The Ergohacks Verdict

Desktop hard disk drives seem to get bigger and bigger but otherwise don’t add extra features. After all – what could you add that would actually improve them? LEDs? Seagate has come out with a product – the Backup Plus Hub that actually has a useful feature – two USB 3.0 ports built right in. The idea is that you can either chain extra external hard disks or just use the ports to charge your devices. It’s an obvious idea that I’ve not actually seen ever done before but turns out to be quite useful.

The BackupPlus I was lucky enough to pick up in the Amazon sales has a massive 8 terabyte hard disk. Seagate also makes a 4 and 5 terabyte version and it comes formatted to NTFS. The drive isn’t the fastest and my tests gave an average transfer rate of 165MB/second with an 11.2ms access time. Good enough to stream video from and perfect for a backup drive.

As is normal with external hard disks there was a certain amount of utilities pre-installed. They let you look at the space you have, set auto backups and more interestingly install an app on your smart phone that will automatically back up your pictures and video when you’re on the same network. It’s not the prettiest app in the world but worked well and gives you a way to backup your phone that neatly sidesteps the cloud.

If you’re looking for large desktop storage the Backup Plus is a good economic choice by itself and the two extra USB ports are an actual value add. I’d have preferred if Seagate could have built in a sleep timer to spin down the hard disk after a time period but even with that drawback, it’s a decent buy. Recommended.

Ergohacks Essential

Buy it from Amazon  

Price: ±£180
Included: USB 3.0 to USB A cable and power adaptor

Specification

The Backup Plus Hub is a fairly simple glossy black brick with a half height angled front. All of the publicity pictures show it standing on its side but the feet are actually designed for having it lie flat – probably more sensible with a spinning drive anyway. There are two USB 3.0 ports on the front which are powered but oddly not the blue colour that usually indicates 3.0 The box glossy plastic attracts fingerprints and dust and while it looks good clean will take regular dusting to keep it so.

Whilst powered the drive is kept spinning the whole time – this means quick access but has the disadvantage to a very slight persistent vibration and noise. I’ve taken to unplugging it at night which isn’t ideal but does work.

Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 19.8 x 11.8 cm
Capacity: 5TB
Item Weight: 1.06kg
Colour: Black
Data Transfer (Quoted): 180MB per second
Apps: Android and iOS with Windows software preinstalled and Mac drivers downloadable
Power: Mains Supply

Warranty: Two years free from manufacturer defect. Note that this does not cover the data on the drive – always keep backups!

Requirements

The drive needs a USB 3.0 port, mains power and a stable surface. It’s not designed to be portable.

The software included is designed for Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 Mac OS X 10.9 or higher. The Seagate Mobile Backup app works on iOS 8 or higher and Android 3.0 or higher.

ergonomicBuild quality

About Seagate

Seagate Technology was formed in 1978 and developed and produced the first 5.25-inch hard disk held a massive five megabytes. They were one of the early supplies for IBM’s XT PC and have grown explosively to become one of the two (with WD) suppliers of hard disks to the world. They’re based in California and have a revenue of over 12 billion US dollars a year.

 We based our Ergohacks Verdict on four weeks of tinkering, testing and using the Backup Plus Hub during July and August 2017. This article was first published on 6 September 2017.