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Seagate Backup Plus Slim Review

_DSC1072-EditSeagate announced in April 2014 the latest product to join their portable storage lineup, the Backup Plus Slim. The new drive features a svelte and compact design, USB 3.0 interface, comes in capacities ranging from 500MB to 2TB, and a couple of colours to choose from.

Today’s portable storage don’t just have to function great, but are expected to look and feel great as well. The Backup Plus Slim certainly rises up to that challenge.

To begin with, the Backup Plus Slim is really thin. In fact, it’s the thinnest 2TB portable hard drive in the world, measuring only just 12.1mm thick. In contrast, the Western Digital My Passport Slim 2TB model is 18mm thick. The Backup Plus Slim is also narrower by about 5mm, but about 3mm longer than the Western Digital drive. At 1TB capacity, however, the Western Digital My Passport Slim is only just slightly thicker, at 12.3mm, versus the Backup Plus Slim remains at 12.1mm thick. Overall, this is still about the most compact 2TB portable hard drive you can lay your hands on.

Externally, the Backup Plus Slim has a metal top casing, lending to it a slightly more premium look and feel. However, the bottom uses matt plastic and the sides glossy plastic. The metal top comes in a variety of colours: black, silver, blue (as in photo above) and red. There is a single LED activity indicator on the top, toward the rear.

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A single SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port occupies the back of the case. You can also just make out the LED activity indicator on the bottom right in the photo. It’s a small slit just under 9mm long that emits white light.

A USB 3.0 cable, slightly under 1.5′ long, is included in the packaging. I like that the cable is not too stiff and rigid like many other USB 3.0 cables.

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The Backup Plus Slim comes pre-formatted with NTFS, and contains Seagate’s Dashboard software installer for both Windows and OS X. Dashboard is basically a backup software, and apart from backing up files in your computer, it will also backup your mobile devices and even content from your social media networks. As a Mac user, I’m quite happy to stick with Time Machine, no need for any other backup software.

Mac users should remember that OS X can read NTFS, but not write to it, at least not without third party tools. So, fire up Disk Utility and reformat the drive to HFS+.

How fast is the Backup Plus Slim? Recently, I started to switch my benchmark tool from Backmagic’s Disk Speed Test to Bonnie++. So let’s take a look at the numbers, compared to three other portable hard drives I happen to have around.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Western Digital My Passport Ultra 2TB Western Digital My Passport 1TB Hitachi Touro Mobile 1TB
Sequential Write (MB/s) 112 108 69 59
Sequential Rewrite (MB/s) 54 47 27 22
Sequential Read (MB/s) 114 110 84 68
Random Seeks per second 159 128 105 89

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is the clear winner here, although it only marginally edges out the Western Digital My Passport Ultra in the sequential read/write speeds. Interestingly, the writes are just a tiny little bit faster than the reads in the Seagate Backup Plus Slim, which is rather unusual.

I use several Western Digital portable hard drives, and one feature I like about them is the built-in hardware encryption. The Seagate Backup Plus Slim, unfortunately, is lacking hardware encryption. I must admit that I don’t currently use the hardware encryption features. However, considering the current climate of privacy concerns and threat of data loss, this is certainly something I’m looking forward to start using and which will be a great feature to have.

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The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is available from Challenger, and priced at S$239, S$119 and S$89 for the 2TB, 1TB and 500GB capacities respectively.

Conclusions

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is not only thin, looks good, and feels good, but also performs really well.

Pros:

  • Thinnest 2TB portable drive in the market, still pretty thin in other capacities too
  • Svelte and compact
  • Great performance

Cons:

  • No hardware encryption

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