Seagate Seven portable hard drive (500GB)

This thin hard drive is more of a showpiece than a regular data storage device

Seagate Seven
  • Seagate Seven
  • Seagate Seven
  • Seagate Seven
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Reliable performer

Cons

  • Premium price tag
  • Doesn't back up original photo sizes from Flickr

Would you buy this?

The metal styling of the Seagate Seven gives this portable, 2.5in hard drive an interesting look and feel compared to most other drives. It’s not just a regular rectangle. Instead it has a somewhat sculpted design that is made to look like a bare internal hard drive, but without the exposed circuit board.

On the inside of this attractive steel enclosure is a 7mm hard drive with a capacity of 500GB. This 7mm characteristic is the reason for the drive’s name -- Seven -- a name that we think George Costanza would approve of. Despite being thin, the dimensions of the drive aren’t small, with the length and width extending out to 122mm and 82mm, respectively. A more standard looking drive, such as Seagate’s Backup Plus Portable hard drive, is 113mm long and 75mm wide, but that drive is a little thicker and boxy looking -- far from the prestigious look that the Seven exudes.

Nevertheless, the extra surface area isn’t a problem unless you want to place the drive in your shirt pocket for some reason, and it makes the drive look that much better to our eyes when placed next to our laptop.

It connects via a USB 3.0 connection, and it’s supplied with a 40cm woven fabric cable that adds to the attractiveness of the drive. There is a single blue LED indicator, which signals that the drive is plugged in and operating, but the way it’s designed (there is an index finger-sized square around the light) made us think that it was an illuminated biometric scanner -- now that would have been impressive.

The drive’s formatted capacity in Windows is 465GB, and it’s a reasonably quick drive overall. We tested the drive by connecting it to a Dell XPS 13 laptop that features a solid state drive. Large video files were written to the Seagate Seven at a rate of 95.94 megabytes per second (MBps), and read off the Seagate Seven at 97.35MBps. This is similar performance to other portable Seagate drives that we’ve tested on the same laptop, such as the Buckup Plus Portable Drive.

Backing up a game (Battlefield 3) to the Seagate Seven from the laptop averaged a rate of 70.56MBps, and reading it back to the laptop averaged 97MBps. A mixture of music files (MP3s and FLACs) were written to the Seagate Seven at 70.3MBps and read from the Seagate Seven at 95.69MBps.

Seagate supplies its Dashboard software on the drive itself, and this software can be used to back up your laptop, your smartphone, or your Facebook and Flickr accounts. It’s best suited to backing up Ultrabooks or other ultraportable laptops that have solid state drives, rather than desktop replacement style notebooks with big 1TB hard drives.

The Seagate Backup mobile app gives you the ability to save your phone's data on the Seagate Seven drive.
The Seagate Backup mobile app gives you the ability to save your phone's data on the Seagate Seven drive.

You can set up the Dashboard software to back up your data continuously when the drive is plugged in, so you don’t have to worry about schedules or remembering to initiate a backup yourself. To back up your phone, you must first install the Seagate Backup app from your phone’s app store, and create an account to use the app. You’ll have to log in to Seagate Backup in the Dashboard software as well, and for a back up to be successful, you have to make sure that the computer stays on with the Seagate Seven plugged in.

Using Seagate Dashboard to back up data from a laptop.
Using Seagate Dashboard to back up data from a laptop.

On the social side of things, we’re not all that taken by the drive’s ability to back up photos from Flickr. It’s definitely a nice feature to have, but the problem is that it doesn’t back up the original files that you’ve uploaded to the site -- you only get 1024-pixel wide copies. Nevertheless, if you're serious about your photos, you should already have your originals backed up somewhere rather than relying on a solution like this.

Overall, this portable USB hard drive puts out a positive vibe and is a showpiece for Seagate’s thin hard drive technology and industrial design. We like the way it looks and also the way it feels (solid), and its performance in our tests was reliable. You do have to pay a premium price for its design, though, with Seagate sticking on a suggested price tag of $189 that’s noticeably more expensive than other more normal looking 500GB portable drives on the market.

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