The new Backup Plus portable drive is an accomplished portable hard drive. The new Dashboard application makes it extremely easy to backup your content and the ability to automatically download and backup your photos and videos from Facebook and Flickr is especially useful if you are an avid user of the two above-mentioned social networking sites. To add, Seagate also mentioned that they are looking to expand this feature to other social networking sites too.
From an aesthetics point of view, the new drive cuts some clean lines and is in fact redesigned to be more compact than Seagate's previous range of FreeAgent Go portable hard drives. We're glad Seagate has taken our feedback from past reviews to rectify its footprint to be more handy and friendlier on the pockets. In fact, it's actually more compact than all the external drives from last year in terms of volume. This is why its additional adapters don't have a good fit as they were designed to be paired with the FreeAgent GoFlex series.
Performance is decent especially when paired with an USB 3.0 port, since our benchmark results show that there was hardly any difference between an USB 3.0 and a Thunderbolt connection. For regular backups, we think the default USB 3.0 adapter that comes with the drive will suffice. However, if you are going to be using the drive to transfer large files, it might be worth investing in the Thunderbolt adapter (that’s assuming of course your system has a Thunderbolt port in the first place).
However, do note that the Thunderbolt adapter has only a single port, which means you have to use it at the end of the daisy chain. For users whose system has only a single Thunderbolt port, this could be problematic since this means you can only use this drive at the end of a daisy chain or drive a Thunderbolt display but not both. This is because the current shortcoming of the Thunderbolt interface is that displays have to be at the end of the daisy-chain. And although we don't have a local pricing for the Thunderbolt adapter, we noticed that it's going for US$99.99 (S$125) on Seagate's online store, which is extremely pricey for the minimal performance boost. More frustratingly, the adapter's package doesn’t even come with a Thunderbolt cable at that price!
In terms of pricing, the 1TB variant of the Backup Plus portable hard drive we have for review retails at S$169, while the smaller 500GB variant can be had for S$119. At these prices, it is surprisingly competitive with other portable external drive offerings despite its added advantages.
In closing, the new Backup Plus portable hard drives are an interesting addition to the portable hard drive market. Although they are not any faster than existing portable hard drives that are already in the market, the new Dashboard application makes it easier than ever to backup your precious content. Also, the ability to swap interfaces makes the drives somewhat 'future proof'. Lastly, the functionality to save and backup your Facebook and Flickr content is handy especially if you are an avid user of these social sharing sites. All things considered, the new Backup Plus portable hard drive is very competent with very useful features and is easily recommendable.