Review: Seagate's BackUp Plus Is Simple, Social & Cloud Friendly

Written by Tony Ibrahim     24/07/2012 | 07:08 | Category name i.e.HOME OFFICE

Seagate's new drive speaks social network fluently, but is this a worthy additive or another empty sales promise?

Far too often, someone's notebook gets nicked and you hear the phrase "I don't care about the computer; it's the data I'll miss." But the laboured hours don't have to go to waste thanks to portable hard drives and cloud storage solutions. Entering this densely populated market is Seagate's new BackUp Plus range, and we put it through the ringer to find out what innovations it brings and if it's worth your hard earned money.

Design

The top of the drive has been dressed with brushed aluminium which looks and feels nice, but beyond its façade, Seagate resort to lightweight plastic. It's available in black, white, blue, red and silver, with all of the colours nominating white plastic apart from the black option, which sticks with the one colour.

The included 18 inch cable is coloured according to the plastic and is just the right length. It's also compatible with FireWire 800 and Thunderbolt adapters, but both are sold separately.

The drive itself is small, lightweight and very practical. It measures just 14.5mm thin and weighs 224 grams. It's short enough to fit in your jacket pocket with little intrusion and is reminiscent of a chunky passport.

Cloud

Seagate is looking to bridge the advantages of cloud storage with its own tangible solution by offering 4GB of free Nero cloud access for a year. Your cloud account can be accessed from the dashboard and acts as a safety net by backing up precious files and folders in the event your hard drive is lost, stolen or damaged. Saving your files to the cloud is easy enough complements of the simplistic software, detailed further below.

Seagate requires users to register an account with them before they gain access to their cloud storage.  

Dashboard

Your Backup Plus drive and cloud account is managed via Seagate's Dashboard software. The easy to use and clean interface is characterised by a few large icons and corresponding labels that aid in effortless navigation.

In the top right hand corner, there are two icons—Backup Plus and Cloud—which will direct you to an overview of either one. These icons are ever-present no matter where you are throughout the menu.

The home screen has been broken down into three easy-to-digest parts:

The first is "protect" and manages your backup plans. Files can be backed up once (snapshot), monthly, weekly, daily, hourly or continuously, to either your cloud account or drive. There's also the option of nominating which folders you want backed up (pictures, videos, music, etc) or any other custom folder of your choice.


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It is worth noting that "protect" is only available for Windows users as Apple's OS X relies on the default Time Machine. 

The "share" heading allows you to upload images and videos to Facebook, Flickr and YouTube, circumventing the tedious task of uploading your photos one by one.


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The final option is "save" and lets users backup their photos from Facebook and Flickr to your computer's drive, but users can nominate a location on their Seagate drive, with the automatic backup syncing them with Seagate's cloud if configured. 


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Beneath the relevant account is an auto save feature that downloads new files automatically.

Seagate's Dashboard is a driving force behind the BackUp Plus' success. The software is bare bone easy and even the technologically-ill can use it with confidence. 

Performance

The BackUp Plus makes use of USB 3.0 technology—renowned for transferring data ten times quicker than USB 2.0—and is ideal for transferring large data files quickly.

When transferring a 909MB video via run-of-the-mill USB 2.0, the transfer's top speed was 136MB/s and slowed down to 58MB/s.

Transferring the same file over USB 3.0 hit a transfer speed of 837MB/s and slowed down to 211MB/s. At that rate, it took just two seconds to transfer.

Our 500MB review unit cam with 465MB of free space. Like all memory devices, the missing memory (35MB, 7%) has been allocated to recovery software, installation kits and tutorial videos (of which, the latter can be deleted). Losing 7% of your drive isn't ideal, but the BackUp Plus' competitors suffer from the same imperfection.

Verdict

This is a great portable hard drive versed in the prompt transfer of files and optimised through idiot-proof software. The ability to back up your digital life (Facebook, Flickr) is an option envied by its rivals and gives it the deal-making advantage.

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Pros & Cons

Pros:

Very easy to use software Backs up social network data 1 year free cloud storage

Cons:

Bland looks