Seagate Backup Plus Slim and Backup Plus Fast portable Drives Review

Having a portable storage device with you for storing data and can prove to be quite handy. In case your hard disk drive crashes, you can use it for loading all your files for uninterrupted work. Seagate is one of the leading companies in providing alternative storage options. Its range of Sata Drives and Portable Hard Disk Drives is well known. One of the products recently launched by it is the Backup Plus. It is available in two variants- the Backup Plus Slim and the Backup Plus Fast. Quite strangely, one of the two recently launched products is unsuitable for backing data up.

However, the company offers users the choice of a safe or speedy back up.

Looks and Feel

Seagate External Drives

Seagate External Drives (Left – Backup Plus Slim, Right – Backup Plus Fast)

The Backup Plus Slim is essentially a drive with a minuscule closure. On the other hand, the Backup Fast combines two drives into one body. In terms of portability and weight, they are both very different. It does not come as a surprise as they are both targeted towards different buyers. The Slim is available in four different shades which might remind you of tin boxes in the olden days. It is as tiny as 2.5 inches hard drive enclosure which can make you wonder about its shock resistant ability. Non slip grip has been used on the bottom while the sides are in glossy black. A 0.5m long USB 3.0 cable has been provided with the device which can be put into a pocket for portability.

The Backup Plus Fast is quite a chunky gadget as it has two drives fitted on top of one another. However, its width and depth is not more than the Slim model. It has a slim appearance with textured bottom and sides and it has a simpler look.

Two cables are provided with the Fast version- a 0.5m long USB 3.0 cable and a 0.9m long cable with additional USB 3.0 hosting plug just in case the PC cannot offer sufficient power through a single line. It is quite portable, albeit a heavyweight and it does not require power externally.

The Seagate logo is embossed in a shiny silver shade on the right corner at the bottom. The LED indicator slit is located on the top left.

Seagate’s USM or Universal Storage Module adapters are not used in these two devices and they can be used for outfitting a normal SATA drive using USB 2.0 and 3.0 cables, Thunderbolt, Firewire and eSATA interfaces.

Specifications and Features

The Backup Plus is more interesting as it has a 2.5 inch hard drive arranged in an array of RAID 0. The data coming in is broken into groups which are written on each of the two drives in an alternating fashion. It almost doubles the rate of writing and reading when required. However, none of the drives have the file complete hence if one of them fails then you lose all your data.

For storing important and critical data, the RAID 0 array is unsuitable. For parity or data mirroring different kinds of arrays might have more drives. However, such security measures have not been implemented on the two drives in use in the Backup Fast.

When the two drives are combined together, they produce up to 4TB of space. The array is recognized by the computer as a single 4TB drive. Files can be copied to and fro other devices as if they were a dingle unit of 4TB. However, data recovery software may not work well on it. Both the Slim and Fast are by default formatted to NTFS which should ideally work across all current PC OS. Users of the Macbook will have to install a driver, included with each drive to write on the NTFS. The Dashboard software by Seagate is also included in them. The Slim has 931 GB of formatted space available, of the 1TB promised while the fast offers 3.64 TB of free space, of the 4TB promised.

Software

Seagate has both PC and MAC versions of the Dashboard utility. Users will have to install the registration utility too and they will be forced to do a reboot before they can use any of the Dashboard utility. Moreover, they will have to download an update of 93MB for proper functioning.

How does it perform?

The Fast outperformed the Slim in almost all tests by a very big margin. Because of the USB 3.0 interface, both drives showed good performances. Sequential write and read speeds can be expected to be at 106Mbps while using the SLIM while the Fast offers 230 MBPS. As checked by the SiSoft Sandra 2013, the random write and read speeds for the Fast was 87.14 and 61.3 Mbps respectively, while for the Slim it was 53.51 and 52.58 Mbps respectively.

The Backup Plus Fast is definitely speedy and if you require to transport heavy files regularly then this will be your best support system. It is much quicker and smaller than a 3.5 inch external drive offering 4TB storage space. It is the most spacious and fastest portable hard disk drive that does not need an external power supply to have hit the market

Verdict for the Backup Plus Slim and Fast

If you seek a no fuss and quick external drive with some style and panache, the Seagate Backup Plus Slim is a good choice. It will serve all your needs- transporting data, storage and backups. If you don’t mind the additional weight and do not require the software given by Seagate then you could think of the less expensive expansion series from Seagate.

In some environments the capacity and speed advantages that the Backup Plus Fast offer can outweigh the potential problems of using the RAID 0. It is a convenient portable drive especially if you use it to transfer and copy files from different places. However, it cannot be viewed as a large scale, long term archival of data. Losing 4TB of space at one go can be a huge loss. Therefore, you should have multiple backups of essential files on both offline and online locations so that you are well cushioned against theft and drive failure.

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