July 09, 2012, 7:37 AM — Seagate is moving away from its GoFlex branding with a new series of external drives dubbed Backup Plus, which will store not only your photos, videos and files, but some social media data as well -- users can back up or share documents to Facebook and photo-sharing site Flickr. And as far as I know, it is also the only single hard drive backup device that offers an uber-fast Thunderbolt connectivity option.
Lightweight and adaptable
The new Backup Plus portable drive is remarkably slim and light, weighing a little less than half a pound and measuring just .57-in. thick. It's 3.19 in. wide and 4.86 in. long. It comes in one of four colors: black, red, blue or silver.
Like its predecessor, the GoFlex, the Backup Plus portable line comes with a Universal Storage Module -- a removable SATA interface adapter. The drive comes standard with a USB 3.0 adapter snapped in, but that can be removed with a quick tug and replaced with a FireWire 800 or Thunderbolt adapter -- if you're willing to part with some additional greenbacks. The Thunderbolt adapter will run you $99. The FireWire adapter for the Backup Plus won't be available until the fall, but you can still use the GoFlex model of the adapter with this drive; it just won't match new drive's look. That sells for $24.99.
The Seagate Backup Plus portable drive with the Universal Storage Module interface adapter removed.
One of the nice features of Thunderbolt is the ability to daisy chain up to five devices. Unfortunately, if you have other Thunderbolt-enabled devices, Seagate's Backup Plus portable model will have to be at the end of the chain -- it's got no Thunderbolt output port. On the other hand, the desktop model has two Thunderbolt ports, so it can be used as a "pass-through" device.
I had problems with my adapter, which had a loose connection to the drive's SATA interface. This caused the I/O interface to my computer to disengage more than once with little more than a slight movement of the USB cable. I'm not sure if that's a design flaw or a manufacturing glitch with my unit.