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596 of 620 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon July 1, 2012
Size: 500 GBColor: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you're looking for an affordable USB 3.0 portable external hard drive that performs well and has a decent warranty, the Seagate Backup Plus is worth a look.

PROS:
- Runs quiet
- Stays cool
- Very good USB 3.0 performance
- Backwards compatible with USB 2.0
- Compatible with Mac OS 10.6 and up
- 2 year warranty
- Reasonably priced

CONS:
- Enclosure attracts dust

DESIGN & BUILD
The all plastic drive's top has a brushed metal appearance, while the bottom of the enclosure has a matte finish. While the enclosure looks sharp, it attracts a lot of dust on the sides and on the top. Also, I can't think of a reason why Seagate chose to not put rubber feet on the bottom of the drive. It slides around on flat surfaces rather easily. The 18" SuperSpeed USB 3.0 cable is short for use on desktops, so it's best suited for laptops.

PERFORMANCE
CrystalDiskInfo identified the internal drive as a Seagate Momentus Spinpoint M8 (ML500LM012). It's a SATA II (3Gb/s) drive with a 9.5mm height, spinning at 5400 RPM and an 8MB cache. 5400 RPM drives are ideal for portable external storage drives, because they tend to stay cooler than 7200 RPM drives.

I tested the sequential transfer rate of the drive using CrystalDiskMark and got 117 MB/s read and 116 MB/s write, which is slightly better than the cheaper Seagate Expansion drive. It should be plenty fast for transferring large multimedia files, such as photos, videos, and music. The formatted capacity of the drive is 465 GB and comes pre-formatted in NTFS.

SOFTWARE
The Seagate Backup Plus drive comes with Seagate's Dashboard software for backups. It's basically replication software, so the backups are exact duplicates of the files you choose to back up. I actually prefer this method, as opposed to archiving files into a proprietary backup file. Seagate Dashboard also comes with some interesting social network functionality, but for the most part, I didn't find them all that compelling.

You can also use Seagate Dashboard to backup your files to Seagate's own cloud backup storage service, but I'd avoid doing so. If you want to back your files up to the cloud, use a well-known service like Dropbox, SkyDrive, Box, or Google Drive. At least with those services, you can access your files using different devices, like your smartphone or tablet. Also, the Seagate cloud service isn't compatible with Macs.

A few drive utilities are included in Seagate Dashboard as well. I don't know why you'd want to, but you can disable the drive's LED light, as well as set power saving options. You'd probably be better off letting your operating system handle power savings, however. Lastly, you can run a non-destructive drive test to check the health of the drive.

MISCELLANEOUS
The Seagate Backup Plus drives have a two year warranty. Drives do have a tendency to fail over time, so the longer the warranty, the better.

The Seagate Backup Plus works with Mac OS X 10.6 and up. When I plugged it into the USB 3.0 port of a MacBook Air (June 2012), a Time Machine prompt came up asking me if I wanted to use the new drive as a Time Machine backup drive. I was also able to browse the contents of the drive in Finder, without having to reformat the drive. Since I use both Windows and Mac OS X, it's nice not having to reformat the drive for use with one or the other (or even worse, FAT32), but I'm not entirely sure how stable the NTFS driver is for Macs. I believe Seagate may be using Paragon NTFS, though I can't say for sure.

Also, I wanted to briefly mention that the Seagate Backup Plus portable hard drive uses a new port technology called, Universal Storage Module (USM). Basically, the back end of the drive where the USB 3.0 port is, can be removed and a new "module" can be connected, so you can convert the drive's interface for use with Thunderbolt or FireWire. Most people, including myself, won't have any use for USM. I'm not even sure where you can buy the different modules at this point, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Out of curiosity, I removed the module and connected a bare internal notebook drive to it. It powered up and worked fine on my Windows PC. So, if you needed to, you could remove the module and use it as a portable dock for a SATA 2.5-inch hard drive.

CONCLUSION
The Seagate Backup Plus 500GB USB 3.0 portable external hard drive is a great little drive. Its USB 3.0 performance is fantastic and the drive works interchangeably with Windows and Mac OS X, due to the NTFS driver. I'm not a big fan of the enclosure, due to how easily it attracts dust, and because Seagate forgot to attach rubber feet to the bottom. I do, however, like that the drive has a two year warranty and is reasonably priced. I recommend the drive, but suggest you spend a little more for the larger 1 TB drive and also buy some 3M rubber feet to attach to the bottom of the case.
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388 of 427 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon July 5, 2012
Size: 500 GBColor: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This review will be a bit shorter and to the point than usual, because the product itself is quite basic and I wasn't able to fully review the software because it apparently made my computer virtually unusable.

External hard drives have been around for quite awhile and I'm sure you know what they are for. This Seagate external drive is just a hard drive placed inside of an enclosure. In fact, you can buy these enclosures for next to nothing, minus the hard drive, of course.

As an external hard drive, it worked just great, but I suppose you'd expect that. The problem I had was with the software that was included with this item.

The software is actually found on the drive itself, which is pretty much plug and play. It allows you to backup or post directly to YouTube, Facebook, the cloud and other options.

I installed said software, which was a somewhat hefty 170mb or so. Once I did that, my laptop slowed to an absolute crawl, requiring multiple reboots in order to keep using it. But those reboots wouldn't help for long, as I'd find the system slowing over and over again. And I'm not talking about minor inconvenience slowing, I'm talking about cussing out your computer type of slowing.

I tried clearing the cache, removing all cookies and even virus scans and nothing helped. Finally, I removed Seagate's software and then the computer ran completely normal once again.

So, the drive's just fine and the software is awful, in my view. I didn't test the software's functionality because I couldn't properly use my computer with it installed.

Seagate makes a good product and my rating is reflective of what I believe is their "not-quite-ready-for-prime time" software. If you are using Windows management system, or something else, to back-up data and store information, I think this product is perfectly fine. But the software was a major problem in my experience, and I've reduced the otherwise good rating reflective of that frustrating experience.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2012
Size: 500 GBColor: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have an an IMac with OS 10.7 Installed. There is no power cord to worry about, just plug into the USB slot. I clicked on the installer for MAC's and just followed the on screen instructions. There is the option to have it be strictly MAC formatted, or being able to go between MAC and Windows, without reformatting. Once installed, it is just a matter of placing the stuff to be backed up on to the drive. I am not sure how well it works on the Windows platform, but it is very easy to use and without problems on the Mac.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Size: 500 GBColor: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I own a Mac and this drive showed up on my desktop straight out of the box. It even asked if I wanted to use it for a Time machine backup drive. Since I won't be using it with a PC, I changed the format from the FAT format to the Mac's "Mac Extended Journaled" format. At the same time, I used the "Secure Erase" option to overwrite the drive with zeros to clear away all the old files etc. The zeroing out process started OK but then my formatting program said it was going to take 13 hours to complete. This shocked me since I was able to zero out a 3TB hard drive in the same amount of time.

I next started to copy my files. To my horror, it said it was going to take two days to complete - and that was only for 44 GB of data! This is ridiculous. I did a test: I copied a 9.3 GB set of folders to the new drive - it took: 4 hr 20 min. I next copied the same folders from one Western Digital drive to another - it only took: 4 min. A big difference! Yes I am comparing USB to Firewire. But there shouldn't be that much of a difference. Afterward I ran a disk repair utility on it which did seemed to speed it up a little. But it's still painfully slow.

My Western Digital drives come with Firewire 800 and USB 2. It would have been nice if this Seagate came out of the box with two or three different ports too. FYI: I searched and searched the Seagate site but I never found the Firewire or Thunderbolt add-on adapter cables that the "Seagate Backup Plus portable drive" web page mentions.

HERE'S THE SOLUTION: I had plugged the drive into a USB hub. I moved to a USB port on the front of my computer. Suddenly I was copying 100 GB in 90 minutes. Now I am very satisfied.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Size: 500 GBColor: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had mixed reactions to this external hard drive. It does a decent job of backing up your data overall. I just think the price merits a bit more security, a bit more care (rubber feet for the drive), and better packaged software.

The drive itself is attractive, streamlined, and is easy to plug and play. Just plug it into your USB and begin saving that all-important data -- it's truly that easy. I found that it transferred files smoothly and fairly quickly, and that even especially large video and graphics files transferred smoothly and without a hitch.

However, I disliked the software that operates it, the "Seagate Dashboard Agent," which is buggy, slow, and crashes frequently (especially on startup). Note: I ran the product on a PC running Windows Vista 64-bit, just in case this was a factor.

The dashboard is also not terribly intuitive, so you have to click through several options to get to exactly the kind of backup you want, and I'm not a fan of click-click-clicking through menus to do simple things. I've used several other external hard drives (MyGen brands mostly), and found the accompanying software much better than you get here.

On the plus side, the drive itself operates quietly and smoothly, and after backing up my entire hard drive, I checked all of the files for several weeks in a row and as far as data storage went, have yet to find a single problem. It seemed to do a good and dependable job in backing up and storing the data.

I would echo others who find that the drive really did need little rubber grips or feet on the bottom -- at first, when plugged into my USB hub, it proceeded to kind of slide all around if I attempted to keep it plugged in and backing up continuously. But I bought some stick-on rubber feet cheaply from the office products store down the street and now it's much easier to manage along with my other stacked hub items.

For the price, it's a good drive. I just wish it had come with a little more security, and with a better bundled software dashboard. But it will back your data up and keep it safe, so it does what it promises to do.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Dear Angela,

This response is from Seagate Support and we'd like to thank you for your review of the Backup Plus Portable drive. For the software problems described in your review, it may be helpful to check for software updates to see if this helps. To update the software, please click on the settings icon within Dashboard, then click on Update tab. This will let you know if any updates are available.

We appreciate your feedback on the rubber feet and also on the software as we are always looking for ways to improve our customers experience with our products.

If the software problems continue after the update, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our support staff and we will be happy to help further:

http://seagate.com/support/contact-support/

Best Regards,
Seagate Support
The manufacturer commented on the review below
37 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2012
Size: 500 GBColor: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This sort of drive isn't a new idea. A laptop-class hard drive is placed inside a USB-powered enclosure. As in any case, there are tradeoffs. Low power means low speed. Although real specifications are rarely available for drives of this type, it's safe to say that rotational speed is well under 5K. I have a number of similar drives and all are faster that this one.

But the big problem is that this particular drive doesn't work. I attached it to a Win7 machine for backup. The backup failed after a sluggish couple of hours. The drive reported errors which I corrected with chkdsk. I tried again, and once again the drive failed. Over to my Mac it went for a session with Techtool. It took less that five minutes to have a dozen bad sectors reported. No point in continuing--this drive is junk. It took only a few hours of use--or attempted use. Any sort of QC at the factor would have failed this drive immediately. I guess there's no QC.

I've purchased a number of Seagate drives over the years and had to return a few. Their return policies put the onus on the customer; there's no "customer is always right" at Seagate. The customer must pay shipping to Seagate in all cases, and they take their time getting the drive back to you. Of course you'd be buying from Amazon, with a much more enlightened return policy. You might have to use it.

Most of these drives will be OK, but my one-off experience should raise a few cautionary flags. I would suggest seriously stress-testing this drive before committing any valuable data. I would suggest Seagate hire a new QC manager.

UPDATE: 11/2012
I recently received the 1TB version of this drive. Because all reviews are lumped together, I can't report on it separately. This new drive is everything the other isn't. It's fast, performing full surface test in 3.5 hours. This is very nice for a bus-powered device. It's quiet, and so far it hasn't given me a single error. I was so surprised that I retested the initial drive that had been the subject of my review, using a brand new computer. The problems were still there. I'll stand by my harsh remarks on Seagate quality control: that first drive should never have made it to the shipping dock. But if you get a working version, you'll be quite happy. The lesson is to test the drive by the most strenuous means you have--before you put a byte of your own data on it.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Dear Personne,

This reply is from Seagate Support. We noticed your review and wanted to wanted to apologize for the problems experienced with your Backup Plus Portable drive. Certainly it is not typical or expected for these drives to behave this way. On your Windows computer, it may be helpful to test the drive using our Seatools drive diagnostics to verify the drive health. Seatools may be able to correct some problems that are encountered in the testing as well. Here is a link to our Seatools diagnostic utility:

http://ow.ly/7RwjA

If the above troubleshooting does not help or you have any remaining questions, we would be happy to help further. We have a variety of return options available we can also discuss if a return is needed. Please use the link below to speak with a support representative directly:

http://seagate.com/support/contact-support/

Best Regards,
Seagate Support
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2012
Size: 500 GBColor: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Ready to use upon plug in. This device could not have been more user friendly! I had some trepidation about whether it would require a tech savvy user, but it was very easy to use with user-friendly prompts.

Easy to understand, step-by-step prompts on how to transfer existing files for other computer locations. Very useful and a good deal for the price.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2012
Overall this is a very good product. I intend to use it on both a PC and Mac to move files between a Windows desktop and a MacBook Air, and to back up the Mac. While I have not yet connected the drive to a Windows machine I had no problems getting it set up with my Mac. This is my first experience with a USB 3.0 product and the speed is wonderful.

However - as implied by my review title - this product is not quite as Mac friendly as the summary comments on the Seagate web site would lead you to believe. If one configures the drive to handle both PC and Mac files one cannot use Time Machine to back up to this drive. Further the Mac version of the Dashboard software does not include the back up configuration capability. The online documentation recommends one use Time Machine. My conclusion is that the decision to utilize the drive for both Macs and PCs limits the use of this drive as a primary eternal back up drive for a Mac without additional hardware or software. The options would appear to be to purchase third party Mac backup software, determine a different method of moving files between a Mac and a PC, or purchase another external drive to use solely as a Mac backup with Time Machine. Right now I am using a trial version of third party software and will evaluate that as my first alternate choice.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Dear J. L. Bennett,

This reply is from Seagate Support. We noticed your review and wanted to comment on your experience with your Backup Plus Portable drive. Using Time Machine with our Backup Plus drives changes the format on the drive so the drive will not be readable on a PC. The mixed use environment for a Backup Plus drive works when the drive is setup in the original drive format (NTFS) and then uses our included Paragon driver software to make the drive read and write on a Mac. Apple's Time Machine utility will not allow this configuration however.

If you are looking for a drive that can be used with Time Machine on your Mac, and also use our backup software on a PC, a good choice would be our GoFlex Home network drive listed below. Here is a link to this drive for additional details:

http://ow.ly/dydts

If you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our support staff:

http://seagate.com/support/contact-support/

Best Regards,
Seagate Support
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2012
I bought this as I needed a backup solution to get years of pictures and assorted files from my 2008 macbook backed up as I'm giving it to my sister who is going to be a college freshman this year and transfer them to my new windows laptop. Works perfectly back and forth between a mac and pc which is exactly what I was looking for. Very simple plug and play solution.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Size: 500 GBColor: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Well, at least I find gear such as this to be quite fun to use. This is the 500GB USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Enclosure from Seagate. But it's not just any USB 3.0 enclosure, it also features USM (Universal Storage Module). I'll be including pictures soon, so be sure to check for those later.

ENCLOSURE:

The enclosure itself appears to be well made. It has a good solid feel to it and it's nice and slim. This is quite important as I've been tossing this in with my XPS13's Case Logic sleeve. It has an outer pocket for the AC Adapter, so there isn't a lot of room. But the drive & short cable fits in quite nicely.

I would normally pop open the case to check out the drive inside and even consider a future upgrade. Unfortunately this is completely sealed. I found no way to open the enclosure to get to the drive. At least not without breaking something (or obviously voiding a warranty). That's somewhat disappointing, but perhaps somebody will post a safe way to open it. I'm just not going to risk it with mine as I can already see that going horribly wrong (it's got a pretty tight seal).

UNIVERSAL STORAGE MODULE (USM):

This is a relatively new feature that is slowly starting to show up. There is basically a normal SATA/Power connector at the back of the drive like what you'd find on a 3.5" or 2.5" drive in your Desktop or Notebook. Except USM modules are designed to be much stronger for repeated use. The idea is that you'd be able to use a caddy or drive bay in your system and "dock" the drive in there with full SATA speed. Very cool.

What you're seeing in the pictures is an included "adapter" that seamlessly converts (and hides) the SATA ports in exchange for an unusual looking "hybrid" connector that looks like a micro-USB port and slightly small power port (power) connected together. It includes both power/data into one cable. The other end of the 18" cable is a normal USB 3.0 connector that will work with virtually any system with a USB port.

The obvious downside here is those 100 or so various size USB cables you have laying around aren't going to work. So don't lose this cable!

BENCHMARK RESULTS:

These benchmark were run on my Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook running Windows 8 x64 Release Preview connected via the Superspeed (USB 3.0) port. It's fast internal SSD should also help eliminate any bottlenecks along the way. The movies were 1080p .mkv files, averaging around 10 GB each. MP3's were usual sizes. Pictures are typical 8MP jpeg.

REAL WORLD TEST:
This test simply involves copying files to and from the external drive with common file types. As you can see, speeds are crazy fast and roughly 3-4x what I get on a USB 2.0 drive. Write speeds with smaller files types are a bit slower than read.

Read - Copy from External to Internal:
File Type...Size.....Time...........Speed
------------------------------------------------
Movies......22.7GB...3 min 52 sec...100MB/s
MP3's.......5.69GB...1 min 21 sec...72MB/s
Pictures....5.04GB...1 min 9 sec....75MB/s

Write - Copy from Internal to External:
File Type...Size.....Time...........Speed
------------------------------------------------
Movies......22.7GB...3 min 52 sec...100MB/s
MP3's.......5.69GB...1 min 12 sec...81MB/s
Pictures....5.04GB...0 min 53 sec...97MB/s

CRYSTALDISKMARK 3.0.1 x64:
I suggest running this on your own external drive for comparison, as they can vary depending on your particular hardware.

ALL.......Read MB/s...Write MB/s
Seq.......108.5.......108.0
512K......37.72.......43.85
4K.........0.442.......1.096
4K QD32...0.535.......1.068

These "charts" were the best I could throw together on the Amazon review since there isn't a real table option or anything. It keeps messing with the formatting, so I'll try to make it legible. Check the pictures section for CrystalDiskMark and ATTO benchmark screenshots.

SEAGATE DASHBOARD 2.0:

Like many external drives, Seagate includes some free backup software. Which unfortunately, didn't seem to work 100% correctly with Windows 8 Beta. Some of the buttons wouldn't respond or just ignored input. It just kept scheduling backups. I did install it on a Windows 7 system just to get a feel for it. It's pretty straight forward how it works.

Just select what you want to backup, and it'll setup a schedule for it. It also features a "cloud" backup feature that I didn't test. Personally, I normally stick with Windows backup. But for those who don't use it, the Seagate backup software should get the job done.

PRO'S:
+ Very fast transfer speeds
+ Slim Enclosure
+ New USM SATA Port
+ Good build quality
+ Bonus Seagate Backup Software
+ Very quiet operation

CONS:
- Hard Drive not user replaceable
- Proprietary USB cable

CONCLUSION:

While not all that uncommon, the non-removable drive is big negative for me. Overall, the transfer speeds are very fast, no matter what or how you're copying data. Also considering the current price of the 1TB drive is right at $99, it would be hard to pass this one up if you're shopping for an external USB 3.0 hard drive.

If you can live with the new cable and sealed enclosure, I consider this highly recommended. Especially if you plan on taking advantage of USM.
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