Seagate Innov8 Portable Hard Drive: Australian Review

Seagate has a portable hard drive that stores 8TB of your data. Not only does it store 8TB of your data, but it does that all while being powered by a single USB connector. Not only does it use a single USB connector, it uses the super-fast USB 3.1 Gen 2-toting Type-C, which is fully reversible and shares a cable with your equally new smartphone. Enter the Seagate Innov8 -- smart name, right?

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What Is It?

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Specifications
  • Dimensions: 208x124x36mm, 1.5kg
  • Capacity: 8TB (5400rpm, 3.5-inch)
  • Connectivity: USB Type-C (USB 3.1 Gen 2)

The Seagate Innov8 uses a single 3.5-inch hard drive inside its gorgeous exterior chassis -- it's actually one of Seagate's enterprise-grade Archive Drives, which are optimised to store data at the lowest possible power usage per gigabyte, with a relatively slow 5400rpm spindle speed. That's right -- there's only a single hard drive inside the Innov8; it's just one with a ridiculously large capacity. It does mean there's only one point of failure, but that's no different to most other portable drives out there.

It's that design that makes it possible for the Seagate Innov8 to be powered by a single USB Type-C bus connector. There's an important distinction to be made here, though: the Innov8 draws up to 7.5 Watts during sustained writing operations, which means that a regular Type-A USB port -- especially on a laptop or older desktop computer -- might not be enough to run the Innov8 reliably (or even successfully). For peace of mind, you'll want to connect it to a proper USB Type-C port, ideally one that meets the USB 3.1 Gen 2 speed standard.

What's It Good At?

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The Innov8 is, for a boring old portable hard drive, just about the most attractive piece of industrial design out there. It might not be small (208x124x36mm) or light (1.5kg), but it's sexy. The speckled dark metallic finish on the drive's top and bottom, the circular central motif that makes the whole thing look like a bare internal hard drive chassis, the almost-rough, unfinished edges on the bare metal edges of the enclosure which also radiate excess heat -- it's just a beautiful piece of hardware that deserves a place on your desk.

Our synthetic storage benchmarking software of choice -- CrystalDiskMark -- spat out some impressive performance stats for an external, USB bus-powered portable hard drive, with sequential read speeds of 195MBps and write speeds of 175MBps. During sustained real-world transfers in Windows, you can manage write speeds of 185MBps write and 185MBps read, which is properly impressive for an old-school, mechanical spinning-disk hard drive -- especially a portable one. This is a fast single hard drive, given that there's no flash storage component or RAID array to speed things up more than usual.

What's It Not Good At?

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Seagate only ships the Innov8 with a USB Type-C to Type-C cable in the box, which is a pretty clear indicator that the company only wants you to use it with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port. That necessarily limits the number of devices that you can use the Innov8 with. With any other non-compliant device, it's a gamble: our Alienware Alpha R2 worked correctly connecting the drive to a Type-A host port, but it won't function when connected to a battery-powered Microsoft Surface Pro 4. Any device compatible with the latest iteration of USB Power Delivery should work flawlessly, for what it's worth.

The Innov8 may be the only 8TB portable drive on the market, but you're paying the price for the privilege of having it: it's only just become available, and its $569 RRP isn't something we see dropping too fast any time soon. Of course, for the convenience, if you already have the requisite USB Type-C connector on your PC and a USB 3.1 Gen 2-compatible port, we happen to think it's worth it. The fact remains, though, that you could get a series of smaller, more portable, more easily-powered 1TB or 2TB drives and split your files amongst them. This also adds the redundancy that the Seagate Innov8 lacks.

Should You Buy It?

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Seagate Innov8
90

Price: $569

Like
  • Single USB-C connector.
  • Fast transfer rates.
  • Massive storage capacity.
Don't Like
  • Not many USB 3.1 PCs out there.
  • Not especially portable.
  • Expensive.

Do you need eight terabytes of storage? More than that, do you need 8TB of storage on a single disk? If you can convince yourself that you do, then you have the perfect reason to buy the Seagate Innov8. It does exactly what it says on the tin: 7452GB of pure unadultered spinning-platter storage, with reasonably fast transfer rates, a single USB Type-C plug that handles power and data simutaneously despite its tiny size. It's not hugely portable, sure, but it's portable in a pinch, especially from PC to PC within the same office.

Despite the same single reversible connector, the $569 Seagate Innov8 isn't terribly similar to the Samsung T3; whichever you should buy depends on your priorities. For the same circa-$600 price, you can get a tiny 1TB flash drive that fits in your pocket and transfers files blazingly fast, or you can get a much larger, somewhat slower drive -- but one that holds eight times as much. Since people buy hard drives to, y'know, store things, that's a pretty reasonable trade-off.