Seagate has been exercising its past and all those spinning disks for some time, and it now offers a wide range of solid-state storage devices alongside its more conventional technologies. The latest external storage devices are branded under the One Touch name, offering 500GB and 1TB of capacity in cute and functional boxes.
On paper, these look like the perfect drives for securing a system or dumping contents for a presentation. But how do they compare with competitor products, and do they represent good value for money? We have the answers.
Price & Availability
Seagate’s One Touch range includes a 500GB and 1TB option (reviewed here) in both black and white, and the 500GB model also comes in a camo print finish.
The MSRP is £85.99/$84.99 for the 500GB model and £154.99/$164.99) for 1TB, and generally, these prices have translated almost exactly into the retail costs.
Read our round-up of the best portable hard drives and SSDs to see what else is available from the likes of Samsung, WD and Adata.
Design & Build
The first aspect of the One Touch drive that strikes you is how small it is compared with conventional external hard drives that use a 2.5in mechanism internally.
A quick measurement revealed that it’s almost exactly half the size of a 2.5in SSD or hard drive, at only 75mm long, 55.5mm wide and 10mm deep. And, at just 65g this won’t overload the laptop bag at all.
Our review drive was the white ABS plastic model that has a grey fabric surface finish on the top that appears much like the covers that some speaker makers use to keep dust out. This audio vibe is further enhanced with a small cloth tab on one side that has the Seagate ‘S’ on it.
There are also ‘special edition’ models which have camouflage in various colours.
An interesting design choice is that the 20cm cable provided plugs into the wider side rather than the end, using a USB Type B-Micro blade. This connection could have been better had Seagate used the more modern Type-C, we think, but it all works perfectly for those using Type-A USB 3.0 on the computer end.
The cable is a fine length if you use the drive with a laptop, but it is left dangling if you use the USB ports on the front of a desktop PC. As it is a standard cable you could cheaply buy a longer one if this is an issue.
The only other feature is a tiny white LED that shows power and activity on the cable connected face.
From a design perspective, there isn’t much to discuss, as this is a highly minimalist product that is more functionality focused than trying to be a technological work of art. It’s attractive, but not in a way that would turn any heads in an office.
Specs & Features
If all you want is 1TB of drive space (or 500GB), then the Seagate One Touch is a remarkably simple product to unpack and use. Remove the drive from the packaging, connect the cable and plug it into a USB 3.0 port on the computer, and if the OS understands the default exFAT format, it should see the mechanism and allocate it a drive letter.
From here you can move and save files to the One Touch SDD like it is an internal drive, and the performance is almost as good as a SATA connected SSD. However, Seagate provides more than the physical hardware, if you are prepared to register the product using the software that is already on the drive.
Once you’ve registered Seagate will provide an application called Seagate Toolkit that includes Sync Plus, a tool that automatically copies all the files in the user area of the computer to the external storage. It does this transfer live, so the next time you save a document it will be automatically copied to the One Touch SSD if it is connected.
If you have files that live outside the typical user folder structure, you can create a new Sync Plus plan for those folders, and if the sync is bidirectional and deleted files are archived. For most users, this drive is exactly what they require and buying this hardware and not using this facility would be an utter travesty.
In addition to Sync Plus, Seagate is also promoting Adobe Mylio, a photo organisation and distribution service that is currently free and the Seagate registration tool will install that if you want it. The Mylio functionality appears to offer something that Apple, Google and Microsoft already deliver, but the choice is yours.
You also get an introductory two-month Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan, and after that time that service costs £9.98/$9.99 per month.
One slight curiosity that surfaced with the benchmarking is that the speed of writing can be impacted by how the buffers in the SSD are used. Seagate mentions 400MB/s in its promotional materials, and under certain circumstances, this drive can read and write at those, or even better levels. We tested the 1TB model.
However, you only get the full effect in some situations, as the write buffers appear to ramp performance over time. Therefore, write speed can be calculated as an average of only 200MB/s, when it hit a much higher level at some points.
But it entirely depends on the tests run, and the system it is being tested. In our CrystalDiskMark tests, the score for writing can be higher if it writes 0xFill data. But using the ATTIO benchmark it achieved an impressive 452MB/s write speeds, numbers very close to the best read performance.
Whatever is going on inside the One Touch SSD, reading is always quick but write performance can vary depending on the computer and its implementation of USB 3.0.
Because it’s that interface that is the bottleneck in this scenario, and not the flash memory inside the device.
There is plenty to like about the Seagate One Touch SSD, especially for anyone who needs to keep their files safe from theft or failure and wish to achieve this quickly and efficiently.
Compared with the competition, the review drive cheaper than the Samsung T5 1TB, but a little higher compared to the deals being offered on the WD My Passport. The Western Digital drive is a little faster, but not so much that most users would notice.
If you only want 1TB of SSD external storage, then you can easily undercut this product with a cheap bare 2.5in SSD mechanism and a USB 3.0 drive box. But with that option you won’t get all the software advantages or performance that comes with this solution.
We would have liked USB Type-C connectors, but the designers probably want to hold back that feature for the inevitable next product revamp, or an Apple-focused product.
Overall, the Seagate One Touch SSD solves several classic problems that the laptop owner will encounter in an elegant, transportable and affordable solution.
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