Seagate Backup Plus Desktop external hard drive review: Top capacity, fast speed, friendly pricing

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The Good The Seagate Backup Plus Desktop is capacious, fast, flexible, and affordable. The drive includes valuable backup software.

The Bad The Seagate Dashboard backup software doesn't allow for keeping multiple versions of data, nor does it work with non-Seagate drives. The two-year warranty is short for a drive of such capacity.

The Bottom Line Fast and massive, the Seagate Backup Plus Desktop is an excellent backup drive for any USB 3.0-enabled computer or server.

8.2 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Support 6

The Seagate Backup Plus Desktop is an excellent alternative to its little brother, the Backup Plus portable drive . The new storage device boasts a massive amount of storage space -- up to 5TB -- and speedy performance.

Other than that, it shares the same Seagate Dashboard backup application as other recent external hard drives from Seagate, as well as a piece of driver software that makes it work with both Mac and Windows right out of the box, without reformatting.

Available in four capacities of 2TB, 3TB, 4TB and 5TB that currently cost just $90 (£54.99), $130 (£77.99), $160 (£112.40), and $220 (£177), respectively, the Seagate Backup Plus Desktop is a great deal for anyone with a USB 3.0-enabled computer. It's an easy recommendation. (This model is not currently available in Australia, but the prices directly convert to AU$95, AU$140, AU$170, and AU$235.)

The Backup Plus Desktop comes with a micro-USB 3.0 port and a power port. Dong Ngo/CNET

Straightforward design, flexible platform support

The Backup Plus Desktop comes in a typical look for a desktop external storage device that houses a single internal hard drive: it's like a brick that's slightly larger than a standard 3.5-inch internal hard drive. On one side, it has a micro-USB 3.0 port and a power port. The drive includes a standard USB 3.0 cable and a small power adapter. Because 3.5-inch hard drives use a lot more power than can be supplied by a USB port, the drive, as well as all desktop external storage devices, is not bus-powered and requires a separate power adapter to work.

(Note: This is a latest revision of the Backup Plus Desktop with the model number STDTx000100, with x being 2, 3, 4, or 5 to represent the number of TB. There was a prior version of the Backup Plus Desktop that carried model numbers starting with "STCA" and a maximum capacity of 4TB.)

The drive's chassis is made of plastic but still it feels very solid. On its sides and bottom, there are little ventilation holes to keep the internal drive cool. The internal hard drive is sealed in, and you can't replace it yourself, which is a normal design for most external hard drives.


Device type 3.5-inch external USB hard drive
Connector options USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Dimensions 6.22 by 4.88 by 1.73 inches
Weight 2.38 pounds
Available capacities 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 5TB
Capacity/Interface of test unit 5TB/USB 3.0
OSes supported Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8), Mac OS 10.4.6 or later
Software included Seagate Dashboard Agent (Mac and Windows), NTFS driver for Mac
Warranty Two-year

Out of the box, the Backup Plus Desktop is pre-formatted in NTFS for Windows. It, however, includes the NTFS driver software for Mac. Once installed, this software enables Macs to read and write to the drive. Without this software, Macs generally can just read NTFS file system.

Note that there's also Mac version of the Backup Plus Desktop that comes pre-formatted in HFS+ for Macs, which conversely comes with HFS+ driver software for Windows.

Essentially, regardless of what version you get, you can use the Backup Plus Desktop with either platform without reformatting. But if you want to reformat, you still can, just as with any other computer drive.

Helpful backup software, short warranty

Just as in the case of the recently-reviewed Backup Plus Fast , the new Backup Plus Desktop comes preloaded with the latest version of the Seagate Dashboard backup software. The software has three main backup functions: PC Backup, Mobile Backup, and Social.

The PC Backup part is basically the local backup that allows you to either select the files and folders you want to back up, or you can let the software, by default, pick what should be backed up for you. After that, the drive will back up automatically when changes are detected or on a schedule of your choosing. Note that this PC Backup feature is available only for Windows. The Mac version of the software has just the other two parts. This is mainly because most Mac users would prefer to use the built-in Time Machine for their backup needs.