Seagate has announced the launch of what it claims is the world's highest-capacity mobile external hard drive, the Backup Plus Portable 5TB, measuring 20.5mm thick in its aluminium housing.

Seagate and rival Western Digital have been playing a game of capacity leapfrog of late, and Seagate is the latest to take a running jump: the Seagate Backup Plus Portable 5TB is, the company claims, the world's highest-capacity mobile external drive, a feat achieved through the use of 1TB-per-platter areal density in its internal BarraCuda 2.5in hard drive.

The company's claims of industry-leading capacity, of course, need a little massaging to ring true: the key word in the company's phrasing is 'mobile,' which Seagate is using - not unfairly - to refer exclusively to external storage devices powered directly from the USB bus and based on a 2.5in hard drive. Remove those caveats and Seagate itself can beat the capacity: it launched a Backup Plus 8TB, but it requires an external power supply; its more recent Innov8 8TB drive, by contrast, is entirely bus-powered, but is based around a 3.5in hard drive with a system the company dubs Ignition Boost to get around the drive's high startup current requirement.

As a 2.5in mobile drive, though, the Backup Plus Portable 5TB is pocket-sized: the aluminium casing measures barely larger than the drive it contains, with an overall thickness of 20.5mm and a choice of black, silver, red, and blue anodised finishes. Sadly, the connectivity is a little last-generation: rather than the newer USB 3.1, Seagate has opted to launch the drive with USB 3.0.

The company has confirmed that the drive will become available in the channel later this month, with US pricing set at $189.99 (around £153 excluding taxes).
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