Seagate’s most recent releases for portable hard drives include the Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 1TB Mobile Drive and the LaCie Porsche Design 2TB Mobile Drive, sporting a USB Type-C port. How do these new drives stack up? With Seagate’s acquisition of LaCie, the difference between a LaCie and Seagate drive, at least in the portable arena, are blurring. Generally, LaCie drives are optimized for the Mac OS, and Seagate for Windows, but any drive of course can be reformatted for the Mac OS or Windows.
USB Type-C is the wildcard for anyone purchasing a computer, thinking of purchasing a computer in the future, and who needs external storage. Originally USB Type-C was the one port to rule them all. A reversible design, capable of accepting a charger as well as an external drive or video display, it was a modern answer to the mess caused by the three current variants and limitations of USB 1, 2, and 3 standard.
Add to the mix the use of Thunderbolt for Apple’s laptops and desktop machines, although with its own connector, and in its third iteration, it's almost caught in a time-warp vise. Why? Well, the Mac Pro hasn’t been updated since its introduction, and is still using Thunderbolt 2, USB 3, which matches the technology for their laptops and desktop line. So, at some point Apple will finally put in place current Thunderbolt 3, and USB Type-C across the line. Once this happens the market for Type-C will take off, but until then should a consumer consider a Type-C drive? And Apple's current implementation of Type-C doesn't yet extend the promised Thunderbolt compatiblity. We think that for forward looking compatibility, Type-C is very much of a "now" purchase.
LaCie Porsche Design 2TB Mobile Drive
The new Porsche Design Group designed LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive with Type-C is a small little beauty. With crisp sharp angles, a clean all-aluminum enclosure, and a single Type-C port, it comes with two cables so that its ready to work with Type-C to Type-C, or for backwards compatibility a Type-C to normal USB 3.0 cable is supplied. In our tests with the Silver 2TB model it was the second fastest of three drives we have tested recently, the other two being the Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim, and a Western Digital MyPassport Ultra. Using Black Magic Design’s Disk Speed Test application, on a recent 15-inch MacBook Pro, we saw a Write speed of 126.7MB/s and a Read speed of 120.7 MB/s. With only one port, your laptop should be charged up, since on the Retina MacBook Pro, there is only the single Type-C port. Some users have used a powered USB 3 hub to get around the single port limitation. Alternately, the LaCie Desktop Drive series (we haven’t tested them yet) offer the ability to charge your laptop at the same time it’s being used as an external powered drive, which we think is a great solution. The first time you use the drive you are prompted to format and register the drive, as well as setup a private encrypted partition, and we found the process easy and smooth to setup.
The drive ships with a complete software set including LaCie Backup Assistant (easy way to set up automatic computer backups), LaCie Private-Public (protect data with AES 256-bit encryption*), and Eco mode (for energy savings). It is protected by 2 year limited warranty. The LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive is fashionista; tech savvy approved, ideal for anyone with USB Type-C, and comes highly recommended!
For more information on the LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive visit: www.lacie.com
Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 1TB Mobile Drive
The Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 1TB Mobile Drive is the latest revision of Seagate’s popular Backup Plus Slim series, and is touted as “the world’s thinnest 2TB mobile hard drive. This new product builds on the award-winning Backup Plus Slim drive, delivering a stunning new design with the same leading capacity in an even slimmer profile. The Backup Plus Ultra Slim also includes 200GB of Microsoft OneDrive® cloud storage and Lyve® software compatibility, so users can back up, access and share their favorite files from any device or location.”
The drive sports a lovely brushed aluminum cover with a durable black plastic base, available in either Gold or Platinum colors. Ours was the bluish-silver Platinum color, a perfect accompaniment to our MacBook Pros. Either color is lovely, and with it’s softly dimpled design, except for the Seagate logo embossed on the bottom, you would be forgiven for thinking it a LaCie design.
It is the software package that really lets you know it’s a Seagate division product. The unit ships as a Windows formatted drive, and has the included Microsoft OneDrive support, but it also includes Lyve® software for viewing photos and videos on both Android and Mac OS systems. We formatted it for the Mac OS for our tests, and it performed very well, and it was the fastest of the drives we tested, showing Write speeds of 134.2MB/s and Read speeds of 131.4MB/s using USB 3 on a recent MacBook Pro. This is just a bit faster than the Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 1TB Mobile Drive. It also includes the time tested “Seagate® Dashboard software, which offers users either one-click on-demand or customizable, scheduled backups for their devices. This allows users to schedule backups for when it’s most convenient.” In practice this is a solid solution, although with so many Mac OS users taking advantage of the Mac OS included Time Machine, it will probably be most useful to Windows users, although with the cloud being seen as a necessary component of most properly thought out backup strategies, this might not be the case, especially with the ability to utilize Google Drive, Dropbox, Facebook, or Flickr.
As we see more SSD drives incorporated into laptop designs, with their lower capacities, especially at the price point compared to spinning disk mechanisms, the way that we use portable drives is changing. Not trusting the cloud entirely, users are increasingly using portable drives not only as a local and fast backup solution, but with the increasing file size relative to video and audio quality resulting in large files that won’t fit on the laptops included SSD, a generation of users who expect to bring data, especially music and video files with them for instant access is growing. And a small, fast, lightweight drive like this is perfect for that use.
The drive is only 9.6mm thick, or 0.377953-inches, which makes it seriously skinny, light, and durable. For Mac or Windows users on the go with a USB 3 compatible computer, the fast, stylish, and thin Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 1TB Mobile Drive comes highly recommended.
For more information on the Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 1TB Mobile Drive visit: www.seagate.com
Harris Fogel, with additional reporting by Ken Kramar, posted 7/16/2016