Review: Seagate's New Backup Plus Slim and Backup Plus Portable Offer Lots of Storage at Low Prices

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Seagate in January announced an updated lineup of its popular Backup Plus hard drives, debuting the Backup Plus Slim and the Backup Plus Portable, both of which are now available for purchase and are ideal for those who need lots of storage space at an affordable price.

    The Backup Plus Slim and the Backup Plus Portable are your average, run of the mill hard drives. The Backup Plus Slim is the thinner of the two models as it has less storage space, measuring in at 4.5 inches by 3 inches with a thickness of just about half an inch.

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    The Backup Plus Portable is about the same size but it's close to an inch thick and about twice as heavy (eight ounces vs. four). Neither one of these drives takes up much space, so they're ideal for backup or other purposes and can be tucked away in a drawer afterwards.

    Design wise, the two hard drives are made from a black plastic material with a brushed aluminum front plate. The test models I have are in silver, but these also come in black, a light blue color, and red.

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    The Backup Plus Slim offers 1TB or 2TB of storage, and the Backup Plus Portable is available with either 4TB or 5TB of storage space. Both are formatted to work with either Mac or Windows.

    These hard drives are using standard USB-A cables to plug into a computer, which means that you're going to need a USB-A to USB-C adapter if you want to use them with one of Apple's modern Macs.

    [​IMG]

    USB-C hard drives aren't much more expensive than these Seagate Backup hard drives, so it's maybe not even worth picking one of these up if you have a USB-C machine unless you're swapping files between computers and continue to have a Mac or Windows machine that uses USB-A. For older machines that still have USB-A ports, these hard drives will work well, and functionally, they're fine with an adapter on a USB-C machine.

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    There's nothing special about the transfer speeds of the Backup Plus Slim and Backup Plus Portable. Seagate says they can reach transfer speeds of 120MB/s, and in my tests on a 2016 MacBook Pro with USB-C, I even saw transfer speeds a little bit higher at about 130MB/s.

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    Backup Plus Portable on left, Backup Plus Slim on right​

    You're not going to want to use standard hard drives in situations where you need fast file transfer capabilities, but for things like backups where you have hours to let a backup take place, these drives work well.

    Both hard drives come equipped with links to register them on Seagate's website, as well as options to download Seagate's Toolkit software for automatically syncing files between mirrored folders on the drive and on your Mac. You can use these with Windows and Mac machines right out of the box without the need to reformat.

    [​IMG]
    Backup Plus Slim​

    Seagate sells these hard drives with a one-year Create plan for Mylio, photo organizing software that lets you upload photos to the cloud and access them on multiple devices, but after that year, it costs $50/year to use.

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    Backup Plus Portable​

    There's also free two month access to Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography plan, which costs $9.99/month to use after the trial period. Both Mylio and Creative Cloud are optional, so you don't need to sign up for them if you're not interested in those services.

    Bottom Line

    If you've made the swap over to USB-C and only have USB-C machines, Seagate's Backup Plus Portable and Backup Plus Slim probably aren't the best option for you, because you'll need a dongle.

    If you still use USB-A machines or a mix of USB-C and USB-A, however, these hard drives are an affordable way to get a lot of storage for things like Time Machine backups, offloading photos, and more.

    How to Buy

    Seagate's Backup Plus Slim is available from Amazon, with 1TB of storage priced at $55 and 2TB of storage priced at $70. The Backup Plus Portable is also available from Amazon with 4TB of storage priced at $110 and 5TB of storage priced at $125.

    Note: Seagate provided MacRumors with a Backup Plus Portable and Backup Plus Slim for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

    Article Link: Review: Seagate's New Backup Plus Slim and Backup Plus Portable Offer Lots of Storage at Low Prices
     
  2. nutmac macrumors 601

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    #2
    Or you can get Micro-B to USB-C cable for well under $10.

    I think it's a damn shame that Seagate is selling "Mac edition" external disks with USB-A cable. These editions should minimally include Micro-B to USB-C cable.

    WD includes both on their "Mac" edition products.
     
  3. MacLawyer macrumors demi-god

    MacLawyer

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    #3
    Slow spinning disc and USB-A? What is this? 1998 revisited?
     
  4. QCassidy352 macrumors G4

    QCassidy352

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    #4
    Still fine for backups.
     
  5. JetTester macrumors 6502

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    #5
    So, why did they name the fat, heavy one "Portable"?
     
  6. Jedwardoo macrumors member

    Jedwardoo

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    #6
    The Amazon link shows 1 RPM, -_-

    What's the RPM on this?

    Would you recommend this for storing movies for home theater set up?


     
  7. nutmac macrumors 601

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    #7
    They are 2.5" notebook quality disks spinning at 5400 rpm.

    At more than 100 MB/sec, they are perfectly fine for 4K HDR video. Even UHD Blu-Ray averages only 100 Mbps, or 12.5 MB/sec.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 10, 2019 ---
    I think it's pure economics and/or larger storage size. 2TB external SSD costs about $300, in contrast to $70 for 2TB HDD and $125 for 5TB HDD.
     
  8. subjonas macrumors 68000

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    #8
    I can fit one whole movie on it! What a steal!
     
  9. jimthing macrumors 65816

    jimthing

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    #9
    I recently got the 5TB LaCie (a Seagate brand) from Apple online (they have the exclusive on the Space Grey colour). It's the same price here in the UK from Apple, as this vanilla Seagate one is from Amazon, and is much nicer in design for a portable HDD, featuring USB-C gen.2 port rather than the older port on the Seagate.
    (Though obviously it won't make any difference being gen.1 or gen2, given how slow all single HDD's are – it just looks good on the marketing guff!)

    https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/produ...le-drive-5tb-external-hard-drive-usb-c-usb-30

    Read the detailed review on there.
    Basically, they're all portable non-SSD HDD's, so nothing amazing with any of these, just use for backups/mass storage uses only.
     
  10. nutmac macrumors 601

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    #10
    You can use it to backup your entire free iCloud account.
     
  11. isomorphic macrumors regular

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    #11
    It'd be nice if the review indicated this, but be aware that many of the bigger-storage-size bus-powered USB HDDs are SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording). SMR drives may appear to have decent write speeds at first, but upon rewriting, SMR means the drive has to rewrite adjacent tracks, meaning rewrites are dog slow. That means the drive test shown in the article would not sustain that ~130MB/s speed.

    Even for backups, I would avoid SMR drives if I had any choice in the matter, especially if your backups result in rewriting lots of small files (e.g. syncing incremental changes). The best usage scenario for SMR drives is for writing data that is read much more often than written, e.g. for media storage (not editing) or for archival.
     
  12. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

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    #12
    I think you made an error here.

    Apple says that LaCie costs 160 GBP: https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/produ...le-drive-5tb-external-hard-drive-usb-c-usb-30
    Amazon UK says that Seagate costs 106 GPB:https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M058Q39/

    Prices from Amazon Germany:
    The Seagate Backup Plus is 130 euros: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01LZTK3E9/
    The LaCie is 170 euros: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B07MQDD43K/

    I love the design and the USB-C but I doubt I'd pay an extra 40 euros (or even worse, 54 GBP).
     
  13. Sedulous macrumors 68020

    Sedulous

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    #13
    They seem fairly priced but SSD prices have dropped so much that I have moved on from rotational drives.
     
  14. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

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    #14
    Even for backups?
     
  15. smirking macrumors 68020

    smirking

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    #15
    As someone else said, it's fine for backups. After all, we used to use tape drives for backups. Wow. I'm so glad those days are over.

    Still, the price of this is barely above the cost of a bare metal drive. It makes me wonder what you're actually getting for such a low price.
     
  16. macduke macrumors G4

    macduke

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    #16
    I always thought "Mac" edition hard drives really meant "We charged you 25% more to format the drive differently!" Sometimes if you're lucky it would be a silver or white colorway so you could coordinate with your iPod and MacBook. I would always just buy regular drives and format them myself. Now I work from tiny SSDs and backup to larger desktop spinning drives. I look forward to going all solid state one day.
     
  17. seagate_surfer macrumors newbie

    seagate_surfer

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  18. spyguy10709 macrumors 6502a

    spyguy10709

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    #18
    I find it odd that the review makes a big fluff about needing an adapter cable. It’s just not a big deal. You’d need a cable to hook up a USB C hard drive anyway, why not just pick a micro3-to-C cable, no adapter or dongle required?
     
  19. Sedulous macrumors 68020

    Sedulous

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    #19
    Yep. But archive uses spinning rust.
     
  20. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

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    #20
    Couple of reasons. One is: some people prefer simplifying their lives and one-cable-for-everything certainly does that. The second is: some people figure micro-USB is on the way out, there has to be a convincing reason to buy it.

    On the other hand. If the drive remains in one spot (which backup drives usually do), then really it's no big thing because that USB-C-to-micro-B cable will remain in place. But if you regularly take the drive with you, then it's very much an advantage to connect the drive with your charging cable, in a pinch.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 11, 2019 ---
    Interesting. I've got to admit, the price difference isn't as big as I thought. One daily annoyance of Time Machine on spinning rust, is that disconnecting can take ~10 seconds. Is it faster with Time Machine on an SSD?
     
  21. Sedulous macrumors 68020

    Sedulous

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    #21
    I am unable to say for sure because I do not use Time Machine. My best guess is that Time Machine seems more constrained by CPU speed than disk speed. SSD would still likely be at least marginally faster. Maybe someone else has experience with Time Machine with SSD and can offer more than conjecture.
     
  22. jimthing macrumors 65816

    jimthing

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    #22
    That's not the same one, it's this one:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B07MKS23DD

    ...of course the price dropped 20-30 quid overnight, but it's still not USB-C native, so the Seagate would require a simple 3 quid adapter or another 10 quid cable. I bought it for design as well as the native USB-C port, as these generic Seagate are pretty boring IMO, even if they're just single portable HDD's.
     
  23. Marx55 macrumors 68000

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    #23
    Seagate and LaCie should bring more SSD drives. Once you try them, you do not want mechanical ones.
     
  24. jimthing, Apr 15, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019

    jimthing macrumors 65816

    jimthing

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    #24
    As has been said already for these single/double drive units...

    HDDs = non-performance use only: backups/mass data storage; cheap/affordable, larger volumes.
    vs.
    SSDs = performance use only: boot and software use generally only; not cheap/semi-affordable, small volumes.

    If you need a mix of the two, performance and larger volume size, then you typically go for a multi-bay RAID HDD enclosure (from 4 bays upwards), as the RAID level stripes data faster across the drives giving a better performance and redundancy (though you need a second enclosure for any storage system, HDD or SSD, as neither are classed as a backup if the main enclosure fails completely!).

    ...or you're very well off, maybe a business expense, and you buy a really expensive RAID SSD unit (or 2/3/4 of them!) that'll cost you several (maybe likely double-figure) thousand $£€. LOL. :eek:

    ...or you're a large organisation, so you have a 10s-100s thousand $£€ SAN (storage area network), run by professionals, haha!

    AFAIR, the old saying in data-storage is: high speed / large size / cheap cost – pick two.

    Though these days, it depends on how much data you really want to store, as really it's those storing 10s of Tera's of data have this kind of decision – although even 10-20 TB's at decent-ish speed (for the video hoarders out there!) is still a reasonably spendy affair by the time a backup copy is also included.
     
  25. toke lahti macrumors 68020

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    Helsinki, Finland
    #25
    ...Seagate is still making SSHDs for you?
     

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24 April 10, 2019