Review: Head-to-Head: Seagate Replica vs. Clickfree

Backing up your data is like flossing: Everyone needs to do it, but no one likes to. Luckily, portable hard drives have begun to take the mind-numbing tedium out of copying your precious files. We put two new models into the ring, each promising a prescription for data storage, but only one truly dulled the pain.

Seagate Replica 500GB

Weighing in at less than a pound and only slightly larger than a pack of cards, this featherweight contender manages to pack quite a punch. Seagate’s Replica is, in many ways, the PC user’s answer to Apple’s Time Machine, wedding an elegant form factor with a hands-off philosophy of data protection.

The Replica comes with bare-bones software and strikes a good balance between peace of mind and individual-user control. Seagate thankfully did away with the kind of added cables and software that can plague older hard drives, providing nothing more than a USB 2.0 cable, recovery guide and recovery CD.

After the hard drive is plugged in, it checks for updates to the Replica software, downloads the most current version and starts mirroring your computer’s content. The startup process is short, taking only a couple of minutes, though the actual backup is a time-gobbling endeavor. (It took us about 4 hours to transfer 130 GB of data). A blue light on the top of the Replica’s case blinks continuously while data is being transferred, making it easy for you to go about your other business while it works in the background. It’s also stealthy for a hard drive, emitting only a quiet whir when working at full speed.

Backing up data is certainly not our idea of an exciting Friday night, but the Replica’s combination of unobtrusiveness and intelligent features make it far less of a chore. It’s certainly much more pleasant than going to the dentist.

$200, seagate

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