Right off the bat, I formed two opposing impressions of this drive. In the plus column, the Backup Plus is whisper-quiet and versatile.
At a Glance
SeagatePrice: $119.99 (500GB), $129.99 (750GB), $139.99 (1TB)Pros: Easy to use; performs well; offers several interfacesCons: Difficult setup; loose connector in review unit
In the minus column, however, the setup is a bit kludgy. It took a couple attempts to get the drive to set up so that I could use its Protect data backup tool and dashboard menu. A colleague of mine had similar problems getting his Backup Plus Portable drive to save his Facebook data properly; after a couple of calls to the support folks at Seagate, he got the drive to work.
I tested the Backup Plus using a MacBook Pro. The drive's software auto-detected my OS (Mac OS X version 10.6.8, a.k.a. Snow Leopard) and asked if I wanted to use the drive with Mac and PC or Mac only. Choosing both operating systems required installation of the included Paragon NTFS for Mac driver to enable two-way Mac OS and Windows use. Some applications, including Time Machine and the included Mac backup software from Seagate, will not work since they cannot make use of a drive that uses the Windows (NTFS) file system.
Choosing "Mac only" will erase PC-related functions on the drive and prepare it for use with all your Mac applications, including Time Machine and the included Mac backup software from Seagate.
Driving with a Dashboard
Seagate's Dashboard software, which comes with the drive, takes up 3GB of space on your computer. It's a small price to pay for a convenient way to access automated backup functions.
The Dashboard gives you three options: Protect (the backup application), Share (which lets you upload videos and photos to your Facebook, YouTube and/or Flickr accounts) and Save (which lets you download your photos from Facebook and Flickr).
Unfortunately, Seagate's Protect backup tool is only for PCs. Mac users are relegated to using Apple's Time Machine backup, but you can still use the "Save" or "Share" features, so your Facebook or Flickr files are incorporated into the Time Machine backup.
With the Protect tool, you also get a one-year free subscription to Seagate's public cloud service. The free cloud storage subscription includes up to 4GB capacity. You can optionally upgrade your online storage capacity to 10GB ($19.99/year), 25GB ($49.99/year) or 50GB ($99.99/year).