Seagate Backup Plus Portable
Fast; optional adaptors
Bulky Thunderbolt adaptor
$139 (500GB); $189 (1TB); $129 (GoFlex Thunderbolt adaptor)
Seagate has discontinued its Thunderbolt-enabled GoFlex Portable drives in favour of the new Backup Plus with interchangeable connectors.
The Portable comes with a USB 3.0 connector which can be detached (exposing SATA data and power connectors) and swapped for a Firewire 800 or Thunderbolt connector, making it a tempting proposition for those concerned about future-proofing and backwards compatibility.
Unfortunately, a Thunderbolt cable isn’t included so you’ll need to allow another $50 or so in your budget.
The Thunderbolt adaptor almost doubles the bulk of this portable drive, but thankfully it’s bus-powered so you don’t need a separate power cable. The adaptor only features one Thunderbolt port (unlike the two-port Backup Plus Desktop adaptor) so it needs to be the last device in a Thunderbolt daisy-chain.
Going for Thunderbolt is worth the effort. Transfer speeds still aren’t as fast as the Thunderbolt-enabled Elgato drive, but to be fair much of the Elgato’s advantage comes from its use of a Solid State Drive.
If you’re sticking with USB you’ll get the same transfer speeds from this Seagate as from the Western Digital (and only slightly slower than the OWC in RAID1).
Macworld Australia’s buying advice.
This Seagate offers both the backwards compatibility of Firewire 800 and the future-proofing of Thunderbolt, without the need to spend the extra cash until such time as you need the extra functionality. This kind of flexibility makes it the pick of the bunch unless you’ve deep pockets and crave the Elgato’s raw speed.