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Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive review: Fast, incredibly portable data storage -- with one missing piece

This small and speedy portable drive will come in handy for anyone who needs to carry a lot of data while traveling.

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Dong Ngo
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Dong Ngo

SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

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Seagate's Backup Plus Ultra Slim is a slimmer, faster version of the Backup Plus Slim portable hard drive we first reviewed in 2014 and is ultimately a better buy than its older brother. The Ultra Slim is the Chris Hemsworth to the Slim's Luke Hemsworth. Who is Luke Hemsworth, you ask? Exactly.

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8.4

Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive

The Good

The Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim is compact, fast and includes helpful backup software.

The Bad

There's no USB-C port, so no future-proofing for you.

The Bottom Line

The Backup Plus Ultra Slim is a handy portable drive for those needing to carry additional data or perform backups on the go.

The included Seagate Dashboard software not only lets you back up drive data, but your mobile devices and social media (Facebook, Flickr and YouTube) info as well. I had no issues with the software, but truth be told, I only used the Windows version. There's a separate version for Mac that I didn't test. You also get 200GB of online storage (free for two years) with Microsoft Onedrive. If you use Windows 10, though, I'd recommend using the built-in File History utility for local backups, among other things you won't need to install any extra software on the computer.

CNET USB 3.0 portable drive performance

Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 149.6 169.21Seagate Backup Plus Slim 118.8 125.35Buffalo MiniStation Extreme 110.3 118.82WD My Passport Ultra 110.2 117.34WD My Password Slim 107.7 107.89SiliconPower Armor A60 104.3 114.48WD Elements 95.7 102.15
  • Write
  • Read
Note: Longer bars mean better performance

While the micro-USB 3.0 port is fast for transfers, I was disappointed that there's no USB-C port. So despite being available in gold (and silver) it won't work with a Macbook -- the Macbook has only a single USB-C port and currently comes in gold, silver and a few other colors.

The drive's handy portability makes it perfect for all laptops not named Macbook (I'm talking solely about the single-port USB-C version here). The drive works out of the box with most computers, thanks to the included USB 3.0 cable. However, if you plan to use it with a non-Macbook Mac laptop or desktop, you'll need to reformat it first.

The Backup Plus Ultra Slim is available in two capacities of 2TB and 1TB that currently cost $93 (£72, AU$120 converted) and $70 (£54, AU$91), respectively, on Amazon. These are great prices for an ultraportable fast drive, considering the G-Drive Mobile, which has an USB-C port, costs $120 for just 1TB.

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The new Backup Plus Ultra Slim and the previous model.

Dong Ngo

Should I get it?

For frequent travelers with a laptop, the Backup Plus Ultra Slim is definitely a great buy thanks to its fast speed and extra compact design. However, you don't mind a drive that's a bit bulkier and a bit slower, the WD My Passport Ultra and Seagate Backup Plus Slim -- both available in up to 4TB of storage space -- are also excellent alternatives.

And if you have a desktop computer, I'd instead recommend the Backup Plus Hub. It's more expensive and isn't nearly as portable, but its features (like multiple USB 3.0 ports) the top capacity of 8TB are better suited for a desktop.

backupplusultraslim-1.jpg
8.4

Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 8Performance 9
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