Seagate Seven Portable Drive review: Portable drives just keep getting thinner
Looking for a razor-thin portable hard drive that's also fast and easy to use? The Seagate Seven fits the bill. Here's CNET's full review.
The Seagate Seven is by far the thinnest external hard drive on the market, and chances are good you'd want it for the cool design alone.
Supporting USB 3.0, the drive also delivers fast performance, and it includes helpful backup software for both Windows and Mac. It's also rugged and quite eye-catching.
There's a catch, though. The drive has only 500GB of storage space and carries a price tag of $100. (Pricing for the UK and Australia is not yet available, but the US tab converts to around £65 and AU$125.) That's very expensive considering you can now buy a 2TB portable drive for the same price.
But if you're into something stylish and rather unique, this is the portable drive to have. For other more practical options, however, check out our list of top portable drives on the market.
The name Seven was chosen to show off the drive's thickness, which is just 7mm, the same as that of a thin standard internal laptop drive. To put this in perspective, most standard (2.5-inch) internal laptop hard drives are actually 9.5mm thick. To achieve this new profile, the Seven hosts an internal drive that measures just 5mm.
The Seven's chassis is made out of hardened aluminum. Apart from making the external drive look similar to an internal one, the chassis also protects the drive inside from shocks and especially crush damage. Seagate says the Seven can survive drops of up to TK, and even being run over by a small car. The drive does feel very rugged and despite being super thin, it's impossible to bend it.
|Bus-powered portable hard drive
|USB 3.0, USB 2.0
|0.3 x 3.2 x 4.8 inches (0.8 x 8.1 x 12.4 cm)
|3.2 ounces (91 grams)
|Windows XP or later; Mac OS 10.4 or later
The Seven comes in nice packaging that includes the drive itself and a foot-long USB 3.0 cable. On one side, the drive has the standard Micro-USB 3.0 port for both data and power connections. It has a small status light that glows blue when the drive is connected and pulses lightly when there are data activities taking place.
Out of the box, the Seven is preformatted using the exFAT file system. This means it immediately works with both Windows and Mac computers without requiring any setup or software installation. The drive does come included with the Seagate Dashboard application.
Helpful backup software
Just as in the case of the Backup Plus Fast , the Seven is preloaded with Seagate Dashboard backup software, which has three main backup functions: PC Backup, Social and Mobile Backup.
The PC Backup function, which is available only for Windows, allows you to back up a computer's files and folders to the Seven. You can choose the folders or files that you want to make backups of, or you can let the software 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. The reason this local backup feature is not available for Mac is because you can use Apple's Time Machine backup feature with the drive. The other two parts of the Dashboard software are also available for Mac, however.
The Social feature allows you to share your media to social-networking sites, including Flickr, Facebook and YouTube, and conversely, back up media from those sites to the portable drive. They are very straightforward and self-explanatory.
And finally, the Mobile Backup allows for backing up content stored on your mobile device via the free, downloadable Seagate Mobile Backup app that's available for both iOS and Android devices.
Note that you don't need install Seagate Dashboard to use the Seven, but the software was actually quite helpful in my trial and added more value to the drive.
Considering its extremely thin profile, I didn't expect much from the Seven, but it did very well in my testing.
Via USB 3.0, the drive registered sustained real-world copy speed of 113MBps for writing and close to 100MBps for reading, placing it among the fastest portable drives on the market right now.
The drive also works with USB 2.0 at around 30MBps, which is as fast as the USB 2.0 standard can offer.
While I didn't try running the drive over with my , I did drop it a few times from my desk, and it survived without any glitches or data loss. Still, the extra protection is just in case of mishaps, it's recommended that you treat the drive with care just as you would with any other storage devices.
The Seagate Seven is not the highest-capacity portable drive, nor the fastest, but it sure is the thinnest on the market. That plus the fact that it's rugged, good looking and includes helpful backup software increase its appeal. Whether or not it's worth the $100 price tag, however, depends on your taste, since there are many other options on the market that offer much more storage (and even faster speed) for the same amount of money.
One thing is clear, however: if you have this drive, you'll like it, no matter if you plan to use it with your Windows or Mac computer. That said, perhaps consider waiting for the street price to fall before getting one of your own.