Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable HDD Review

Seagate Backup Plus Slim - Press Shot
by Rob Williams on April 4, 2014 in Storage

Seagate’s Backup Plus Slim is a portable drive that boasts some impressive features on paper, It crams 2TB into a super-small form-factor; just half-an-inch thick. It bundles Seagate’s own Dashboard backup software, which offers a couple of neat options we’ve never seen before. But it’s biggest draw? The sub-$120 pricetag.

Introduction & Software

Each time I receive a new portable drive to take a look at, it seems like it’s thinner than the last. With Seagate’s Backup Plus Slim, I’m not let down; it brings a thickness of .48 inches with its 2TB model.

That might not seem too impressive at first glance, but consider this: WD’s My Passport Slim 1TB, which I took a look at this past fall, is also .48 inches thick, and the 2TB model is .70 inches thick. Here, Seagate managed to match the thickness of WD’s 1TB with its 2TB… that’s incredible.

2,000GB crammed into half-an-inch is impressive, there’s no denying that, but a side-effect that can come from such designs is decreased performance. Does Seagate’s Slim drive suffer? We’ll investigate a bit later.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB - Blue, Topside
To get a glimpse at its underbelly, look here.

Seagate’s Backup Plus Slim drives come in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB sizes; the 500GB is .38 inches thick, while both the 1TB and 2TB are .48 inches thick. Seagate offers these drives in four colors; silver, blue, red, and of course, black. All models have a USB 3.0 interface, carry a 2-year warranty, and, as the name suggests, includes some backup software.

To give a further idea of just how impressive 2TB in .48 inches is, check out the Seagate’s Slim drive in comparison to the WD My Passport 2TB I took at look at just under two years ago:

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB - 2-Year Comparison Gap

Like all other 2TB drives, this one reports a total usable space of 1.81TB. You might notice that this one in particular has a custom icon; that’s thanks to the bundled software which sits in the root of the drive. As soon as that software is removed or moved (which is going to be most people’s first course of action), Windows will assign the same default storage icon to the drive.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim - Plugged In

The Backup Plus Slim drives boast a lot of storage space and a tight waist, but that’s not all they have to offer. Another major selling-point is the included backup software, which I’m sure the product’s name alluded to. Backing-up is serious business, and this is the first time I ever recall dealing with a Seagate software solution, so let’s dive in.

A Look at the Software

I mentioned before that Seagate bundles its backup software on the Slim, but don’t expect a quick install: It’ll have to download 100MB or so from Seagate’s servers. It seems a little pointless to include the installer if that much data has to be downloaded, but it’s hard to complain about having up-to-date software.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim - Dashboard Interface

A lot of backup software that gets bundled with a hard drive tends to focus more on backing-up data on the PC it’s plugged into than anything else. Seagate’s software, called Dashboard, goes a bit further. For starters, it has the ability to sync photos from your Facebook and Flickr accounts – even those you’re tagged in. This is perfect for those who want to keep a copy of each photo locally, but don’t want to go and save each and every one (especially those with thousands of photos).

Seagate Backup Plus Slim - Social Network Backup

While it’s a feature I can’t see being used by too many, the software can also post videos to your YouTube account. Alas, it cannot download already-uploaded videos.

Dashboard can also work in conjunction with the Seagate Backup mobile app (Android 2.3+, iOS 6+) to backup data off of a tablet or smartphone. As seen in the shot below, not only can photos and video be backed-up, but so can music, call logs, contacts, and messages. Non-media is stored in a SQLite file, and all of it (along with the media) can be restored just as easy as it was backed-up.

Seagate Backup Mobile App

It might not be unique, but Dashboard’s most important feature is its ability to back data up off of the PC it’s connected to. Where the software is a little unique is in its ease-of-use, and its completeness.

Too often, backup software by default will scan the C:\ drive and call it a day. Nowadays, that’s hardly ideal, given many people have additional drives installed in their PC. Well, Seagate’s Dashboard doesn’t suffer this issue.

Seagate Backup Mobile App - PC Backup

The above shot showcases all of what the software backs-up by default, and as you would hope, it’s configurable. If you have hard drives you don’t want backed-up, you can configure that before moving on. Having “All Files” selected means that all non-system/non-application files are backed-up. This means any scrap files lying around the drive will be copied over, as well applications or games not installed to the Program Files folder. If that’s a little too hardcore, I’d recommend disabling that option.

Once all of the file-types that you want backed-up are selected, you can continue on to choose the drive that the data will be backed-up to, and then choose a backup schedule (which can be continuous). 

Overall, I’m impressed with the Dashboard software; it’s the best backup solution I’ve seen bundled with a drive. The one thing it could use is cloud storage support, such as to tie in with Dropbox, Google Drive, and other similar services. The application has a sign-in prompt for Seagate Cloud Storage Service, but it appears that support doesn’t come included with the drive.

Page List

1. Introduction & Software
2. Performance & Final Thoughts

  • JD Kane

    Performance always = sexy.

  • Prashant

    No performance benchmark for 2 tb i wasted my minutes to read this crap give them back.

  • Prashant

    No performance benchmark for 2 tb i wasted my minutes to read this crap give them back.

    • Rob Williams

      The article has two pages. You might be able to find the performance on the second page.

      • Prashant

        “The incredible areal density that’s made possible thanks to what I’d presume are 1TB platters makes itself realized here. ”

        So , this does not mention 2 TB platters, right?

        • Rob Williams

          It’s a 2TB hard drive that consists of 2x 1TB platters.

          • Prashant

            I recently received the same drive of same color just wanted to know you manage to obtain 115 MBps on solid file, here i have been trying to copy a game .iso of about same size although consisting of previous data as well but i obtained pretty much between 50-70 MBps although your write test is pretty consistent as per the image , in my case it varied.
            using windows 8.1 enterprise on usb 3.0.

          • Rob Williams

            If the transfer involves a single large file, performance should be able to break 100MB/s without an issue. It should be noted though that the file I copy TO the external drive resides on a fast SSD, so as to reduce bottlenecks (copying to a hard drive from another hard drive could introduce a bottleneck).

            The results in the tables at the top of the page were achieved on one machine here, while the dialog snapshot that shows 117MB/s was done on my personal machine (with a motherboard two-years-old, and running Windows 8 as the theme would imply).

            I am truly not sure why you are seeing lesser performance, unless its the source drive that’s the problem.

          • Prashant

            yes that is the prob. i was copying the data through another disk. Although , its really a cool drive, hoping to see SSDs in these form factors of similar capacity.

          • Rob Williams

            I couldn’t agree more. It’s going to take some time before the capacity matches the price we’re wanting to pay, but it seems like it will happen eventually. The “problem”, if there is one, is that companies like WD are always likely to keep ahead of the curve, so if a 1TB mobile SSD is available, a 4TB mechanical one will be, too. Always a trade-off ;-)

  • Iris Keys

    I need to know if i put movies on this if they will play through my bluray player?

    • Rob Williams

      Only if your Blu-ray player actually supports loading your own files like this, and supports things like MP4, MKV, AVI, et cetera. It’d help to refer to the manual for your Blu-ray player.

  • Rick Ahern

    can this be used for a security camera set up to record and playback video

    • Rob Williams

      These drives are not designed for 24/7 operation, so while it’d work, I wouldn’t recommend going that route. Is the drive going to just be sitting on a desk? Or are you able to install a new drive into your PC? For either I’d recommend WD’s Purple drives, as they are designed for this exact purpose. If you are to use the drive outside of a PC you’d need to purchase an enclosure, like Thermaltake’s BlacX.

      If that doesn’t work, I’d recommend going with a full-sized drive, like the My Book. I personally have a hard time trusting USB devices at all for critical tasks like these, but it’s made worse when it’s just a notebook drive that’s not meant to be plugged in and accessed 24/7.