This article first appeared in HWM June 2015.
To celebrate Seagate's 35th anniversary, the company unveiled its sexy new Seven portable external hard disk drive at CES 2015 earlier this year.
The Seagate Seven features a distinctive design that is at the same time both retro yet modern. But more importantly, it measures just 7mm thick. This is possible because the hard disk drive within is only 5mm thick. This also means that the brushed stainless steel case that it is encased within is just 2mm thick. Despite this, the Seagate Seven feels study and strong and never once felt flimsy.
To be honest, thin 5mm hard disk drives are not a novelty; they were launched over two years ago and were initially designed to enable manufacturers to come up with high capacity storage tablets. Unfortunately, this did not come to pass as manufacturers stuck with NAND memory for their performance. It also helped that prices of NAND memory has fallen quite drastically in the past few years.
Back to the Seagate Seven, and it is worth noting that at this point, it comes only in one variant of 500GB capacity. 500GB is a little low these days considering that there is no shortage of 2TB portable external hard disk drives now. But considering its slimness and portability, we are willing to overlook this. The Seven also uses the USB 3.0 interface.
The drive comes preloaded with setup software for both PCs and Macs that will install Seagate's own Dashboard utility. Apart from helping users backup their systems, the Dashboard utility also features integration with social media services like Facebook and Flickr and can be programmed to automatically backup your photos on their sites too. A new feature called Mobile backup that can protect data on your iOS or Android device.
That said, the Dashboard utility is not a prerequisite to use the Seagate Seven. Users can also pair the Seagate Seven with their own backup utility and Mac users can use the drive instantly with Time Machine.
Performance from the Seagate Seven is decent, but we noticed in our testing that write speeds are a little below average by around 10 per cent when compared to regular portable external hard disk drives. This stems from the fact that the drive was designed primarily for aesthetics, rather than performance.
But the biggest problem with the Seagate Seven is its high price. At S$199, users can easily find 2TB portable external hard disk drives and still have change to spare. As it stands, the cool design and portability of the Seagate Seven will cost users a hefty premium. In the end, the Seagate Seven is more of a commemorative collector's edition rather than something you'll actually use for serious storage purposes, which you could still choose to do so if you don't mind the premium it commands.
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