Seagate recently announced capacity increases to several of its HDD products. Prior to that, the company released the latest iteration of its Backup Plus Desktop Drive. The new version is an 8TB model that supersedes the previous 6TB flagship.
The Backup Plus series sits close to your PC, serving as external storage. With a brick-like design, this model isn't designed for portability. But it does offer extended capacity as well as functionality you don't get from smaller devices used to move files from one location to another.
Seagate's Backup Plus is an external hard drive that connects to your PC or Mac over USB 3.0. Chances are good that you have a product like this already. What separates the Backup Plus from its competition, though, is the bundled software and what it can do.
The Backup Plus works in conjunction with Seagate Dashboard, which is loaded on the drive from the factory. With it, you can:
- Use the Backup function to configure a one-click backup plan or customize a scheduled local backup.
- Use the Save feature to back up user-generated content from your favorite social networks automatically.
- Use the Share feature to upload multiple files to social networks from your computer.
- Use the Backup Plus with PCs and Macs without reformatting (Mac NTFS driver supplied).
The file format is not proprietary, so you can retrieve your data without special software. There are some special requirements for Mac products, though. To use the Time Machine functions, the Backup Plus has to be formatted in HFS+. But if you want to use the Backup Plus across platforms, the drive needs to be formatted in NTFS (Windows' native file system). Seagate does include the Paragon driver for Macs, so its hardware can read NTFS. Time Machine just won't run in that configuration.
Seagate offers the Backup Plus in several capacities. We found models available at 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 5TB, 6TB and the large 8TB version we're testing today. From the bottom to the top of Seagate's range, the physical features are identical. In short, if you take the software away, the Backup Plus becomes a very nice-looking external 3.5-inch hard drive.
Pricing & Warranty
Prices range from $100 for the 2TB Seagate Backup Plus to $300 for the 8TB model, though you might be able to find it for less than that. The Backup Plus 6TB offers the best value when you divide dollars by gigabytes; it currently sells for $200.
The Backup Plus ships with a four-foot USB 3.0 cable and a wall wart-style power plug. Inside the package, you also receive a quick-start guide in paper form.
Loaded on the drive, we found a copy of Seagate's Dashboard Installer for both Windows and Mac, a folder with links to online documents and a PDF warranty statement.
A Closer Look
Seagate sells the Backup Plus both online and in retail stores. Its packaging conveys a lot of information about the product's look and features.
You'll find the Backup Plus protected by cardboard instead of dense foam. Its accessories are in a separate box inside the package, so the drive won't suffer surface damage in shipping.
The Backup Plus seems to take design cues from the military's stealth vehicles. The sides are matte black, while the top is finished in a piano-smooth surface. The stealth theme carries over to the angular cooling vents on the sides and bottom, where rubber anti-vibration pads are shaped with odd, angular peaks.
There are only two connection points for cables on the back of the enclosure. It really does not get any easier. You have USB 3.0 connectivity and a barrel-style power plug right next to it.
We like the fact that this system is designed to sit flat for stability. Many other backup products stand vertically and can tip over when they're bumped. The Backup Plus has a confident footing, so it won't tip over, damaging the drive.
While there are a number of bundled software pieces, they all start with the Seagate Dashboard.
Dashboard covers many of the backup functions, including restoration. You can back up your entire system, specific folders and even mobile devices. The backups can happen on demand or on a schedule using the Backup Plan option. Mobile devices with Android or iOS operating systems can also save files to the Seagate Backup Plus through software available in the App Store and Google Play store.
Going above and beyond the software accompanying competing products, Seagate's Backup Plus can share and save social media content. Moreover, the system supports software from Lyve that has a number of features for sharing content from more than one user. You can read more about Lyve here.