Seagate Backup Plus Slim review: Fastest and skinniest 2TB portable drive

Like the Backup Plus Fast, the Backup Plus Slim comes preloaded with the new version of the Seagate Dashboard backup software. There are three main backup functions: PC Backup, Mobile Backup, and Social. The PC Backup part is basically the local backup; here you can either customize real-time local backups or let the software, by default, pick what should be backed up for you. After that, the drive will back up continuously when changes have been made to data. In my trials, this function worked very well. Note that this part is available only for Windows. The Mac version of the software has only the other two functions.

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.

Additionally, you can use the Seagate Dashboard to back up content to a cloud backup service, though for this you do need a subscription.

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.

The new Seagate Dashboard software works very well and is especially useful for Windows users.
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 Slim is very impressive.

In my testing with USB 3.0, the drive registered a sustained write speed of 119MBps and a sustained read speed of 120MBps, being the fastest drive of its type that I've reviewed. In fact it is behind only the Fast and the SSD-based Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+.

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

Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+
289.53
242.9
Seagate Backup Plus Fast
232.74
222.5
Seagate Backup Plus Slim
120.21
119.3
Toshiba Canvio Slim II
118.49
118.8
WD My Passport Ultra
117.87
118.5
Silicon Power Armor A15
112.09
113
Seagate Slim
111.49
110.4
IoSafe Solo G3
110.98
109.1
WD My Password Slim
107.89
107.7
LaCie Christofle Sphere
111.43
105.5
Canvio Connect
97.1
97.4
LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt
112.23
92.29
Seagate Backup Plus
110.1
90.94
Drobo Mini
76.79
59.26

Legend:

Read
Write

Note:

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

With USB 2.0, the drive averaged between 25MBps 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 Backup Plus Slim is more than just a standard portable drive: it gives zippy speeds, has top capacity, and is affordable. The included Seagate Dashboard backup software adds a lot of value to the drive and makes its price tag of just around $120 for 2TB a great deal, especially for Windows users. If you're not taken aback by the relatively short 2-year warranty and the lack of security features, this is the portable storage to get. For better security and a longer warranty, however, the WD My Passport Slim is a great alternative.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Hard Drive Type external hard drive
  • Capacity 1 TB