Seagate Backup Plus Fast
A portable 4TB hard drive with RAID 0 that's powered from a single USB 3.0 port
- 4TB capacity
- RAID 0
- Works on a single USB 3.0 port
- The cloud features in the software didn't work as intended
Seagate's Backup Plus Fast has a 4TB capacity and excellent speed. Both of these traits make it a good portable drive to consider if you want a large and fast drive for transferring data while on the job (or even at home between computers).
Price$ 409.00 (AUD)
Portable hard drives with fantastical speed ratings have now hit the market from both WD and Seagate. In Seagate's case, its Backup Plus Fast has a massive capacity of 4TB, and it aims to please PC users by providing faster than 200MBps transfers over USB 3.0. It can do this thanks to a RAID 0 array running across two 2.5in drives, and, best of all, it only requires one USB cable for power. Seagate wants this drive to be used by photographers, videographers, and other mobile pros, but those of us with simpler plans will also benefit from its swift transfer speeds.
Physically, the Seagate Backup Plus Fast doesn't seem like much of a big deal. It looks almost the same as a 1TB portable drive from a couple of years ago. It's a 2.5in unit that’s not overly thick (22mm), and there is nothing much about it to indicate that in fact two 2.5in drives reside within its housing. It's a clean-looking, plain Jane drive with a single USB 3.0 interface on the back and an indicator light at the front. The only way you'll know there is something more to this drive than meets the eye is when you pick it up and feel it. At 311g, it weighs noticeably more than a typical, single-drive portable hard disk.
The drives that reside on the inside of the case are slim, 2TB models, which provide a usable formatted capacity of 3.63TB. Specifically, Seagate told us that they are Spinpoint M9T drives from the company's Samsung HDD division. They each have a spin speed of 5400rpm and 32MB cache.
We tested the drive on a Windows 8.1 hybrid laptop (a Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro) with a solid state drive (SSD), and we gauged its speed using CrystalDiskMark, as well as a range of manual file transfers to and from the laptop. In CrystalDiskMark, the drive achieved a sequential read speed of 244.9 megabytes per second (MBps), and a write rate of 246.8MBps. It’s not often we see write rates that are faster than read rates, but on RAID 0 drives, the two are often close. When we manually transferred large files, the Seagate recorded a read rate of 217.7MBps and a write rate of 204.54MBps. For smaller files, the read rate was 161.9MBps and the write rate was 153.42MBps.
As those tests show, you can definitely get great speed out of this Seagate drive when it’s connected via USB 3.0 to a computer with a fast drive, and it will come in most handy when moving large chunks of data such as video files. Even though there are two drives inside the Backup Plus Fast, it only requires one USB cable (and one port on your computer) to supply them with power, but Seagate provides a dual-head cable in the box as well, just in case your USB port doesn’t supply enough.
While it's in operation, the drive doesn’t make any obvious noise; you’ll only hear it if you put your ear close to it. It’s a sealed drive without any cooling fans, so the only noise that’s heard is from the spinning platters. You can feel a lot heat from the drive after it has been on and working for a while, with the majority of this heat being concentrated at the top and bottom of the enclosure (the top is metal). It didn’t get too hot to touch, though (at least not after 40min worth of reading and writing in our tests). Vibrations weren’t noticeable during regular operation, and could only be felt when we held the drive.
Software that’s provided with this drive includes Seagate Dashboard 2.0, which can be used to back up your computer in a continuous fashion after an initial backup is completed (it keeps backing up any changed files). It’s simple software to use, and you can basically start a backup just by clicking on one button. This will keep a copy of all the personal files on your computer (anything that’s not a system file). You can also create a backup schedule if you wish, and also customise the backup to include any folders that it might not have selected automatically.
Other features of the Dashboard software include the ability to tap into Seagate’s Cloud feature, and to share and save photos and videos from Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr (though it can’t download full-resolution files, only 1024x768). It also provides the ability to switch off the status LED on the drive. You can’t change the configuration of the drive, meaning its two internal drives will always run in a RAID 0 array to provide the fastest transfer speeds possible over USB 3.0.
To use the mobile backup features of the drive, you have to get the app for your phone (it supports both iOS and Android). Things could be clearer here: the Seagate Dashboard tells you to install the Seagate Mobile Backup app, but the app in the Google Play store is called Seagate Backup. Some consistency would be nice. With this app, you can set you phone to send its data to your Seagate drive every time you join your Wi-Fi network (and assuming the drive is plugged in to a running computer on the same network). In addition to photos and music on your phone, the app can be used to back up the data in your Dropbox and Google Drive accounts.
However, we couldn’t get the mobile app to work successfully during our tests. It told us there was no communication between our phone and the drive (even though it could find the drive and created folder on it), and when we attempted to sync Google Drive data through the app, it just seemed to hang. There is a ‘Cloud’ tab in the Dashboard software that is meant to work through Seagate’s Cloud service, but we also couldn’t get this to work (it wasn’t clear how to create an account to use this feature). At the time of this writing, we are still waiting for Seagate to get back to us with a resolution.
We don’t think the software issues are that big of a deal for a drive like this, which we think will get most of its use as a repository for large files while you’re on the go, rather than as a solution to back up mobile and cloud data. For mobile and cloud data, you are better off using a NAS anyway.
Pick up the Seagate Backup Plus Fast drive if your main priorities are a large, 4TB capacity, plenty of transfer speed, and neat connection method. It has a suggested retail price of $409, which gives it a cost per formatted gigabyte of about 11 cents.
Updates: 22 April 2014 to include specific drive information supplied by Seagate.
Join the newsletter!
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
cloudandco Smart Cane
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Apple iPhone X
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Toys for Boys
Bose SoundLink Micro
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Google Daydream View VR Headset
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Xbox One X
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Apple & GE Announce IoT Partnership
- Optimizely expands its enterprise-focused offerings
- Intel launches AI-driven anti-money laundering solution
- Square expands Australian offering with Square Stand
- Seagate joins Bain bid to take control of Toshiba Memory
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTPrincipal ConsultantOther
- FTSenior Test AnalystACT
- FTProcurement AdvisorACT
- CCDevOps Automation SME - Telco ClientVIC
- CCSEPM Security EngineerWA
- FTPublishing Specialist / Business Specialist - TelecommunicationOther
- CCField Services EngineerQLD
- FTLevel 2 Support Engineer | 12mth FTCOther
- FTBusiness Analyst | Gold CoastQLD
- CCSenior Internet Services Engineer - DevOpsNSW
- CCJava LeadVIC
- FTSenior Front End Developer - (Urgent)Other
- FTSenior Software Developer - Java / MicroServicesOther
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther
- TPInformation Security ManagerQLD
- CCChange ManagerQLD
- CCISAM AdministratorACT
- FTEnterprise Architect - ApplicationsOther
- FTSolution Architect - Desktop ArchitectureSA
- FTSystems EngineerVIC
- CCTeam Assistant/Executive Assistant - TelcoVIC
- FTSenior .NET Developer - Back EndOther
- FTProduct Owner - TelecommunicationsOther