Review: Seagate's New Backup Plus Slim and Backup Plus Portable Offer Lots of Storage at Low Prices

by

Seagate in January announced an updated lineup of its popular Backup Plus hard drives, debuting the Backup Plus Slim and the Backup Plus Portable, both of which are now available for purchase and are ideal for those who need lots of storage space at an affordable price.

The Backup Plus Slim and the Backup Plus Portable are your average, run of the mill hard drives. The Backup Plus Slim is the thinner of the two models as it has less storage space, measuring in at 4.5 inches by 3 inches with a thickness of just about half an inch.


The Backup Plus Portable is about the same size but it's close to an inch thick and about twice as heavy (eight ounces vs. four). Neither one of these drives takes up much space, so they're ideal for backup or other purposes and can be tucked away in a drawer afterwards.

Design wise, the two hard drives are made from a black plastic material with a brushed aluminum front plate. The test models I have are in silver, but these also come in black, a light blue color, and red.


The Backup Plus Slim offers 1TB or 2TB of storage, and the Backup Plus Portable is available with either 4TB or 5TB of storage space. Both are formatted to work with either Mac or Windows.

These hard drives are using standard USB-A cables to plug into a computer, which means that you're going to need a USB-A to USB-C adapter if you want to use them with one of Apple's modern Macs.


USB-C hard drives aren't much more expensive than these Seagate Backup hard drives, so it's maybe not even worth picking one of these up if you have a USB-C machine unless you're swapping files between computers and continue to have a Mac or Windows machine that uses USB-A. For older machines that still have USB-A ports, these hard drives will work well, and functionally, they're fine with an adapter on a USB-C machine.


There's nothing special about the transfer speeds of the Backup Plus Slim and Backup Plus Portable. Seagate says they can reach transfer speeds of 120MB/s, and in my tests on a 2016 MacBook Pro with USB-C, I even saw transfer speeds a little bit higher at about 130MB/s.

Backup Plus Portable on left, Backup Plus Slim on right

You're not going to want to use standard hard drives in situations where you need fast file transfer capabilities, but for things like backups where you have hours to let a backup take place, these drives work well.

Both hard drives come equipped with links to register them on Seagate's website, as well as options to download Seagate's Toolkit software for automatically syncing files between mirrored folders on the drive and on your Mac. You can use these with Windows and Mac machines right out of the box without the need to reformat.

Backup Plus Slim

Seagate sells these hard drives with a one-year Create plan for Mylio, photo organizing software that lets you upload photos to the cloud and access them on multiple devices, but after that year, it costs $50/year to use.

Backup Plus Portable

There's also free two month access to Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography plan, which costs $9.99/month to use after the trial period. Both Mylio and Creative Cloud are optional, so you don't need to sign up for them if you're not interested in those services.

Bottom Line

If you've made the swap over to USB-C and only have USB-C machines, Seagate's Backup Plus Portable and Backup Plus Slim probably aren't the best option for you, because you'll need a dongle.

If you still use USB-A machines or a mix of USB-C and USB-A, however, these hard drives are an affordable way to get a lot of storage for things like Time Machine backups, offloading photos, and more.

How to Buy

Seagate's Backup Plus Slim is available from Amazon, with 1TB of storage priced at $55 and 2TB of storage priced at $70. The Backup Plus Portable is also available from Amazon with 4TB of storage priced at $110 and 5TB of storage priced at $125.

Note: Seagate provided MacRumors with a Backup Plus Portable and Backup Plus Slim for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Tag: Seagate

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
20 months ago

I can fit one whole movie on it! What a steal!

You can use it to backup your entire free iCloud account.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago

If you've made the swap over to USB-C and only have USB-C machines, Seagate's Backup Plus Portable and Backup Plus Slim probably aren't the best option for you, because you'll need a dongle.

Or you can get Micro-B to USB-C cable for well under $10.

I think it's a damn shame that Seagate is selling "Mac edition" external disks with USB-A cable. These editions should minimally include Micro-B to USB-C cable.

WD includes both on their "Mac" edition products.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago

Slow spinning disc and USB-A? What is this? 1998 revisited?

Still fine for backups.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago
It'd be nice if the review indicated this, but be aware that many of the bigger-storage-size bus-powered USB HDDs are SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording). SMR drives may appear to have decent write speeds at first, but upon rewriting, SMR means the drive has to rewrite adjacent tracks, meaning rewrites are dog slow. That means the drive test shown in the article would not sustain that ~130MB/s speed.

Even for backups, I would avoid SMR drives if I had any choice in the matter, especially if your backups result in rewriting lots of small files (e.g. syncing incremental changes). The best usage scenario for SMR drives is for writing data that is read much more often than written, e.g. for media storage (not editing) or for archival.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago
They seem fairly priced but SSD prices have dropped so much that I have moved on from rotational drives.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago
Slow spinning disc and USB-A? What is this? 1998 revisited?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

iPhone 12 Pro in Graphite and iPhone 12 in Blue Shown Off in Unboxing Videos

Monday October 19, 2020 8:20 am PDT by
While the iPhone 12 Pro does not launch until Friday, we now have an early unboxing video of the device courtesy of Twitter account DuanRui, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design and sleek Graphite color option. Ben Geskin re-uploaded the unboxing video to YouTube, which we've embedded below: Geskin has also uploaded an unboxing video of the iPhone 12 in Blue: ...

Apple Releases iPadOS and iOS 14.1 With Multiple Bug Fixes Ahead of iPhone 12 Launch

Tuesday October 20, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.1, the first major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 14 operating system updates that were released in September. iOS and iPadOS 14.1 come a week after Apple released the golden master versions of the updates to developers. The iOS 14.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access...

Watch: iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Tuesday October 20, 2020 6:05 am PDT by
Apple's embargo has lifted for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro reviews. In addition to our detailed review roundups for each device, we've rounded up over a dozen unboxing videos and first impressions below. iPhone 12 in Blue on left and iPhone 12 Pro in Pacific Blue on right via Engadget Key new features of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro include a flat-edge design, 5G support, a much faster A14 ...

Gold Version of iPhone 12 Pro Apparently Has a More Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel Frame

Tuesday October 20, 2020 11:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro reviews hit the web today, and one of the more interesting tidbits came from TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino, who revealed that the Gold version of the device apparently has a more fingerprint resistant coating applied to the stainless steel frame. From his review:Most of the iPhone 12 Pro finishes still use a physical vapor deposition process for edge coating. But the new gold...

Photographer Austin Mann Tests the iPhone 12 Pro's Camera

Wednesday October 21, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
Travel photographer Austin Mann usually performs an in-depth review of new iPhone models to test their camera performance in real-world scenarios. To test Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro, Mann traveled to Glacier National Park, Montana. Mann focused on some of the biggest camera upgrades with the iPhone 12 Pro, including the upgraded Wide lens, Ultra Wide Night mode, and LiDAR autofocus, across a...

iPhone 12 Pro Max Has Smaller 3,687 mAh Battery According to Regulatory Filing

Tuesday October 20, 2020 8:48 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with a 3,687 mAh battery, which is around 7% less capacity than the 3,969 mAh battery in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, according to a regulatory filing published by TENAA, the Chinese equivalent of the FCC. The regulatory filing, spotted by MacRumors, also lists the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM as seen in benchmark results last week. Apple has filed ...

5G Drains iPhone 12 Battery 20% Faster Than 4G in Benchmark

Wednesday October 21, 2020 3:17 am PDT by
After the first reviews for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro emerged yesterday, a new report by Tom's Guide reveals the extent of battery life reductions when using 5G. The report outlines a test wherein the iPhone surfs the web continuously at 150 nits of screen brightness, launching a new site every 30 seconds until the battery drains. Interestingly, the test was run on an iPhone 12 and...

Hands-On With Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro MagSafe Cases

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:33 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are launching this Friday, and ahead of that release date, Apple is shipping out various accessories like the MagSafe charger and MagSafe cases. Yesterday we took a look at the MagSafe charger, and today our MagSafe case came in the mail, so we thought we'd take another look at the charger to see how it works with the case and just how strong the case magnets are. S ...

Reliable Leaker Suggests AirTags 'Coming Soon' in Two Different Sizes

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:53 am PDT by
Apple's rumored AirTags Bluetooth tracking devices could launch imminently and will be available in two size options, based on new tweets from cryptic-but-reliable leaker L0vetodream. In typical enigmatic style, the leaker first tweeted this morning that a "big one" and a "small one" are "coming soon," but withheld what they were referring to. However that was followed an hour later with the ...