Review: Seagate Backup Plus Portable isn't fancy, but will get the job done

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in Current Mac Hardware edited January 21
As we move into an area with higher resolution photos and 4K video, storage is more important than ever. We check out the 2019 Seagate Backup Plus Portable external HDD to see if it is up to everyday tasking in the home or office.

Seagate Backup Plus Portable
Seagate Backup Plus Portable works with PCs or Macs


External drives come in all shapes and sizes with features of all forms. But when it comes down to it, most people need a solid, dependable drive that is reliable, affordable, and still has a nice design. That's where the Seagate Backup Plus Portable fits best.

Available in a variety of different metal finishes, this drive can be configured with up to 5TB of external storage. For most, that will fit their needs and style. Let's look at the specifics.

A stylish enclosure

Seagate Backup Plus Portable connected to my MacBook Pro
Seagate Backup Plus Portable Connected to my MacBook Pro


The Backup Plus Portable is a spinning hard drive, rather than an SSD. With a high capacity, it is a bit larger than some of the more compact drives. Seagate alone offers slimmer drives with lower capacity or pricier SSDs.

Ours has a white, plastic shell with a brushed metal plate that wraps around the top and front. In our case, that plate is a very light blue. On that metal side, a small pinhole LED that illuminates whenever the HDD spins up.

Seagate Backup Plus Portable uses a slim Micro-B connector
Seagate Backup Plus Portable uses a slim Micro-B connector


For connectivity, there is a USB micro-b port that fits the micro-b to USB-A cable that included. The cable is color-matched white to the color of the enclosure. We would have liked USB-C, but for those who are using a Mac or PC without the newer port, large capacity drives with USB-A are still necessary. This isn't a major crisis, and a USB-C to micro-B cable can be had inexpensively.

Seagate Backup Plus Portable has a USB-A to USB Micro-B cable
Seagate Backup Plus Portable has a color-matched USB-A to USB Micro-B cable included


Seagate does specifically offer many USB-C drives and if you do like this drive, Amazon offers USB-C to micro-b cables for only a few dollars that will fill in great.

Speed and software

This drive easily works with both Mac and PC and can be reformatted as such. Seagate also offers quite a bit of software on the drive, including a year of Mylio Create and two months of Adobe Photographer Creative Cloud.

Mylio Create is a useful tool for organizing and backing up photos as well as editing and sharing them, but if you've got Photos and sufficient iCloud storage or Google Photo storage, you probably won't use it. Two months of Creative Cloud isn't much but it is enough if you are on the fence about subscribing. Lastly, there is the Seagate Toolkit Backup software which is an excellent option to use if you don't want to use Apple's Time Machine.

Seagate Backup Plus Portable Blackmagic Disk Speed Test results
Seagate Backup Plus Portable Blackmagic Disk Speed Test results


This drive isn't the fastest out there -- it is still spinning platters after all. But it does the job and is enough for casual backups. In our Blackmagic Disk Speed Test we got read speeds of 122.9MB/s and write speeds of 114MB/s.

Should you buy the Seagate Backup Plus Portable hard drive?

If you need storage -- and quite a bit of it -- this is an excellent option to go with. It requires a little extra effort if you want USB-C, so you might as well check out one of Seagate's other offerings that includes it.

Seagate Backup Plus Portable in hand
Seagate Backup Plus Portable is a solid portable drive


What you do get, though, is 5TB of storage in a compact enclosure all for just around a hundred dollars at retail price, which is exactly what you want in an economy drive. The internal Seagate drive includes a two-year warranty.

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Large storage capacities

  • Sleek, metal design

  • Good software included
Cons
  • No drop protection

  • No USB-C cable included

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Where to buy

You can pick up the Seagate Backup Plus Portable in 1, 2, 4, or 5TB capacities in either black, silver, red, or blue. The 1TB capacity starts at $49 while the 5TB maxes out at $109 on Amazon.
macplusplus

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,684member
    I've been using old harddrives for backup purposes for awhile now.   Mostly they come from old disk drives that were replaced with SSDs with the diskdrive repurposed as a backup (I replaced the DVD in both my Thinkpads with a diskdrive that gets used as the backup drive so its simple and automatic with no external parts).   Yeh, it's old and it might fail, but then I can simply replace it with another one -- I have a 1Tb sitting here beside me looking for a purpose.   No big deal.

    In the case of this newer Seagate, you get a huge amount of storage at (what I suspect) is a far more reasonable cost than an equivalent amount of SSD storage.  While its speed will be limited, that is not usually a major factor in backups.
    edited November 2019
  • Reply 2 of 10
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,186member
    Seagates are a piece of shit....massive amounts of failures at work so we stopped using them. I know, I know, people will say WD is a bigger piece of shit or whatever. We've had very good luck with WD though. 
    lowededwookie
  • Reply 3 of 10
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,928member
    My primary backup is a datacenter-quality SSD with power-loss protection. Secondary: iCloud Photos. Tertiary: a datacenter quality HDD.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    RocaRoca Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I need an external that can reliably do auto-backups. I have a WD and apparently there is a "known" issue with it randomly disconnecting (even though I have it plugged directly into my iMac) so that Time Machine is worthless. If I had known that I never would have bought it. Can anyone recommend an external that's dummy proof? As in, I plug it in and turn on Time Machine and I never have to think about it?
  • Reply 5 of 10
    macxpress said:
    Seagates are a piece of shit....massive amounts of failures at work so we stopped using them. I know, I know, people will say WD is a bigger piece of shit or whatever. We've had very good luck with WD though. 
    Were they the cursed 3TBs? Because they were fine again after that whole debacle. I had piles of those fail on me.
  • Reply 6 of 10
    macxpress said:
    Seagates are a piece of shit....massive amounts of failures at work so we stopped using them. I know, I know, people will say WD is a bigger piece of shit or whatever. We've had very good luck with WD though. 
    Oh, I'll second this big time. I have worked in IT as a Systems Engineer for 18 years and of all the drives that fail the most, it's Seagate. They are horrid drives and I would steer everyone I can away from them. On the other hand, Western Digital drives have failed the least bested only by the old Fujitsu drives.

    Sure, WD fail. You're using a drive with physically moving parts so physics is going to win at some stage but physics takes its sweet time with WD and seems hell-bent on killing Seagate.
  • Reply 7 of 10
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,684member
    cpsro said:
    My primary backup is a datacenter-quality SSD with power-loss protection. Secondary: iCloud Photos. Tertiary: a datacenter quality HDD.
    Is it possible to have TOO much backup protection?
    ...  Sorry, that was a stupid question.   The answer is always "YES" if it turns out you don't need it.  But a definite "NO!" if you do.

    My theory is:  You can replace hardware.  You can replace software.  You cannot replace data.  Back it up!  Well!
     
    OkiRun
  • Reply 8 of 10
    Since 2015, I have had Seagate HDDs as backups in the office for specific windows and apple computers.  Since that time, they have more than made up for their paltry cost by successfully reimagining 1 Dell, 2 MacBooks, an iMac, and a Mac Air that crashed.  All data recovered.  These devices run day and night for years in the office and I have never had a failure.  This may not be the typical case, but I have to give a thumbs up when earned.  
    GeorgeBMaccurtis hannah
  • Reply 9 of 10
    Roca said:
    I need an external that can reliably do auto-backups. I have a WD and apparently there is a "known" issue with it randomly disconnecting (even though I have it plugged directly into my iMac) so that Time Machine is worthless. If I had known that I never would have bought it. Can anyone recommend an external that's dummy proof? As in, I plug it in and turn on Time Machine and I never have to think about it?
    Not sure who their OEM is, but my Transcend external drive has been great with my Mac Mini... truly set and forget, for at least five years running.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,928member
    cpsro said:
    My primary backup is a datacenter-quality SSD with power-loss protection. Secondary: iCloud Photos. Tertiary: a datacenter quality HDD.
    Is it possible to have TOO much backup protection?
    ...  Sorry, that was a stupid question.   The answer is always "YES" if it turns out you don't need it.  But a definite "NO!" if you do.

    My theory is:  You can replace hardware.  You can replace software.  You cannot replace data.  Back it up!  Well!
     
    Exactly. Family photos are irreplaceable. Plus iCloud Photos serves dual purposes of (1) backup (2) cross-device synching. My HDD photos backup is a relatively inexpensive format that I can put in a safe deposit box and afford to maintain multiple generations of.
    edited November 2019 GeorgeBMac
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