Seagate Slim review: A fast, compact drive for both Windows and Mac

Helpful Seagate Dashboard software
The Seagate Slim comes preloaded with Seagate Dashboard software for both Windows and Mac machines. The software offers three main functions: Protect, Share, and Save. The Protect 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.

The Share feature allows uploading files to social-networking sites, including Flickr, Facebook, and YouTube. And the Save part does the opposite, enabling you to back up photos currently stored in your Facebook or Flickr account onto the drive.

The software worked as expected in my testing and is very straightforward. Backup files are basically the exact copies stored in a folder called Seagate Dashboard 2.0 on the drive. You do need to dig deep in this folder to find the backups you need in case of recovery. Note that the Mac version of the software doesn't include the Protect part. This is because Mac users are better off using Time Machine with the drive.

The Seagate Slim includes software drivers to make the drive work cross Windows and Mac platforms without reformatting.
The Seagate Slim includes software drivers to make the drive work with both the Windows and Mac platforms without reformatting. Dong Ngo/CNET

Performance
Despite the fact that it houses an internal drive that spins at 5,400rpm (the 320GB version of the GoFlex Slim spins at 7,200rpm), the new Seagate Slim did well in my testing. When used with USB 3.0, it offered the sustained speed of 110MBps for writing and 111.5MBps for reading. These put it among the top four fastest portable drives on the market.

CNET Labs external hard drive USB 3.0 performance scores (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
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 Passport Slim
107.89 
107.7 
Canvio Connect
97.1 
97.4 
Seagate Backup Plus
110.1 
90.9 
Toshiba Canvio Desk
103.74 
88.9 
LaCie Minimus
104.9 
87.7 
LaCie FastKey
115.5 
87.1 
G-Drive Slim
100.3 
86.7 
WD My Passport Edge
97.68 
82.6 
Seagate GoFlex Slim
101.9 
82.4 
HP Portable Hard Drive
83.65 
69.4 

CNET Labs USB 2.0 external hard drive performance scores (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
WD My Passport Slim
39.59 
31.3 
G-Technology G-Connect
31.3 
30.9 
Seagate Backup Plus
33 
28.74 
WD My Passport Ultra
33.67 
28.4 
Seagate Slim
33.43 
28.4 
Seagate GoFlex Slim
37.3 
27.7 
Toshiba Canvio Slimm II
32.58 
26.5 
Silicon Power Armor A15
32.64 
26.4 
Toshiba Canvio Desk
32.71 
25.8 
G-Drive Slim
32.74 
25.6 
WD My Passport Edge
32.69 
25.1 

When used with USB 2.0, it registered 28MBps and 33MBps for writing and reading, respectively, which is about the average on the charts.

Overall, the Seagate Slim is a very fast portable drive, and it worked well in my tests.

Conclusion
There are many portable drives with the "Slim" designation on the market, but the Seagate Slim is truly the thinnest and most compact among its kind. The drive's fast performance and helpful software mean that it'll make a great companion for travelers with a small laptop. Its minor shortcomings, namely the 500GB cap and the short two-year warranty, can be overlooked thanks to its affordable price of just $60. If you definitely need more storage space, the Seagate Backup Plus or the WD My Passport Slim are a good alternative, offering up to 1TB and 2TB, respectively.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Seagate Slim (500GB, USB 3.0)

Part Number: STCD500100
MSRP: $129.99 Low Price: $160.06 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Hard Drive Type external hard drive
  • Capacity 500 GB