Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch Portable HDD Review: Secured in Style

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Seagate’s Backup Plus Ultra Touch is a new external HDD from the brand that merges multiple concepts into one to try to sell old tech. Not that hard drives are bad per se. SSDs are just in a whole different world when it comes to performance.

The Backup Plus Ultra Touch's performance is average for a 2.5-inch external HDD, and there generally isn't a whole lot of variation between competing hard drives. The Seagate drive delivers sequential speeds upwards of 140MBps read/write, and Response times are nowhere near the realm of flash-based competitors.

But all that is to be expected, and is why it works great as a backup device. Considering a typical backup routine only carries out and updates a few times a month, performance isn’t much of an issue for the average consumer, especially considering the price. At $69.99, you’re paying $35 a terabyte for the 2TB model we tested today. That's about $10 more than some lower-end WD and Seagate drives,  but the Ultra Touch has features that add a lot of value.

Sure, there’s a new textured finish that looks pretty good. It also helps you grip the external when searching for it in your bag. But unfortunately, there are no rubber on the bottom of the enclosure to prevent slipping on the surface you place it on. And, the included USB-C adapter is not the classiest solution, although it is effective.

The Backup Plus Ultra Touch comes with some software trials to help you manage your photo library. The yearlong membership of Mylio included may be useful to some (a $50 value), but as an avid Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom user, the two months of included Creative Cloud Photography Plan ($20 value) appeals to me, and probably a lot of amateur photographers, too. Adding these two software values together chops off quite a bit of the price if you are going to utilize both.

What we really like about this drive, though, is just how easy the encryption works. Install the Toolkit software, click enable, add your password and you’re off. Once enabled, no one can see your data except for you -- unless you give someone else your encryption key. If you are into data security, the Backup Plus Ultra Touch is a great secure storage/backup option that is well worth those extra few dollars it commands over the competition.

Photo Credits: Tom's Hardware


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Sean Webster
Storage Reviewer

Sean is a Contributing Editor at Tom’s Hardware US, covering storage hardware.

  • VADemon
    Pretty much zero information about how encryption is handled yet so much emphasis on it as a feature in this whole review (and the title!)
    Do you have to enter the password every time the drive is connected? (I hope so) How does this process look? Performance tested with encryption enabled? (Should be practically zero difference, but for the sake of completeness)

    "If you are into data security, the Backup Plus Ultra Touch is a great secure storage/backup option that is well worth those extra few dollars it commands over the competition."

    I bet the encryption software is Windows-only and Mac/Linux users will have their share of fun if they decided to start using the bundled software first. And in the end it will not be any better than Truecrypt/Veracrypt.

    Average, overpriced 2.5" external drive for 80$. Either you pay 20$ less for a 2TB drive (the USB-C adapter doesn't cost the difference) or pay 10-20$ for a 4TB(!) external drive. Good encasing though with a low temperature of 37°C. 2/5