by Lyle Smith

Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim Review

Comprised of a variety of different sizes and designs, the Seagate Backup Plus family is the company’s line of portable storage solutions focused on capacity, performance, and portability. The Ultra Slim was announced in January of this year and touted as one the thinnest 2TB portable hard drives on the market. Using the company's latest 7mm 2.5” HDD technology, the Ultra Slim follows the Backup Plus Slim Drive, offering the same generous 2TB in storage capacity but in an even thinner form factor at just 9.6mm in overall thickness.

The Seagate drive comes bundled with 200GB of Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage and is compatible with Lyve and Seagate Dashboard software, offering users an easy way to automatically back up photos, videos, and other content. The Ultra Slim is quoted to deliver transfer rates up to 120MB/s, which is more than enough speed to satisfy the needs of working professionals who are often on the go.

The Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim is available in capacities of 1TB and 2TB (in gold and platinum colors) and is backed by a 2-year warranty. We will be looking at the 2TB unit in this review. 

Seagate’s Backup Plus Ultra Slim Specifications

  • Capacity: 1TB, 2TB
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Colors: Platinum, Gold
  • Max Data Transfer: 120MB/s
  • Seagate Dashboard
  • Lyve App
  • OneDrive Cloud Services
  • Formatting: PC
  • Dimensions (L x W x H mm): 113.5 x 76 x 9.6 mm
  • Warranty: 2 years

Design and build

The Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim is a slick looking portable drive. Sporting either a platinum or gold color, the front cover is embossed with a dimple-like design, similar to a golf ball. Located on the bottom right dimple is the Seagate logo. These portable drives are incredibly slim, measuring in at just 9.6mm in thickness; they can easily slip inside a pocket or backpack.

The side profile houses the USB 3.0 port, while the back panel uses a matte black design coupled with the embedded Seagate "S" logo.

 

Performance and Interface

To test the performance of the Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 2TB, we will go over two different areas of analysis: the BlackMagic disk speed test and 2MB sequential and random transfer speeds via IOMeter. We will also be comparing the drives to the recently reviewed Lacie Porsche Design Mobile portable drives (2TB & 4TB models). Please note that the LaCie Porsche Design Mobile drives leverage USB-C while the Seagate Ultra Slim uses USB 3.0.

For the BlackMagic disk speed test, we used a current generation MacBook Pro with a 5GB test file. Here, the Plus Ultra Slim 2TB recorded 121.6MB/s read and 124.5MB/s write, which placed it in the middle. The LaCie 2TB drive boasted the top overall performance with a write speed of 133.4MB/s and a read speed of 132.3MB/s. The 4TB LaCie was the slowest performer of the three drives, recording a write speed of 123.2MB/s and a read speed of 115.8MB/s. Overall, however, there was little discrepancy in performance between the comparables.

For the IOMeter benchmark, we connected all three drives to our HP Z620 workstation where we recorded sequential and random transfer speeds via a 2MB test. The placement of the testing reflects that of the results above with the BlackMagic.

In this benchmark, the Seagate boasted speeds that placed it in the middle of the pack again with sequential results of 124.27MB/s read and 40.85MB/s write. Random tests told a similar story with 80.17MB/s read and 36.85MB/s write. As far as the LaCie drives go, the 2TB model had the best write speeds by a significant margin and was also the top performer in reads with 124.38MB/s and 131.93MB/s respectively. The 4TB LaCie, on the other hand, recorded 117.74MB/s read and 24MB/s write. Random scores of the 2TB LaCie showed 83.49MB/s read as well as another dominant write performance of 105.19MB/s. The 4TB LaCie was well behind its lower capacity brother once again with 44.42MB/s read and 23.46MB/s write.

2MB Test LaCie Porsche Design 2TB LaCie Porsche Design 4TB Seagate Ultra Slim 2TB
Sequential Write 124.38MB/s 24MB/s 40.85MB/s
Sequential Read 131.93MB/s 117.74MB/s 124.27MB/s
Random Write 105.19MB/s 23.46MB/s 36.85MB/s
Random read 83.49MB/s 44.42MB/s 80.17MB/s

The Ultra Slim uses the Seagate Dashboard software to manage the drive, which can seamlessly protect and backs up files to both your computer and mobile devices. We have looked at this software several times through our previous Seagate portable drive reviews, including the Seagate Backup Plus External Hard Drive (5TB and 8TB models). You can view those reviews for more details. The Dashboard also integrates well with the Seagate Mobile Backup app on iOS and Android devices. Combined, users can back up photos and videos directly from their mobile devices (iOS and Android) using Wi-Fi or through cloud services such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Conclusion

Available in gold in platinum colors, the Backup Plus Ultra Slim is one of Seagate’s nicest looking drives and perfect for mainstream users. The new drives are available in capacities of 1TB and 2TB, both of which come in just under 0.4 inches thick. In addition, Seagate has bundled their new drive with some pretty useful stuff, including 200GB of Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage and Lyve software.

Leveraging a USB 3.0 interface, Seagate quotes their new Ultra Slim drive with 120MB/s for sequential reads. After running BlackMagic, the drive proved it could reach these speeds and more with 121.6MB/s read and 124.5MB/s write. We also looked its IOMeter via our HP Z620 workstation, which records sequential and random transfer speeds through a 2MB test. In this workload, the Seagate continued its performance speeds with sequential results of 124.27MB/s read and 40.85MB/s write while our random test recorded 80.17MB/s read and 36.85MB/s write. During these tests, we compared the drives to the recently released LaCie Porsche Design Mobile 2TB and 4TB drives, where it placed in the middle of the leader board for both benchmarks. 

As far as price-per-GB goes, the Ultra Plus has the slight edge. More specifically, the 1TB and 2TB capacities go for roughly $70 and $100, respectively, compared to the LaCie Porsche Design Mobile drives, which go for $85 and $120 for the same amount of storage.

Pros

  • Slick design
  • Good performance; exceeded quoted speeds
  • Useful bundled software

Cons

  • Write performance is middling

Bottom Line

Overall, the Ultra Slim portable hard drive is a great addition to their Backup Plus line, featuring a premium design and useful bundled software.

Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim on Amazon

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