You Get Tons of Storage on This Easy-to-Use Drive

The Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive is basic, utilitarian storage designed to fit the widest possible strata of general users. This hard drive has lots of room for downloaded videos and generations of historical backups, and is a relatively inexpensive bucket for anyone who needs to transport scads of large files from one PC to another. This is the highest-capacity hard drive you can buy without complications, like RAID arrays and other multiple-drive combinations. And it costs just pennies per gigabyte.


The chassis is made of black polycarbonate, with perforations on three faces for cooling. The front has the Seagate logo molded into a corner, the back has a USB 3.0 port and the jack for the included AC adapter, and the faceted bottom panel sports rubber feet for extra elevation. The drive measures about 1.75 by 4.75 by 7 inches (HWD).

The Backup Plus Desktop is available in four configurations, priced from $99 for the 2TB version up to $219.99 for the 5TB unit we reviewed. That’s enough space to hold thousands of movies or hundreds of thousands of songs, plus multiple backup versions of your files, particularly if you use an archiving program like Time Machine on a Mac. The drive’s price works out to 4 cents per gigabyte—one of the very best you can find on the market. (For comparison, the Seagate Backup Plus Fast, our Editors’ Choice for portable hard drives, comes in at 6 cents per gigabyte.)

You can use the NTFS-formatted drive right away as a drag-and-drop backup drive for a Windows PC, or reformat it to HFS+ and use with Time Machine. You can also download an NTFS driver from Seagate to use it without reformatting HFS+ for file transfer use with a Mac. Seagate includes an installer for its Dashboard program, which can back up all your document files on a Windows PC. It doesn’t back up program and operating system files, so you’11 need a more specialized software package for full Windows system backup.

The bundled Dashboard program can back up files from your social network accounts and smartphone. Install the free app on your Android or Apple phone, and you 11 be able to set up automatic backups to your drive over Wi-Fi or the cloud. (Youll need to make sure your computer is on with the drive connected in order for the automatic backup to work.) You can also set Dashboard to check your Facebook and Flickr accounts and download new photos.

The Backup Plus Desktop comes with a two-year warrant)’, though we prefer to see a three-year warrant)’ for everything but the cheapest drives.


We ran into errors on the PCMark 7 drive test that caused the Backup Plus Desktop Drive to fail. That’s unfortunate, but not entirely uncommon, so we tested it with the older PCMark 5 drive test, on which it scored an impressive 10,796. That’s a bit faster than the Buffalo Drivestation (10,561 on PCMark 5). On our drag-and-drop test, the Seagate took 14 seconds to copy our 1.2GB test folder. That’s on par with the Buffalo drive, but a lot slower than the 2 seconds of the LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2, our Editors’ Choice for high-end external drives. To be fair, the LaCie drive used the blazing-fast Thunderbolt 2 interface and a dual-solid-state-drive (SSD) RAID array. The LaCie Little Big Disk is the drive for power users, but the Backup Plus Desktop Drive and its peers are better suited for downloads, file copies, and other general tasks.

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Overall, the 5TB Seagate Backup Plus Desktop is an excellent choice if you need the most storage for the dollar, in a drive that won’t travel with you. It’s our Editors’ Choice for desktop-class external hard drives, replacing the now-discontinued IoSafe Solo G3 due to the Seagate drive’s larger capacity and extremely attractive pennies-per-gigabyte pricing.

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