The Seagate Backup Plus 1TB portable drive is the first in Seagate’s new USB3.0 line of external hard drives. The drive is intended to replace the popular GoFlex line of drives which Seagate produced for quite some time. The new drives have had several upgrades, while still maintaining the ‘flexability’ the GoFlex drives in which one can use a variety of connections.

Specs & Aesthetics
The Backup Plus is excellent for a day-to-day portable storage solution. The drive offers up to 1TB of storage and comes in red, blue, silver and black. The 1TB silver version is currently available at Amazon for £64.99 (as of time of writing) – excellent value for a 1TB USB3 drive with such a strong brand name behind it. The USB 3.0 connectivity really makes a difference with drive speeds – at least doubling it in most cases in our tests with this drive. (Just to note, we are reviewing the 1TB silver version of the drive).

The Backup Plus is an average size portable hard drive, measuring in at a thickness of 1.45cm and an 8.11cm width by 12.34cm length. The drive fits in the pockets of most trousers and feels very light in your hand or your pocket at only 224g. The drive has a two-year warranty, offered by Seagate and has the new Seagate Dashboard already stored on the drive, ready for installation.

The drive comes with a standard, multi-use SATA Data + Power adapter which converts to a Micro USB3.0 connection. Included is a Micro USB3.0 to full USB3.0 cable, however, other cables can be purchased separately to connect the drive using other interfaces. This connector is excellent, as it can be used with almost any internal hard drive in addition to most other Seagate External drives (such as the Wireless Plus), or even an SSD, so, kudos to Seagate for offering customers the extra value of being able to use the adapter for multiple items instead of using some proprietary solution.

The drive comes packaged in enough plastic to keep it well protected, with a thick, rigid exterior box offering additional padding. The box matches the style of all Seagate’s new product lines and offers a few features and specs on the outside, additionally touting the ability to be connected by USB3, Firewire or Thunderboard (although only USB3 is included out of the box). The included cable is also quite short, however, this can be easily rectified with a cheap extension cable if absolutely necessary.

The brushed metal finish on the top of the drive looks lovely, while the rest of the drive is plastic to keep the device light and portable. On the silver drive, the white plastic actually contrasts nicely with the silver brushed metal and the drive is quite stylish. Now that all the specs and aesthetics of the drive have been discussed, it is time to move on to the part that truly matters, performance. We decided to run this review on our Dell Laptop as since this is a portable drive, the most likely use for it will be with a laptop, so, this should give more accurate figures than if used on a gaming PC which may boost the speeds slightly. This Dell Laptop is using a Sandy Bridge processor.

Performance Testing
In our first test, we tried to find something to compare the drive with. We don’t have any other portable external hard drives available for testing, however, we did find an old 160GB internal Toshiba laptop hard drive (5400RPM) lying around which we could connect using USB3. We decided to run a test using this drive to see how it fares up to a dedicated, modern external hard drive solution.

So, as you can see, the world of hard drives has come a long way in the last four or five years – especially in terms of sequential read, over four times the speed. Keep in mind we are testing both these drives over USB3, the Toshiba is designed to be used internally (however, can be used in a caddy) and the Backup Plus is a dedicated external solution at the higher end of the performance spectrum. Sequential write performance in the Backup Plus is almost double that of the Toshiba drive, just showing the difference in buying a good quality, dedicated external drive over putting an old drive in a caddy.

To get figures which were more realistic, we ran some tests on file transfers on the portable drive using several different types of files. All tests were done using TeraCopy, a more advanced file copying program for Windows which accurately measures the average transfer speed over a list of file transfers. We tested files like ISOs, music files and video files and we will now analyse the performance in these real-use transfers.

In our first test, we copied the Windows 7 ISO from my laptop to the external drive. The Windows 7 disk image is a total size of 3167MB and, over the course of the transfer, we saw a steady 61MB/s transfer speed, with the transfer peaking at 64MB/s. These results are impressive as the maximum transfer speed one could ever hope for over USB2 would be 25MB/s, perhaps 30MB/s with a large push. We tested the same ISO over USB2 and we got a 21MB/s average transfer rate, peaking at 24MB/s.

For our second test, we copies some music files from my laptop to the Backup Plus. In the first test, we copied 2.89GB of music (502 files) over a 54MB/s transfer speed, peaking at 65MB/s. We then tried a larger amount of music, 14.12GB (2202 files), which achieved 55MB/s, with a peak at 68MB/s. As you can see, the Backup Plus provides a reliable ~55MB/s transfer speed over USB3, regardless of the type of transfer (small number of files or large). Over continuous testing of the same files, we did not see a drop below 48MB/s in ANY USB3 TEST.

In our penultimate file transfer test, we copied some TV shows over to the drive. We tested 5 episodes, totaling 1.12GB, which achieved an strong 67MB/s transfer speed, peaking at an amazing 102MB/s. It is clear that this drive is capable of reaching the 100MB/s mark in the right conditions.

Finally, we copied over the installation files of a PC Game, totaling 4.89GB (27 files) which achieved a very impressive 79MB/s average transfer speed, peaking at 92MB/s. A 79MB/s average speed over USB3.0 is very impressive for today’s external drives; I have not seen any consumer grade USB3 drive at such an affordable price perform faster than the Backup Plus. I have heard the WD Passport comes close, however, I cannot say they which is superior for certain as I have not used the WD Passport.

Seagate Dashboard

The Seagate Dashboard is a new, bonus feature which customers of Seagate receive free on their drive. This software allows the scheduling of regular backups of certain files and folders on your computer and also restore them to your PC in case of a loss. Through the share menu, one can automatically send videos and pictures to Youtube, Facebook of flickr using the dashboard, however, it works both ways; one can also automatically download all their photos from social networks through the save feature.

Using the save menu allows precious photos and videos which were previously posted on Facebook, Youtube or flickr to be downloaded to your drive automatically on a regular basis. This feature is extremely useful to save time download photos and videos individually from each of the sites, safely, securely, automatically and regularly.

The Dashboard is certainly a very nice bonus for Seagate to include, and is just one of those things that doesn’t need to be included, but is nice for a company to offer as some extra value for their customers. This program will definitely appeal to many in making their lives easier and ensuring everything is automatically backed up on a regular basis.

The Backup Plus is a reliable, affordable external hard drive which maintains a steady transfer speed of at least 55MB/s in real life transfers, often going up as high as 79MB/s. At the price of only £65 on Amazon (as of time of writing), the drive certainly is perfect for consumers looking for a high quality drive with good performance at a budget price. The Backup Plus is perfect for everyone’s day-to-day portable storage needs. InsideTheBox is giving it our silver award.