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

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The fast and affordable Seagate Backup Plus/Slim has the highest capacity of any portable drive. The drive includes helpful backup software and a free two-year 200GB subscription to Microsoft OneDrive online storage.

The Bad The two-year warranty is short and there's no security option to protect the contents of the drive against unauthorized access.

The Bottom Line Fast and affordable, the Seagate Backup Plus/Slim is one of the best deals on the market if you want want lots of storage space on the go.

8.1 Overall
  • Setup and ease of use 9.0
  • Service and support 6.0
  • Performance 9.0
  • Features 7.0

Editors' note, July 14, 2015: This review was originally published March 21, 2014, and has been updated with impressions of the 4TB Backup Plus portable drive.

The newly refreshed Seagate Backup Plus/Slim portable drive gives you top storage space and fast performance. It's also affordable.

Available in four capacities of 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB, the drive currently costs just $60, $61, $89 and $199, respectively. (Note that the newly-released 4TB drive's street price is expected to be lower.) And in my testing, the new drive proved to be one of the fastest of its type. What's more, the drive includes helpful backup software for your local data, social-media content, and even mobile devices.

Note that the 4TB is largest capacity for a compact single-volume portable drive, rivaling many desktop drives that are a few time larger in physical size. The drive is ideal for those wanting to carry their entire music, home video library with them on the go.

On the downside, the Backup Plus/Slim drives lack security and has only a two-year warranty, which is shorter than many others on the market, including other drives from Seagate. If you can live with that, the new Slim makes an excellent choice. Check out our list of best portable drives for other options.

The 4TB Seagate Backup Plus (right) is signifcantly thicker than the Seagate Backup Plus Slim. Josh Miller/CNET


The new Seagate Backup Plus released in summer 2015 has two editions, the 0.5-inch thin is called Backup Plus Slim and available up to 2TB in four colors including black, silver, blue and red. The slightly thicker (0.8-inch) 4TB version is called Seagate Backup Plus is available only in black. Other that than, the two are essentially the same.These new drives are to replace the original Backup Plus Slim first released in 2014. This is part of Seagate's effort to completely transform its product lines with the new logo, introduced during CES 2015.

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is about the same size as other recent portable drives on the market, such as the recently review WD My Passport Ultra, and is one of the thinnest portable drive that offers up to 2TB capacity. The 4TB Seagate Backup Plus, though a bit thicker, is the first compact single-volume portable drive with 4TB of storage space. Normally, you need a much larger desktop drive to have more than 2TB.

Note that Seagate also has the Backup Plus Fast that also offers 4TB, but this drive includes two internal drive on the inside, instead of just one.

Like most portable drives, the all the new Backup Plus/Slim portable drive is bus-powered. This means it needs only one Micro-USB 3.0 port and comes with a standard USB cable included. This cable will take care of both data and power connections when the drive is connected to a computer's USB port. In my testing, the 2TB version of the Slim worked well with all USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports I tried it with.

The drive has an aluminum casing that makes it feels very solid, though still quite light.

Seagate Backup Plus/Slim

Drive type 2.5-inch external USB hard drive
Connector options USB 3.0, USB 2.0-compatible
Dimensions 500GB, 1TB, 2TB: 4.5x3x0.5 inches (14x13x5cm), | 4TB: 4.5x3.1x0.8 inches (14x13x5cm)
Weight 500GB, 1TB, 2TB: 5.6 ounces (159g) | 4TB: 8.6 ounces (200g)
Available capacities 4TB, 2TB, 1TB, 500GB
Review capacity 4TB, 2TB
Warranty 2 years
OSes supported Microsoft Windows (XP or later), Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later
Software included Seagate Dashboard (Mac and Windows)


Out of the box, the drive is formatted in the NTFS file system and works right away with a Windows computer. However, you can download and install an NTFS driver for Mac to make it work with Macs without reformatting. If you want to reformat it into HFS+ to work natively with Macs, you can use an HFS+ driver for Windows to make your Windows computers read and write to the Mac file system.

The Backup Plus Slim is available in four different colors. Josh Miller/CNET

Like the Backup Plus Fast, the Backup Plus/Slim include the downloadable 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.

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