. Except that you need to reformat the drive to work with the new operating system.

WD My Passport Ultra External Hard Drive Connectors

One of the best features of this external hard drive is its AES 256-bit hardware encryption. You need to install WD Discovery software to set the password for the encryption.

It provides great security and privacy for your data. When encrypted, your data will not be readable by other people. When you connect the drive, it will ask for the password, and only after the correct password is entered, you will be able to see the files.

You can rely on WD My Passport Ultra. It comes with a 3-year limited manufacturer warranty.

WD My Passport Ultra External Hard Drive

The drive comes with WD Discovery software which will be used to set the password for drive encryption. Also, WD Backup is included. You can backup your computer to the external hard drive using this software. The backup could be scheduled hourly, daily, or monthly.

Get further details and buy now on Amazon >>>

Product Specifications

FeatureAdvertised SpecsActual Specs
(if different)
Sequential Read Speed130MB/s based on tests
Sequential Write Speed125MB/s based on tests
Available Capacities1TB*, 2TB*, 4TB*, 5TB*931GB*, 1.82TB*, 3.64TB*, 4.55TB*
Supported Operating SystemsWindows and macOS
Connector TypeUSB-C connector with USB-A adapter
SizeAverage size.
DurabilityNot shock resistant
Temperature ToleranceOperating temperature: 5°C to 35°C
When not functioning: -20°C to 65°C
EncryptionAES 256-bit Hardware encryption
Warranty3-year limited manufacturer warranty
Software includedWD Discovery, WD Backup, WD Drive Utilities
*Read advertised capacity vs actual capacity.

Overall Rating and Ranking

FeatureMy RatingReason
Durability7 out of 10Not shock resistant
Price7 out of 10The price is a bit expensive.
Connector10 out of 10Supports both USB-C and USB-A
Size8 out of 10Size is average for external hard drives.
Manufacturer10 out of 10WD is a very reliable brand.
Drive Encryption10 out of 10Hardware encryption
Overall Rating8.6 out of 10Average of all the ratings

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • High data security and privacy with hardware encryption
  • High storage capacity up to 5TB
  • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • Connects to old and new laptop models as well as Macbooks
  • Modern design

Cons

  • Not shock resistant
  • Average performance
  • A bit expensive

4. WD Elements Portable External Hard Drive

Overall Rank: 8.2 out of 10
Warranty: 2-year limited manufacturer warranty
Best Place to Buy: Amazon

WD Elements External Hard Drive has great performance and is a very reliable hard drive. No heating up and no noise when in use.

WD Elements External Hard Drive

The drive comes with the highest capacities you can get for a consumer hard drive. You can choose 1TB up to 14TB. It has a portable version and a desktop version. The portable version has capacities of 1TB up to 5TB. Then it gets big and can not be portable. WD designed higher capacities as a desktop drive, which starts at 3TB up to 14TB.

WD Elements External Hard Drive

As the capacity goes up, the transfer speed becomes faster. For 8TB desktop drive, for example, tests show a transfer speed of 170MB/s which is quite high for external hard drives.

The drive works perfectly with PC and Mac. It comes with the default file system of NTFS. If you want to use it with Mac and Time Machine, you have to reformat it to a Mac compatible file system.

WD Elements Desktop External Hard Drive

It comes with a USB-A connector. The connector will fit old laptop models, but with newer laptops that do not have a USB-A port, you have to buy a USB-A to USB-C adapter separately.

Get further details and buy now on Amazon >>>

Product Specifications

FeatureAdvertised SpecsActual Specs
(if different)
Sequential Read Speed130MB/s to 170MB/s based on tests
Sequential Write Speed130MB/s to 170MB/s based on tests
Available Capacities1TB* up to 14TB*931GB* up to 12.73TB*
Supported Operating SystemsWindows 7, 8.1, 10
macOS (when reformatted)
Connector TypeOnly USB-A connector
SizeAverage size.
DurabilityNot shock resistant
Temperature ToleranceOperating temperature: 5°C to 35°C
When not in use: -20°C to 65°C
EncryptionSoftware encryption only.
Warranty2-year limited manufacturer warranty
Software included
*Read advertised capacity vs actual capacity.

Overall Rating and Ranking

FeatureMy RatingReason
Durability7 out of 10Not shock resistant
Price9 out of 10Very affordable price.
Connector8 out of 10Only USB-A connector
Size8 out of 10Size is average for external hard drives.
Manufacturer10 out of 10WD is a very reliable brand.
Drive Encryption7 out of 10Only software encryption applicable
Overall Rating8.2 out of 10Average of all the ratings

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Great performance
  • High storage capacity up to 5TB for portable version and up to 14TB for desktop version
  • Compatible with PC and Mac (reformat for Mac)
  • Modern design

Cons

  • Not shock resistant
  • No data security or privacy, no hardware encryption
  • You have to buy a USB-C adapter

5. Silicon Power Rugged Portable External Hard Drive

Overall Rank: 8.2 out of 10
Warranty: 3-year limited manufacturer warranty
Best Place to Buy: Amazon

Silicon Power Rugged External Hard Drive is a tough and durable hard drive. It is shock and rain resistant. It can also operate in a wider range of high and low temperatures (5°C up to 55°C).

The drive can withstand a drop of 3m free fall. It has a shockproof rubber and plastic enclosure. You can use it when traveling or on-the-go. The drive has an internal suspension system to keep it safe from shocks.

Silicon Power Rugged External Hard Drive

It is also scratch-resistant. All these features come at an affordable price.

The drive has a great performance. It can give you a high storage capacity of up to 5TB. It is perfect for backing up your files.

The drive works with PC and Mac. And it is specially designed with gaming in mind and to be used with PS4 and Xbox One.

The default file system of the drive is NTFS. If you want to use it with Mac, you should reformat the drive to a Mac compatible file system.

Silicon Power Rugged External Hard Drive

The drive comes with a USB-A connector cable. It works with older laptop models and some newer models. The latest laptops may not have USB-A port, so you will need to buy a USB-A to USB-C adapter.

Get further details and buy now on Amazon >>>

Product Specifications

FeatureAdvertised SpecsActual Specs
(if different)
Sequential Read Speed135MB/s based on tests
Sequential Write Speed130MB/s based on tests
Available Capacities1TB*, 2TB*, 4TB*, 5TB*931GB*, 1.82TB*, 3.64TB*, 4.55TB*
Supported Operating SystemsWindows 7, 8.1 and 10
macOS (when reformatted)
Linux
Connector TypeOnly USB-A connector
SizeAverage size.
DurabilityShock resistant Rain resistant
Temperature ToleranceOperating Temperature 5°C up to 55°C Storage Temperature -40°C up to 70°C
EncryptionSoftware encryption only
Warranty3-year limited manufacturer warranty
Software included
*Read advertised capacity vs actual capacity.

Overall Rating and Ranking

FeatureMy RatingReason
Durability10 out of 10Shock-resistant Rain resistant
Price9 out of 10Affordable price
Connector8 out of 10Only USB-A connector
Size8 out of 10Size is average for external hard drives.
Manufacturer7 out of 10Silicon Power is reliable.
Drive Encryption7 out of 10Software encryption only
Overall Rating8.2 out of 10Average of all the ratings

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very durable, shock and rain resistant
  • Great performance
  • High storage capacity up to 5TB
  • Compatible with PC and Mac (reformat required for Mac)
  • Modern design

Cons

  • No data security or privacy, no hardware encryption
  • You have to buy a USB-C adapter

6. ADATA HD710 Pro Ruggedized External Hard Drive

Overall Rank: 8.2 out of 10
Warranty: 3-year limited manufacturer warranty
Best Place to Buy: Amazon

ADATA HD710 Pro External Hard Drive is the military-grade tough drive. It is designed for extreme conditions.

This external hard drive can cope with 1.5m drop, 2m water depth and it is totally dustproof. You can use it when hiking, biking, or even diving.

ADATA HD710 Pro External Hard Drive

If you need a storage device to get to the field and use it when traveling, this is the perfect device for you. It is designed for outdoor use and recording your adventures with peace of mind. Your data will be safe.

It is equipped with G-Shock vibration sensing technology, which will turn off the drive when it is dropped or shocked.

It has very good performance. The transfer speed of the drive reaches a maximum of 130MB/s. That means it can transfer 7.6GB of data in one minute.

ADATA HD710 Pro External Hard Drive

ADATA HD710 Pro External Hard Drive comes in different colors. You can choose black color, yellow color or camo. It has a 2TB MAC version which is specially designed for MAC and perfectly fits with the color of your MacBook.

Get further details and buy now on Amazon >>>

Product Specifications

FeatureAdvertised SpecsActual Specs
(if different)
Sequential Read Speed130MB/s based on tests
Sequential Write Speed130MB/s based on tests
Available Capacities1TB*, 2TB*, 4TB*, 5TB*931GB*, 1.82TB*, 3.64TB*, 4.55TB*
Supported Operating SystemsWindows 7, 8.1 and 10
macOS (when reformatted)
Linux
Connector TypeOnly USB-A connector
SizeAverage size.
DurabilityShock resistant Water and dust resistant
Temperature ToleranceOperating Temperature 5°C up to 50°C
EncryptionSoftware encryption only
Warranty3-year limited manufacturer warranty
Software included
*Read advertised capacity vs actual capacity.

Overall Rating and Ranking

FeatureMy RatingReason
Durability10 out of 10Shock-resistant Water and dust resistant
Price9 out of 10Affordable price
Connector8 out of 10Only USB-A connector
Size8 out of 10Size is average for external hard drives.
Manufacturer7 out of 10ADATA is reliable.
Drive Encryption7 out of 10Software encryption only
Overall Rating8.2 out of 10Average of all the ratings

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Extremely durable, shock, water and dust resistant
  • Perfect for traveling and outdoor use
  • Great performance
  • High storage capacity up to 5TB
  • Compatible with PC and Mac (reformat required for Mac)

Cons

  • No data security or privacy, no hardware encryption
  • You have to buy a USB-C adapter separately
  • Military style and look

7. LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

Overall Rank: 8 out of 10
Warranty: 2-year limited manufacturer warranty
Best Place to Buy: Amazon

LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive is the ultimate strength and durability an external hard drive can offer. It is an extremely reliable external hard drive.

It is drop resistant up to 1.2m, and crash-resistant up to 1Ton car crash. Also, it is dust and rain resistant. You can use it while traveling and on-the-go. The drive is able to cope with any extreme condition. If you are working in the field and need a portable storage device, this external hard drive is for you.

LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

It has a good transfer speed and easy to use. And you can use it to backup all your files. With a capacity of up to 5TB you will have enough space for any amount of data.

LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive is compatible with PC and Mac.

The drive comes with a USB-C connector. You can connect its USB-C cable to USB-C or Thunderbolt port and it works perfectly fine. It also includes a USB-C to USB-A adapter to use with old laptops.

LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

It has a 2-year limited manufacturer warranty and a 2-year Rescue Data Recovery service.

Get further details and buy now on Amazon >>>

Product Specifications

FeatureAdvertised SpecsActual Specs
(if different)
Sequential Read Speed130MB/s*124MB/s*
Sequential Write Speed130MB/s*124MB/s*
Available Capacities1TB*, 2TB*, 4TB*, 5TB*931GB*, 1.82TB*, 3.64TB*, 4.55TB*
Supported Operating SystemsWindows and macOS
Connector TypeUSB-C connector with USB-A adapter
SizeAverage size.
DurabilityShock-resistant, crash resistant, rain and dust resistant
Temperature Tolerance
EncryptionSoftware encryption only.
Warranty2-year limited manufacturer warranty 2-year rescue data recovery service
Software included
*Read advertised capacity vs actual capacity.

Overall Rating and Ranking

FeatureMy RatingReason
Durability10 out of 10Shock, crash, dust and rain resistant
Price5 out of 10The price is expensive.
Connector10 out of 10Supports both USB-C and USB-A
Size7 out of 10Size is above average for external hard drives.
Manufacturer9 out of 10LaCie is a child company of Seagate. A reliable manufacturer.
Drive Encryption7 out of 10Software encryption only.
Overall Rating8 out of 10Average of all the ratings

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Extremely durable. Shock-resistant up to 1.2m, dust and rain resistant
  • Crash resistant up to 1Ton car crash
  • Perfect for outdoor use and traveling
  • High storage capacity up to 5TB
  • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • Connects to old and new laptop models as well as Macbooks

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • No data security or privacy, no hardware encryption
  • Average performance

8. Toshiba Canvio Advance Portable External Hard Drive

Overall Rank: 8 out of 10
Warranty: 2-year limited manufacturer warranty (read Toshiba Warranty Info)
Best Place to Buy: Amazon

Toshiba Canvio Advance External Hard Drive is a reliable and high performing hard drive. The speed and performance is the main strength of this hard drive. You will easily backup your files and access them when you want. The high performance makes it enjoyable for you.

Toshiba Canvio Advance External Hard Drive

You can use this drive for several hours without heating up. The drive is amazingly quite.

Toshiba Canvio Advance has a sleek design. It comes with a glossy surface and vibrant colors, and you can choose your favorite one.

Toshiba offers backup and password protection software for this drive. The software will work on Windows only.

You can use this drive with Mac computers, but the main functionality and benefits are available for PC. If you decide to use it with Mac, you will need to reformat the drive to a Mac compatible file system.

Toshiba Canvio Advance External Hard Drive

You can also use it with PS4 or Xbox One.

The drive comes with a USB-A connector out of the box. It will work with most of the laptops, but some newer laptop models don’t have a USB-A port. You will need to buy a USB-A to USB-C adapter separately.

Get further details and buy now on Amazon >>>

Product Specifications

FeatureAdvertised SpecsActual Specs
(if different)
Sequential Read Speed145MB/s based on tests
Sequential Write Speed140MB/s based on tests
Available Capacities1TB*, 2TB*, 3TB*, 4TB*931GB*, 1.82TB*, 2.73TB*, 3.64TB*
Supported Operating SystemsWindows 7, 8.1 and 10
macOS (when reformatted)
Connector TypeOnly USB-A connector
SizeAverage size.
DurabilityNot shock resistant
Temperature Tolerance
EncryptionPassword protection software (Windows only)
Warranty2-year limited manufacturer warranty
Software includedPassword protection and backup software for Windows only
*Read advertised capacity vs actual capacity.

Overall Rating and Ranking

FeatureMy RatingReason
Durability7 out of 10Not shock resistant
Price8 out of 10Average price for external hard drives
Connector8 out of 10Only USB-A connector
Size8 out of 10Size is average for external hard drives.
Manufacturer9 out of 10Toshiba is a reliable brand.
Drive Encryption8 out of 10Password protection software for Windows only
Overall Rating8 out of 10Average of all the ratings

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Great performance
  • High storage capacity up to 4TB
  • Compatible with PC and Mac (reformat for Mac)
  • Modern design with beautiful colors to choose

Cons

  • Not shock resistant
  • Password protection and backup software available for Windows only
  • You have to buy a USB-C adapter

Conclusion

I have listed the 8 best external hard drives. I did my best to properly answers the question of what is the best external hard drive.

Any of the listed external hard drives could be the best choice. They are different in features. Some of them are faster than others. And some of them are more durable than other drives.

Please go through them and see which of them fits your needs and requirements. For example, if speed and performance are critical, check the ones with the highest speed and performance. Or if durability and toughness matters, select the most durable external hard drive.

You can also check the price for each one and choose the one that fits your budget. Although the difference in price between the listed external hard drives is not huge.

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And if you have any questions or comments, leave them below and I would be more than happy to help you out.


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5 thoughts on “What Is The Best External Hard Drive?”

  1. I have the passport hard drive so. can vouch for it. It was really simple to install, has a ton of memory space and seems pretty durable. I have had external hardrives break on me in the past.
    Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  2. Hi,

    I wish I had read this article in advance. I bought an external hard drive a week ago and I was a bit puzzled at the shop. To be honest I got one randomly.

    Thanks for this interesting presentation. If I need a external drive in the future I will come back for a review.

    Reply
  3. A very comprehensive post and we’ll written too to explain what the best hard drives in the market are. I’m happy to learn about it and I would be very glad to buy one because I tend to save fils that are very heavy. I want something quite reliable that’s why I made my research down here. Happy to learn this. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Hello there, I recently got a new PC for my son and he has been complaining about wanting to get an external hard drive and I really don’t know which to get your him considering the lots of harddrive present today in the market, I would rather take my time to make search. I actually like the assistance gotten from this article and I’ll ask for his opinion. Cheers

    Reply

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