8Seagate calls their new Replica drive an “appliance,” and it’s a rare apt marketing plot.

You see, by 2012, Seagate and other research firms estimate the average household will store more than a terabyte of data, including videos, family photos, music, programs, vital documents and even homework. Currently, less than half of consumers back up their data.

seagate_replica_rightdocked_lrPeople think they don’t need to back up their files, and others think it takes too much time. Still more people don’t know how to preserve their files.

That’s where the “appliance” comes in.

Seagate wants you to consider a backup drive int he same light that you look at your refrigerator or oven — an appliance with a single, vital use. And the company has finally made it easy.

We tested the Seagate Replica 500GB Multiple PC backup drive, and we were impressed. As soon as you plug in the drive, the device is ready to start backing up your files. We’re used to installing software and going through a little (a lot) of configuration, but Seagate’s just saying “screw it — let’s just back up the damn drive.”

It’s effortless. Every time you back up a drive, the on-board software overwrites the oldest versions of each file, so you can avoid clutter and a quickly filled drive.

The drive will quickly fill, however, if you have all your eggs in one basket. If you have all your videos and music and photos on your C: drive, the software is going to have you do a little work. That’s the one bad thing we found with this drive. A “mere” 500GB just doesn’t do it in the iTunes age, where every time you download a video, you’re getting a 500MB standard version and a huge high-definition version.

When this product is available in a 2TB setting — or more — then we can safely say we’re in the backup appliance age.

seagate_replica_dsBut assuming for a second that 500GB is enough for you, the Replica functions better as a single PC backup solution than a multi-PC solution. The included dock insinuates that you can put the drive on a desk and back up all your computers from there, but that’s useless if you have a desktop in your bedroom and another in the basement.

For a single PC, or a PC and a laptop, the automation of the Replica makes it easy to back up your system files, documents, and some of your multimedia files. As ease of use goes, the Replica is as good as it currently gets.

While the size does matter, the Replica is a great solution. The included recovery CD allows you to restore your computer to its original state, even if your internal hard drive fails. This function combines with the practical ability to drag and drop backed up files if you delete them accidentally from your PC. The Replica is a functional, useful tool, if not totally an appliance yet.

The 500GB Multi-PC version is available for $129. A 250GB single-PC model sells for $88.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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