Portable hard drives are no longer exciting – there is very little to differentiate one brand from another and you will often buy the one with the lowest price. Still, everyone needs a hard drive for backups – even if you don’t think you do, you do. Some companies have tried to innovate with design, but there’s not much anyone can do with a plastic rectangle. We’ve also seen bundled backup and security software as an added value, which can help balance buyers’ decisions. Seagate has tried these two paths with its new One Touch With Password product line.
Seagate offers its Expansion portable storage series that covers just the basics – you plug them in and drag and drop files. On the edge, the Ultra Touch models are slim, with elegant fabric on the outside and value-added software features. The One Touch series is in the middle, with high-capacity options and more utilitarian features. Are these factors important when choosing a portable hard drive? We are about to find out.
Seagate One Touch Design and Features with Password
Rather than being a dull entry-level product, the new Seagate One Touch With Password hard drives are available in six color options – black, silver and space gray with black accents, as well as red, pink and light blue with white accents. . The body is made of plastic, with a brushed metal panel in the color of your choice that wraps around the top and front.
This gives you a lot of options, in terms of appearance – black on black is obviously the most sober, and red on white is probably the most distinctive. The light blue unit I received for review is quite attractive. It’s more metallic gray than the pastel shade I’d expected based on the photos on the Seagate website and product listings, and the brushed metal finish gives it a denim look that’s perfectly offset by the white frame.
That said, the plastic’s fabrication wasn’t perfect – I felt some rough edges and there’s a small gap where the metal meets the plastic. It won’t be noticed from a distance, but this is the type of product you often pick up and hold. I would also have liked more rounded corners.
You can also choose capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 5TB. The first two are 11.7 mm thick and weigh 148g, while the last two, with more physical platters, are 20.9 mm thick and weigh 268g. There’s a tiny white activity LED in one corner of the top and a USB 3.0 Micro-B connector on the back. It’s time for USB Type-C to become universal, but for some reason most manufacturers are sticking to this less convenient standard for hard drives.
In the box is a single USB 3.0 cable – not even a second cable or Type-C adapter – plus a few brochures. There’s a quick start guide that really just says to run the Seagate software that comes on the drive itself; a separate sheet with printed codes to allow you to set and replace your password if you forget it; and also some instructions for redeeming free bundled software offers. Buyers get a one-year subscription to Mylio Create, a photo organizing tool, plus access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography Plan, which includes Photoshop and Lightroom only, for four months.
The One Touch With Password drive gets its name thanks to AES-256 hardware encryption. To set this up, you will need to run the Seagate Toolkit software, which will be directed to download if you run the launcher application that is loaded on your hard drive. To set up a password, you will first need to enter the 8-character secure ID in the booklet in the box. Seagate documentation says that this code must also be printed on a sticker on the drive, but I didn’t see this on my review unit, so the brochure needs to be kept securely. You can then create a reset key linked to a Seagate / LaCie account, if you have one. Otherwise, you will need the 32-character reset code on the handout.
After setting a password, you will need to enter it at the Toolkit prompt every time you connect this drive to the PC. If you are using it on another computer, a small partition will be visible and you will have to run the loaded unlock utility before accessing the contents of the drive.
The Seagate Toolkit also lets you automate backup routines and mirror folders of your choice so files are synced in two ways. Some people may not immediately know whether to select Backup or Mirror when they want to protect their files, and the two concepts are similar but have different implications. A little more explanation of when to use either option would have been helpful. However, the steps are easy to follow in both cases.
On top of that, the coolest feature is that Seagate offers buyers a free data recovery attempt using the Seagate Rescue service in their lab. This can give buyers peace of mind, as the prospect of losing up to 5TB of precious data due to a physical drive failure can strike fear into the heart of any computer user. According to Seagate’s warranty claim information in India, the company will send you a prepaid shipping label for you to ship your drive to the lab free of charge, and the attempt may take 15 business days. Seagate claims a 95 percent success rate, but there is no guarantee that the data on your specific drive will be recovered.
Seagate One Touch with password specifications and performance
Unsurprisingly, Seagate doesn’t even advertise read and write speeds for this hard drive – if you want fast file transfers, opt for an SSD. Portable hard drives can’t even saturate a USB 3.0 connection, so brands no longer compete on speed. You get a three-year and three-year warranty for using your Seagate Rescue data recovery attempt. Aside from the 256-bit AES storage and encryption capacity, there are no specifications to report. My 5TB drive came preformatted on the ExFAT filesystem, which is interoperable between Windows and macOS (although you’ll need to format or partition if you’re using Time Machine for backups on a Mac). The total addressable capacity is 4,657TB.
CrystalDiskMark reported sequential reads and writes of 144.6 MBps and 136.4 MBps, respectively. Random reads were obviously lower. The Anvil benchmark reported read and write scores of 167.11 and 149.71 for a total of 316.82. These scores are largely on par with WD My Passport (2019).
5TB is a huge amount of space and you can’t get that kind of capacity with SSDs yet – even if you did, they would be exorbitantly expensive. If you need to back up or transport large amounts of data, you need a hard drive. Obviously, for more secure backups, you need multiple drives stored in different locations. Of course, we haven’t seen the end of this category yet, but hard drives are now a commodity.
Seagate has established product layers, with its hard drives falling into basic, feature-rich, and stylish categories. However, if you look at retail markets and e-commerce sites, prices seem to fluctuate and few of these units are actually sold on their official MRPs. Sometimes you can find premium models selling for less than the basics – and this applies to main rival WD as well – so choose what works best for you.
Seagate One Touch With Password comes with useful software, but it’s the data recovery service that really makes this an interesting prospect and gives Seagate an edge. While it’s impossible to test it firsthand and every case of drive failure is different, this should give buyers some peace of mind. Plus, there’s at least one color combination that everyone should like.
Price (MOP): LOL. LOL. 9,299 (5TB)
- Helpful software package
- Data recovery service included
- Capacity up to 5TB
- Multiple color options
- No USB cable or type C adapter
- Performance: 4
- Value for money: 4.5
- Total: 4