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Lifewire / Jordan Oloman
Built for backups
Gigantic storage capacity
Adobe Creative Cloud subscription included
Average transfer speeds
More fragile than other portable drives
Seagate’s backup-focused portable drive offers more than enough space for any use case, but with its average performance and uninspired design, you might want to look elsewhere for your portable storage solution.
The Seagate 4TB Backup Plus is a storage solution aimed at consumers who want to back up the entirety of their files rather than transport them. The large storage capacity should be more than enough for casual and professional users and is compact enough to be transported between the home and workplace. However, we found the read/write speeds to be average during testing and the design to be uninspired. Read on to hear our in-depth thoughts on the hard drive and ultimately, learn whether it’s worth a buy amidst the competition.
At 4.5 by 3.07 inches (HW), the Seagate Backup Plus is sizable by hard drive standards, but nothing too bulky. It’s roughly the same length as the 1TB Western Digital My Passport you, but it’s much thicker and has a noticeable heft to it by comparison. It’s won’t weigh down a backpack, but you’re not going to be able to carry it around in your pocket.
The Seagate swirl logo makes an appearance in the corner of the device, and on the back, the system data is woven cleverly into the design. Unfortunately, there are no grips on the bottom to keep it steady on a tabletop. This feels like a silly omission, especially when plenty of other hard drives have it.
It’s won’t weigh down a backpack, but you’re not going to be able to carry it around in your pocket.
Strangely, it doesn’t seem like Seagate designed the Backup Plus with durability in mind. The front of the hard drive is made out of a glossy material that could easily slip through your fingers if you’re not careful. If you do end up dropping it, the hard drive is not shock resistant, and it will accumulate dust or suffer water damage if you let it. You’re going to have to be careful with the Backup Plus, especially if you put it to use as a backup.
There is only one port on the Backup Plus, a micro-B connector, and you get a micro-B to USB-A cable in the box to use it with. This is pretty much standard as far as hard drives go, but it’s a shame you don’t get a micro-B to USB-C cable too.
This would greatly improve connectivity capabilities, especially when you consider that one of the Back Plus’ shining features is its seamless Mac connectivity, and that most MacBook Pro’s now have a USB-C port. The Backup Plus does support USB 3.0 though, which is obviously great to see.
After unboxing the Backup Plus, simply plug it into your laptop or desktop, and in your Windows File Explorer, click the application that says “Start Here” to be taken to a product registration page. Once you’ve entered your details (if you so wish), you can download Seagate’s Toolkit software.
This application will automate the backup process, allowing you to utilize restore points, and offer up a set of mirror folders to ensure important files are kept safe in a separate storage solution. It’s very straightforward and handy, making it more user-friendly than simple plug-and-play hard drives. On Mac, it works in a similar fashion, but you need to install a driver that is included on the device first (you can find it with File Explorer after the initial connection).
Seagate quotes 120 MB/s as the maximum read/write speed for the Backup Plus, which is a fairly standard speed on this type of architecture. This will move your files from folder to desktop at a passable speed, but nothing special. In our testing with CrystalDiskMark, we saw a read speed of 133.9 MB/s and a write speed of 133.7 MB/s. You can say it slightly exceeds expectations, but this is still just average as far as portable hard drives go.
In another test, we moved 2GB of data between the hard drive and the desktop, and vice versa. It took the Backup Plus 18 seconds to manage this, which is a comparable speed to the 1TB Western Digital My Passport, which took 19 seconds to accomplish the same task.
Seagate quotes 120 MB/s as the maximum read/write speed for the Backup Plus, which is a fairly standard speed on this type of architecture.
All in all, there’s nothing special to give the Backup Plus an edge over the competition. Even the warranty isn’t the best. If it breaks, you will receive a refurbished product, and it’s only covered for two years. This is below the three-year standard set by other hard drives, which is a shame. We would be remiss if we didn’t point out numerous user reviews that mention the Backup Plus has failed on them, citing a fragile design. While we experienced nothing of the sort, it’s still something to be mindful of.
However, one of the main factors that give the Backup Plus a head up over the competition is the free two-month subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography package. This is perfect for the Lightroom junkies and photography professionals who want to edit and manipulate photos on the go. There aren’t really any other hard drives that offer a similar software package, so it certainly sticks out as a positive.
The Backup Plus wavers around the $100 mark (it’s $109.99 MSRP on Amazon), which is a fair price for this amount of storage. With the built-in backup software and Mac connectivity, it provides a solid amount of functionality for the price point.
In comparison to the 1TB Western Digital My Passport which usually retails around $50, the Backup Plus is hard to recommend. It’s not as compact or rugged, and despite having the subscription and user-friendly seamless interface, its fragility undermines it compared to more trusted brands. If you have a Mac, the Backup Plus is useful, but there are alternatives. Most hard drives, including Western Digital’s range, offer a simplistic backup software built into the device.
For roughly the same price, the Samsung T5 will deliver quadruple the transfer speeds in a better form factor, but you’ll be sacrificing storage space. Portable solid-state storage is still expensive, with a 2TB drive costing upwards of $350. In that case, for storage alone, without paying heed to speed, the Backup Plus can be a good option.
Some appeal, but too many good alternatives.
While on the surface it may seem appealing, the Seagate Backup Plus 4TB is hard to recommend compared to its competition. Its large storage capacity and free software subscriptions make it stand out, but the poor physical design and average speeds keep it from being a worthwhile purchase.
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