Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch portable hard drive review

Slim drive designed to keep your data safe on the move

A touch of extra security

The Ultra Touch drive is easy to spot in a line-up – it has a textured cloth covering on one side. It’s a nice, grippy-feeling touch of elegance that also makes this ultra-slim portable drive easier to hang on to. It also comes with high security. Both features are important because you’ll want to take this drive with you everywhere. We take a hands-on look at a Seagate-supplied review unit to see what makes this drive special.

The Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch is a premium drive with professional features, but an everyday price tag. It’s slim, lightweight, attractively finished with a textile covering on the top and most importantly, secure (as long as you enable the hardware encryption).

It connects to Windows and Mac laptops (the disk is formatted as exFAT) via USB 3 (A-type plug) or USB-C via a supplied adapter. Onboard software handles backup and synchronising of folders between multiple devices but no disk image backup. Mac-only users can reformat the drive to be compatible with macOS’s Time Machine for full system disk backups.

Included is a one-year Mylio Create (photo organiser) membership and two-months of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan. 
It also comes with a two-year data recovery service, usually an extra-cost option which is great for peace of mind.

This super-slim drive ticks all the boxes for highly mobile users. It lets you slip 2TB (terabytes) of highly-secure storage into your pocket, with software and services to make the most of it. And priced no more than the standard Backup Plus Slim drive, it’s the smart choice.

Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch 2TB hard drive

Price: $139


Shopping around for a new laptop? Our laptop and tablet reviews compare more than 20 models from Apple, Dell, HP, Microsoft and more.

Encryption security

If security and portability are paramount for you, the Ultra Touch drive is a strong solution. The built-in 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption means you can take the drive with you everywhere, with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your data is safe if the drive is lost or stolen.

You have to download the Seagate Toolkit software to enable this. And when you do, make sure you choose a strong password, but one that you’ll remember. Without it, you’re not getting your data back. The decryption program is stored on the drive, so it can be used with other computers. Mac users need to install and authorise a driver to decrypt.

This highlights another point in its favour though – because the drive is hardware-encrypted you don’t even need to wipe it if you want to get rid of it down the track. Likewise, it’s easy to pass it on to another person by resetting the hardware encryption.
Also, because it uses a special chip controller (the hardware part of hardware encryption) having encryption on doesn’t give you the performance penalty that you get with software-based encryption.

Data recovery plan

There’s also a second level of data protection. The Backup Plus Ultra Touch includes a two-year data recovery plan. This is an unusual but very welcome bonus. Most hard drives have warranty to cover fixing or replacing the drive itself, but don’t offer anything for your lost data. The Ultra Touch comes with dedicated numbers to call in Australia and New Zealand if your drive fails, or even if you’ve accidentally deleted valuable files.

Of course, there are never any guarantees of total data recover with any service, but Seagate claims a success rate of more than 90%. And if you’ve ever had to use a professional data recovery service, you’ll know the cost can quickly add up to many times the cost of the actual drive. Having this free with the drive is potentially a big cost-saver and sanity saver.

Plus more

Seagate’s Backup Plus range also includes two other models. There’s the thin and aptly named Backup Plus Slim (1TB, $99 or 2TB, $139), and the Backup Plus Portable which though a bit thicker comes in up to 5TB ($299), the largest capacity of a USB-powered portable drive available.  Both work with Mac and Windows and come with backup/sync software, but unlike the Ultra Touch they don’t have hardware encryption or data recovery included.