Seagate Backup Plus Slim Review

Updated March 31, 2014
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Seagate Backup Plus Slim
Bottom Line

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is the slimmest portable hard drive on the market. It's also one of the fastest, according to tests conducted at CNET. User reviews indicate that it's reliable, too, with a low rate of reported drive failures. While most owners find it easy to set up and use, a few report problems getting it to work. Also, it doesn't include security features to block unauthorized use.

Performance

Zippy backup speed. No USB 3.0 drive this size -- and very few external drives of any kind -- can beat the speed of the Seagate Backup Plus Slim. In tests at CNET, it was able to read and write files at around 120 Mbps. The drive comes preformatted for Windows (NTFS). CNET editor Dong Ngo says it's also easy to get it to play nice with a Mac, and outlines a couple of approaches. Most users say setup is simple and the included backup software is easy to use.

ProsLots of capacity for the price, Very fast transfer speeds, Extremely compact, Low failure rateConsNo security features, Setup can be tricky

Reliability

Lacks password protection. Ngo's biggest concern about the Backup Plus Slim is that, unlike competitors, it doesn't offer a way to password-protect the contents. This means that if you lose the drive, anyone who finds it can access your files. The Seagate's two-year warranty is another weak point, as most other external hard drives are covered for three years. Reliability is nonetheless excellent; The Wirecutter analyzed nearly 250 user reviews at Amazon.com and found that only 3.63 percent of users reported drive failures.

Value

Price is hard to beat. The Backup Plus Slim is competitively priced. We found prices ranging from as low as $55 for the 500-GB version to $120 for 2 TB. (A 4-TB version, called the Backup Plus Fast, costs around $280, but The Wirecutter warns that it has a much higher failure rate than the Slim.) Ngo thinks that Seagate's backup software "adds a lot of value to the drive," especially for Windows users. Overall, he considers it "a great deal."

Our Sources

1. TheWirecutter.com

The Best Portable Hard Drive, Kimber Streams, March 25, 2014

The Wirecutter names the Seagate Backup Plus Slim as the best portable desktop hard drive on the market. It beats its closest competitors in both hands-on performance tests and reliability (as reported by users).

2. CNET

Seagate Backup Plus Slim Review: Fastest and Skinniest 2TB Portable Drive, Dong Ngo, March 21, 2014

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim earns a rating of Excellent (4 stars out of 5) at CNET. Editor Dong Ngo calls it "one of the best deals on the market": small and light, with plenty of capacity and speed. He wishes it had security features and a longer warranty, though.

3. Amazon.com

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Hard Drive with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014

We found over 500 reviews for the Seagate Backup Plus Slim at Amazon.com, spread across multiple pages covering multiple capacities. Owners give it 4.5 stars overall, saying it's fast and compact, with plenty of capacity and useful backup software. Complaints about reliability are rare.

4. BestBuy.com

Seagate - Backup Plus Slim 1TB External USB 3.0/2.0 Portable Hard Drive, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of April 2014

There are more than 175 reviews for the 1 TB Seagate Backup Plus Slim at BestBuy.com, with ratings averaging 4.6 stars out of 5. Owners say it's attractive, reliable and fast, with plenty of capacity. A few complain that setting up the drive is a hassle, but 97 percent say that they would recommend it to a friend.