Seagate has refreshed its popular OneTouch external solid state drive and sent us a sample for a quick spin (pun intended). Compared to the 2020 version of the OneTouch SSD (opens in new tab), they removed the superfluous tag, swapped the connector, threw in a few extra goodies, made it smaller and crucially for us, improved the performance of the device.
But will it be enough to convince us that it’s the best portable SSD (opens in new tab) out there or the best value for money external solid state drive? Let’s find out.
Availability and pricing
The drive is available in 500GB (from $94.99) , 1TB ($169.99) and 2TB ($309.99) capacities in a black, blue or silver finish. All prices are at the time of writing and from Amazon. We tested the 1TB version (STKG1000402) (opens in new tab); Seagate has kept the slower 2020 version on the market, so bear that in mind as well.
At a mere 70 x 50 x 10mm and weighing 43g, this drive is ridiculously small and portable. It’s made of plastic with a bit of metal and - like its predecessor - cloth. You get both USB Type-C and Type-A cables for out-of-the-box compatibility with Windows, Mac, and Android - we’d just wish that they were a tad longer.
Other than the Type-C connector and a status light, there’s hardly anything worth pointing out that’s out of the ordinary. Although the drive lacks the sort of protection against dust and water that rugged drives (opens in new tab) offer, we would have no fear seeing it drop on a solid concrete floor.
Here’s how the Seagate OneTouch 1TB (2021) performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
CrystalDiskMark: 1047MBps (read); 1027MBps (write)
Atto: 1004MBps (read, 256mb); 1009MBps (write, 256mb)
AS SSD: 914MBps (seq read); 918MBps (seq write)
AJA: 868MBps (read); 927Mbps (write)
We have changed the hardware for our benchmark tests, instead now relying on the superb Bleujour Kubb (opens in new tab) workstation that comes with a Thunderbolt 4 port; that will give us some futureproofing when Thunderbolt 4 (or USB 4) storage drives flood the market.
In the best case scenario (i.e. using CrystalDiskMark), we managed to beat the rated speed by just over one percent. In other words, it is a speedy drive. In real life we transferred a 10GB file in 18 seconds which is equivalent to a transfer rate of more than 500MBps. The drive remained reasonably warm and we didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary with its performance.
Warranty and software
A word about the bundle that accompanies the drive. The OneTouch drive features an assortment of applications that you can install by launching an executable found on the SSD (which opens your browser (opens in new tab)).
- Four months of Adobe Creative Cloud (opens in new tab) photography plan - which includes Adobe Photoshop (opens in new tab) and is worth just under $40. It is not available in certain territories and once the complimentary offer ends, you will need to buy a
- Create by MyLio, a image management software worth $50 (a 1-year subscription). It is a service that organizes your photos, which is great for anyone looking to move away from Google Photos (opens in new tab) (check out other photo cloud storage services (opens in new tab)).
- Seagate Toolkit which enables the creation of backup plans and syncing your data with mirror folders (ideally used in conjunction with cloud backup (opens in new tab) or cloud storage (opens in new tab) services).
The warranty period for your OneTouch 1TB external SSD is the length of time indicated as part of your product packaging (on the top flap). Ours was 3-years but it will vary depending on where you purchase the item.
It also comes with a redeemable service called Rescue data recovery services. Unlike data recovery software (opens in new tab), this one is done by the manufacturer and covers one in-lab data recovery attempt with an encrypted storage device containing your recovered data if the recovery is successful. Seagate claims what it calls an industry-leading success rate of 95%.
Rivals will be alternative external SSD that have a capacity between 950GB and 1TB with a USB Type-C port and an average speed superior to 800MBps.
The award winning Samsung T7 external SSD (opens in new tab) is a favourite of ours. The non-touch version is currently available from major retailers in the US for less than $160. A superb bargain if you want a drive without bells and whistles. We’d still fork extra to get the T7 Touch which adds a fingerprint scanner that allows you to seamlessly encrypt and protect your device.
If value for money is your main concern, then the Teamgroup PD1000 with its IP68 rating and a price tag of only $129.99 is very tempting - that’s a massive $40 saving. You get the same level of warranty and theoretically roughly the same performance. We liked its slower counterpart, the PD400 (opens in new tab), when we tested it in 2020.
On the other hand, if speed is what you’re after, then the Adata SE900 (the follow up to the SE800 (opens in new tab)) should fit the bill nicely. It is cheaper than the OneTouch but offers a rare glimpse of what life would be if you have a compatible USB 3.2 Gen2x2 interface. With read/write speeds of up to 2GBps, the SE900 is extremely fast and colourful as well thanks to its gamer focused RGB theme.
The unique selling point of the Seagate OneTouch 2021 is not its performance but the premium software and service bundle that comes with it and we’d wish that others - like WDC - did the same. It is smaller than competing rivals that perform on par with it and backed by a long warranty.
Where it fails to compete with others is on price. As it stands, it is one of the more expensive USB 3.2 SSD out there and while it does perform admirably, we find it hard to justify the premium despite the wonderful app package that comes with it.
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