The Seagate Seven 500GB drive is a masterpiece of design, but that’s not really enough to make it a worthwhile purchase.
Seagate Seven 500GB: On the plus side
External hard drives are, for the most part, dull creatures. They’ve never really needed to be anything but dull, because they’re the very literal example of a product where you care much more about what it does than what it looks like. Every once in a while a supposedly “designed” hard drive — I’m looking at you, Lacie — hits the market, but they’re blips in an otherwise bland ocean of drives that are all about the storage, and not about the style.
It’s impossible to look at the Seagate Seven and not appreciate the style, however. It’s an almost ludicrously thin external storage device that comes in a single 500GB capacity. It’s not hard to see why, because at only 7mm thick, Seagate would be hard pressed to pack any more data into its enclosure without invoking dark magical forces, which typically aren’t the kinds of things you want around your precious storage devices.
In style terms, the design of the Seagate Seven is meant to look rather like a classic 2.5″ internal hard drive. It’s an odd choice, given that I strongly suspect those who know what a 2.5″ internal hard drive probably don’t give a tinker’s cuss about what an external drive looks like, but it’s certainly sleek, and at 178 grams, light as well. It’s a USB 3.0 capable drive that comes with a short, cloth-wrapped cable that befits its slender stylish form. The Seagate 7 has a single light blue activity light on the top that glows when it’s plugged into a PC or Mac.
USB 3.0 means that it can be quite nippy if you hook it up to the right hardware. In straight data transfer tests with a 342MB video file, I recorded average write times of between 95-100MB/s, in line with any other mechanical USB 3.0 drive.
Seagate Seven 500GB: On the minus side
Seagate’s claim is that the Seagate Seven is ruggedly built and tested to withstand serious forces, with the usual backup of a warranty that covers the drive, but, predictably not its contents, which is largely going to be what you’ll care about anyway. There’s a bigger and more obvious problem with the Seagate Seven, however.
Seagate Seven 500GB: Pricing
The Seagate Seven’s Australian RRP is $189, which means you’re paying quite a bit for all that style on a per gigabyte basis. $2.64 per gigabyte, for those too lazy to do the sums.
Seagate Seven 500GB: Fat Duck Verdict
The Seagate Seven is pretty. Really pretty in a genuinely standout design sense.
That’s not enough, or at least I’d strongly argue it shouldn’t be.
Its size limits its capacity to 500GB, and the chances are good that if in 2015 you need an external drive, you probably need more than 500GB to carry around. Even if you are happy at that storage level, the next problem is that you can get a 500GB drive for quite a bit less than the Seagate Seven’s style premium price. Add to that the fact that while it’s reasonably nippy, if it’s speed you’re after an SSD could pump through your precious bits even faster, and the Seagate Seven’s value proposition dips a little further.
Or, as your grandmother used to say, beauty really is only skin deep, even if in this case it’s a shiny metallic skin.