As a gadget reviewer, I often have to install benchmarking tools on various devices. These can be large files that easily take up a few gigabytes of disk space.
These files are now at my fingertips, thanks to cloud storage. But I still use an external portable drive because it is faster than the office's Internet connection.
My case is hardly unique. Many of us require a portable hard drive for work or personal use. Which is why I was chuffed to learn that the Seagate Backup Plus Portable hard drive now offers a maximum capacity of 5TB.
Seagate says that it currently offers the largest capacity for a mobile hard drive. While you can find external hard drives that offer more storage (up to 8TB), these are desktop models that are larger and heavier than the Seagate Backup Plus Portable, which weighs just 247g.
In contrast, the Backup Plus is about as thick as a stack of cards and fits in my palm. It draws power from the connected device and comes bundled with a 45cm USB 3.0 cable.
PRICE: $339 (5TB), $279 (4TB)
INTERFACE: USB 3.0
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5
Its design is nothing to shout about. It is a plain rectangular aluminium case with a small white LED at the corner. You can choose from four colours, though my black-clad unit was soon covered with fingerprints.
The Seagate comes formatted in the NTFS file system for Windows computers. Mac users have to install a driver for it to work with their workstations.
Click on a link inside the drive to visit the Seagate website to register the drive's two-year warranty. You will also be prompted to download the Seagate Dashboard software to manage the backup and recovery process, such as selecting specific files to save or how frequent to do a backup.
It is a simple, easy-to-use app, though somehow I did manage to freeze the software while browsing its Help pages.
You can also manage the hard drive using the Seagate Mobile Backup app (for iOS and Android). This app can back up the photos, videos, contacts and even messages from your mobile device to the portable drive. But the drive has to be connected to a computer with the Seagate Dashboard software installed, and on the same Wi-Fi network as your mobile device.
It is not the fastest drive, because it is, after all, a laptop-class drive that runs at 5,400rpm.
In the CrystalDiskMark storage benchmark, the Seagate managed an average read speed of 42MBps and a write speed of 38MBps.
In real life, it took about 28sec to copy a 1GB file from my computer's solid-state drive to the Seagate. According to Windows File Explorer, the transfer speed was around 38MBps, which confirms the benchmark results, and is similar to the Toshiba Canvio Aerocast portable hard drive.
• Verdict: Desktop-class external drives offer more capacity and better performance, but the Seagate Backup Plus Portable is ideal for those who need something lightweight and handy.