Seagate Backup Plus/Slim portable drive review: A fast portable drive with massive storage space

The Social feature provides a way to share your media on social-networking sites, including Flickr, Facebook, and YouTube, and, conversely, back up media from those sites to the portable drive. Both the Share and Save functions worked well in my testing and were very straightforward to use.

And finally, you can also back up content stored on your mobile device with the Mobile Backup function. You can do that with the Fast by using the free, downloadable Seagate Mobile Backup app that's available for both iOS and Android devices.

Other than the backup software, the new Backup Plus/Slim drive also include a two-year 200GB subscription to Microsoft OneDrive online storage, a deal that normally would cost another $95. You will need to register the drive to activate the OneDrive account and will need to pay to keep using it after to years.

Unlike the WD My Passport, the Seagate Backup Plus Slim doesn't come with an option to secure the contents of the drive. This means if you lose it, anybody can access your information.

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The new Seagate Dashboard software works very well and is especially useful for Windows users. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

Performance

Compared with the Backup Plus Fast, the new Backup Plus/Slim is just about half as fast, which is to be expected since the Slim is just a single-volume drive while the Fast is a RAID-0 drive. Compared with other similarly configured portable drives, however, the new Backup Plus/Slim is very impressive.

I tested both the 2TB and 4TB versions of the drive and they were quite impressive. Via USB 3.0, the 4TB registered the sustained copy speeds of 114MBps and 121MBps or writing and reading, respectively, and the 2TB drive scored even slightly better at 119MBps and 125MBps, respectively. Among single-volume hard drive-based portable drives, these were top performances.

CNET Labs external hard drive USB 3.0 performance scores (MBps)

Samsung Portable T1
158.3
292.42
Seagate Backup Plus FAST (RAID 0)
222.5
232.74
Brinell Drive SSD
156.4
220.2
Seagate Backup Plus Desktop
150.9
180.45
Seagate Expansion
125.2
127.93
Seagate Backup Plus Slim (Summer 2015)
118.8
125.35
Seagate Backup Plus (Summer 2015)
114.48
120.84
Buffalo MiniStation Extreme
110.3
118.82
Toshiba Canvio Slim II
118.8
118.49
WD My Passport Ultra
118.5
117.87
WD My Passport Ultra (Spring 2015)
110.2
117.34
SiliconPower Armor A60
104.3
114.48
Seagate Slim
110.4
111.49
LaCie Christofle Sphere
105.5
111.43
ioSafe SoloPro G3
109.1
110.8
WD My Password Slim
107.7
107.89
WD Elements
95.7
102.15

Legend:

Write
Read

Note:

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

With USB 2.0, the drive averaged between 28MBps and 30MBps. So to get the most out of its performance, you do want to use it with USB 3.0. Like the Fast, the Backup Plus/Slim also worked very well in my testing, emitting no noise, vibrations, or heat.

Conclusion

The Seagate Backup Plus/Slim is one of the most convenient ways to backup your data, at home or on the go. The fact that the drive has the top capacity, especially the 4TB version, means the storage gap between a portable drive and desktop is no longer an issue. Sure, you can get desktop drive with even larger capacities, but 4TB is a lot of space and most of us don't really need more than than when on the go.

My only concern with the drive is the fact that it comes with a short 2-year warranty and the lack of security. For this reason, if you intend to store, backup sensitive data, I'd recommend the

WD My Passport Ultra

instead. This drive is a tad slower but comes with security feature and a longer 3-year warranty.

Other than that, the new Seagate Backup Plus Slim is quite an excellent buy. And for those wanting to carry the most with them for a long trip, on a drive that's compact enough to fit in their pocket, the 4TB Seagate Backup Plus is currently the only choice.

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