We've all accumulated our fair share of freebie 4GB USB sticks over the years, but if you've had enough of iffy reliability, poor speeds and having to constantly free space up, it's time to consider a better solution.
These days, quality external drives are available in a dizzying array of flavours, many of which offer speeds of up to 10Gbps and beyond via a simple USB-C interface. Seagate tends to be near the forefront of current developments, and its latest-generation One Touch SSD has to be one of the cutest drives on the market.
Measuring just 70mm x 50mm x 11mm, the itty-bitty drive is available in a choice of black, silver (pictured) or blue colour schemes, each in 500GB, 1TB or 2TB capacities. Prices are a little on the high side at £95, £150 and £255, respectively, but it sure is fashionable and scores very well with regards to portability. Our 1TB review unit weighs just 44g and when slipped into a pocket it's easy to forget it's there.
A brushed aluminium top, small activity LED and woven fabric sides add a touch of class to the otherwise sparse plastic casing, but don't expect much in terms of overall ruggedness. The internal flash memory ought to withstand shock and vibration, yet there's no dust or water protection, and we wouldn't feel comfortable dropping this dainty lil' thing from any great height. No surprise, really, as rugged drives built to survive the toughest conditions tend to fall under the remit of Seagate's premium storage brand, LaCie.
What sets this 2021 model apart from earlier external Seagate SSDs is the upgraded USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, allowing a maximum bandwidth of 10Gbps; double that of last year's drive. We're told the drive can officially hit speeds of up to 1,030MB/s, effectively saturating the interface, but rivals such as the WD My Passport offer similar performance credentials for less, so what else does Seagate add to the bundle to try and sweeten the deal?
Well, there's a fair amount of available software. Buyers are entitled to a year's subscription to the Mylio Create photo management app, a four-month complimentary membership to Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography plan, and the lightweight Seagate Toolkit app which can be used to synchronise folders and create automated backups. Helpful to certain users, though I'd personally be happy to sacrifice the additional software in favour of a lower up-front cost.
Two cables are supplied in the box - one Type-C to Type-C, one Type-C to Type-A - and the short 230mm length is a nod to Seagate positioning the One Touch SSD as an ideal companion for PC, Mac or Android phone. Fair enough, though we'd liked to have seen an extension cable for us old-fashioned desktop folk.
Other noteworthy value-adds include a standard three-year warranty and eligibility for Seagate Rescue Data Recovery Services, whereby in the event of failure the drive can be sent to Seagate for one in-lab data recovery attempt. There's no guarantee you'll get your data back, but the manufacturer touts a 95 per cent success rate, and if your luck is in, any retrieved data is returned on an encrypted storage device at no charge. Handy to know.