Introduction + Setup
A Social Spin on External Portable Hard Drives
Seagate recently refreshed their lineup of external hard drives by introducing the new Backup Plus. These new drives are meant to replace the older GoFlex drives and as befits a new series, they boast some interesting new features.
With the new drives, Seagate is also championing the importance of backing up your data - hence the name Backup Plus. And one of the highlights of the new drives is undoubtedly the ability to backup content on social media networks such as Facebook and Flickr. This is enabled through their easy-to-use Seagate Dashboard utility, which has been improved and reworked to be more user-friendly - another highlight of the new drives. All in all, with the new drives, Seagate promises to offer a fuss-free solution to backing up your most precious data.
Like most of Seagate’s newest drives, the drives are designed to work right out of the box with both PCs and Macs. By default, the drive is formatted in NTFS, but a special driver provided by Seagate ensures that Macs can have read and write access to the drive too. The new Backup Plus portable hard drives will come only in 500GB and 1TB flavors. The mechanical hard drive inside spins at 5400rpm.
Physically, the new Seagate Backup Plus portable hard drive is an elegant looking unit thanks to its brushed aluminum front panel. To keep things interesting, Seagate offers the drive in four colors - red, blue, silver and black. You can check out how the various colored drives look from our news of its launch.
The most unique physical aspect about the Seagate Backup Plus is its detachable port. As part of Seagate’ Universal Storage Module (USM) interface, the drive comes by default with an adapter that supports USB 3.0 connection (and as a result of backward compatibility, USB 2.0 as well). However, additional adapters can be purchased that supports the faster Thunderbolt and FireWire 800 interfaces.
Setting Up the Dashboard
The most significant changes, however, comes under the hood in the form of Seagate’s new Dashboard 2.0 software. The new software was designed to be more intuitive and user-friendly, and it succeeds. Load the application and you’ll be greeted with three options: Protect, Share and Save.
Protect lets you quickly and easily backup all the contents on your system with a single click. For more advanced users, you can create custom backup plans that lets you choose to backup only certain file types or even only backup specific files. You can even specify what time you want the backup process to take place.
Seagate’s Dashboard 2.0 introduced integration with social media sites like Facebook and Flickr and using the Save option enables users to easily download and backup their Facebook and Flickr content. With a single click, the Dashboard application will download all your Facebook photos and videos onto the external drive. And if you have organized your Facebook photos into albums, the application will create respective folders for them in the hard drive too so everything is neatly stored away.
Lastly, the Share option seems a bit superfluous as it lets users share content easily on their Facebook, Flickr or YouTube account. Although this feature works well enough, we can’t see why users won’t just log into their respective accounts instead as that is more straightforward.
Perhaps acknowledging the effectiveness of OS X’s own Time Machine backup utility, the "Protect" panel is missing for Mac users, leaving only the "Save" and "Share" options. That said, Mac users can easily configure Time Machine to use the Seagate Backup Plus as their backup hard drive.
All in all, the new Dashboard 2.0 application from Seagate works just as promised. It was easy to backup files from our system to the Backup Plus drive and it was also equally easy to backup photos from our Facebook and Flickr accounts.