The rise in popularity of USB 3.0 has enabled a large number of high-speed bus-powered storage devices. Flash drives and external SSDs can take advantage of the high-speed nature of the interface. They have slowly been increasing in capacity too, and we even had a 1TB portable SSD from Samsung earlier this year. Unfortunately, the cost per GB is still too high for the average consumer. From the perspective of that market, bus-powered external hard drives (2.5") are hard to beat. 2TB USB 3.0 drives have been around for some time now, but the 4TB mark in the portable 2.5" form factor had only been achieved with dual drives and external power. Seagate recently launched the Backup Plus Portable 4TB USB 3.0 drive based on one of the first 4TB 2.5" drives in the market.

The Backup Plus Portable 4TB USB 3.0 drive internally carries a Seagate/Samsung Momentus ST4000LM016 drive. Information about this drive is currently sparse on Seagate's website. Suffice to say that this drive will not fit most notebooks (it is not thin enough). User reports based on the raw drive indicate that the thickness comes in around 15mm, which should be OK for NAS units and other applications. In any case, CrystalDiskInfo provides a lot of information about the internal drive.

Important aspects of the drive include:

  • 16 MB buffer
  • 5400 RPM spindle speed
  • SATA III 6 Gbps interface

It appears that the ST4000LM0016 uses five platters with a 800GB/platter design to achieve the capacity point. The USB 3.0 bridge chip also supports UASP and S.M.A.R.T passthrough. The unit has dimensions of 114.5 mm x 78 mm x 20.5 mm and weighs 541 grams. It comes with a USB 3.0 Type-A male to USB 3.0 micro-B male cable.

As portable hard drives become more and more of a commodity, vendors are attempting to put in value-adding features to the product. The Backup Plus Portables comes with 200GB of OneDrive storage valid for two years. In addition, we also have the ability to connect the unit to the Lyve app that provides photo / video management in the cloud. It also comes with a basic backup configuration software in the form of the Seagate Dashboard. We will be taking a brief look at these value added features after discussing the benchmark numbers.

DAS Benchmarks
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  • ATimson - Thursday, August 6, 2015 - link

    I've heard bad things about PS4s with >2 TB of storage (Rest Mode stops working, sometimes they randomly won't start up). Maybe things would be better with a 2.5" drive, but I'm planning on sticking with my 2 TB for now!
  • pika2000 - Sunday, August 9, 2015 - link

    Not going to trust a single hard drive for anything anymore. For backing up to spinning platters, I prefer a system with redundancy like drobo. Why? I have had 2 external drives, Seagate and WD, both failed in less than 6 months. In fact, I had always have failed hard drive once a year (be it in desktop, external, laptop, even inside my drobo), regardless of brand and age. Always.

    It's amazing how much faith we put in this completely unreliable media. Having such high density storage makes things worse as you are tempted to put more data, and more will be lost when the drive breaks.

    People are criticising the price of SSD, but considering the cost of replacing drives at least once a year and the stress they gave me when they fail, I think the price of SSD is not that bad.
  • Notmyusualid - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - link

    At the moment I'm seeing more issues with SSDs, than mechanical storage.

    I now keep no irreplacable data on SSDs anymore.

    I don't trust 'em. And oh yes, recently been burnt by Samsumg and their TLC sh1te.
  • RossMeryy0 - Sunday, August 16, 2015 - link

    That sounds really nice to help people keep enough hard drive free space and also keep a good performance. But, in daily use, also remember to clean drive up regularly in case of some low disk space error issues. Of course, drive data backups are also supposed to be prepared well all the time.
  • darkfalz - Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - link

    For some reason Seagate don't include any rubber feet on their Portable 2.5" drives anymore. So they just slip and slide around if moved. I added some feet but honestly, it should be on the product itself. Otherwise 4TB in a 2.5" USB powered portable is very nice.
  • Miller1331 - Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - link

    After having 2 die on me within the last year I would be weary about buying any more Seagate products
  • tokyojerry - Friday, November 18, 2016 - link

    Amazon U.S. currently sells the 4TB Backup Plus for $119.99, a good deal in and of itself. I wonder though, what is the difference between the " STDR4000901" model Amazon sells and the product reviewed here. ST4000LM016. Lack of UASP support? Some other issue?

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