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

Tom's Hardware Verdict

Seagate’s Backup Plus Ultra Touch tries to market the sense of touch into external storage. While the value of that comes down to your opinion, we definitely recommend this drive to those who want to get in touch with their backup and data security sides.There's also some good value-add software, and USB-C support is a big plus.


  • +

    USB-C adapter included

  • +

    AES-256 encryption

  • +

    Good software package


  • -

    No rubber feet

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Features and Specifications

If you are in the market for a backup drive, Seagate’s Backup Plus series of external HDDs may already be on your shortlist. But with so many options, it can be hard to navigate which one is best for you. Seagate's Backup Plus series alone is split into 3 product groups, sorted by capacity and feature options, which can be a bit confusing if you’re a storage newbie. And even if you know what features you need, you could miss out on something a feature worth considering and not know it too. So, let's break things down a bit for you.

The Backup Plus Slim, which is under a half-inch thick, comes in capacities of 1TB and 2TB and is available in four colors.The higher-capacity 4TB and 5TB models are about twice as thick and come in under the Portable naming scheme and feature just 3 color options. These are your average run-of-the-mill 2.5-inch 5400RPM external HDDs. Their performance is rather normal for an external 2.5-inch HDD and with USB 3.0 connectivity, they cover most people’s needs.

But, alongside the Slim models, Seagate has released the Ultra Touch. One of the best external hard drives you can get, the Ultra Touch has two distinct features -- three if you want to include the textured finish, but we don’t warrant that as much of a buying factor to consider, as much as Seagate may want us to.


Swipe to scroll horizontally
ProductBackup Plus Ultra Touch 1TBBackup Plus Ultra Touch 2TB
Interface / ProtocolUSB / USB 3.1 Gen 1USB / USB 3.1 Gen 1
Included Cable (s)18" SuperSpeed Micro-B to Type-A cable; Type-A to Type C adapter18" SuperSpeed Micro-B to Type-A cable; Type-A to Type C adapter
Sequential Read140 MB/s140 MB/s
Sequential Write140 MB/s140 MB/s
Storage Media2.5" 5400RPM HDD2.5" 5400RPM HDD
Default File SystemexFATexFAT
SecurityAES-256 encryptionAES-256 encryption
Dimensions (L x W x H)11.7 x 78 x 114.8 mm11.7 x 78 x 114.8 mm
Part NumberWhite: STHH1000400Black: STHH1000402White: STHH2000400Black: STHH2000402

What we consider more important is the fact that that the Touch drives come with USB-C compatibility. But rather than feature a USB-C port on the device itself or a full-blown USB-C cable like LaCie products have, Seagate simply includes a small USB-A to USB-C adapter in the box to check off that compatibility checkbox. This is a rather boring feature, but important to consider, as laptop manufacturers are moving more and more to the new smaller connector.

The most important differentiator between the Ultra Touch and its competitors is a bit more intriguing. It features AES 256-bit encryption to keep your precious data secure. You wouldn’t want to leave your backup drive somewhere by mistake and give some stranger access to all your personal files, photos, videos, etc., would you? The Ultra Touch aims to prevent that with this handy feature. Some competing drives offer this as well, so keep a lookout for it if you're shopping for a portable storage drive.

Seagate’s Backup Plus Ultra Touch comes in capacities of 1TB and 2TB at this time and is available in both black and white. Performance stats aren’t listed in their marketing documents. But in our testing, they can at least hit 140MBps. And warranty coverage comes in at 2-years.

Software and Accessories

Included with the drive is one 18-inch USB micro-B to USB Type-A cable for broad compatibility and the USB-C adapter. This means it should also work with most Thunderbolt 3 ports, which can switch into a USB compatible mode.

From the factory, the Ultra Touch comes pre-formatted as exFAT so that it is both PC and Mac compatible. Pre-loaded on the drive are a warranty document and a quick start application, which helps you get started on the company's value-add software.

Toolkit is the backup and utility software. It will help you enable the encryption feature as well as automate file backups. As value adds, Seagate offers a year subscription Mylio, which lets you to protect, edit, share, and sync your photos across multiple devices, and a two-month complimentary membership to Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography Plan.

Closer Look

As we mentioned earlier, the Ultra Touch has a somewhat different look to it than other externals: It features a textured finish that reminded us of luxurious upholstery. On our white review sample has a top section with a grey textured finish. Physically, the drive measures 11.7 x 78 x 114.8 mm and weighs 151 grams (a third of a pound).

Additionally, the USB 3.0 connectivity on the drive end is provided by a SuperSpeed Micro-B port rather than an integrated USB-C port. This is a bit of a bummer, but unfortunately common in the category. If you need to connect to a USB-C port, you'll need an adapter cable like the one that comes bundled. 


MORE: How We Test HDDs And SSDs

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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