Seagate Ultra Touch HDD
Seagate Ultra Touch HDD Review
The Seagate Ultra Touch HDD is a fine 7200 RPM disk drive. It isn’t the fastest or the lightest, or the most compact, but it is the most ecologically friendly drive I have seen. It’s hard to see the 30% post-consumer recycled materials by weight, but they are there, and that makes for a much more Earth-conscience feel when buying the drive.
For those buying auxiliary storage and not seeking a high-performance drive, the $79.99 Ultra Touch’s sustainability credentials may be enough to make it attractive compared to other drives in its class.
This year Serious Insights added Sustainability as a review criterion. Companies get marked down for the following:
- Plastic bags without recycling labels
- Plastic stickers on electrical contacts
- Non-recyclable blister packs
- Plastic windows stuck to otherwise recyclable material
- Plastic wrap around a box
- Plastic hang tags on boxes
- Foam stuck to otherwise recyclable material
The most impressive thing about the Seagate Ultra Touch HDD is the attention to packaging detail—it has none of these issues. The drive’s packaging is 100% recyclable cardboard with recyclable plastic wraps around the USB-C cable and the drive. Even the hangtag is cardboard.
Many companies would benefit from seeing what Seagate is doing with this drive, and I would like Seagate to adopt the Ultra Touch’s packaging philosophy across all of its products.
What we like
I’ve already covered the sustainability positives, so let me outline the good features of this 4.54in × 3.15in × 0.52in external USB-C drive. The clean and simple 2 TB, .589lb drive is compatible with Windows, macOS and Chrome. All Ultra Touch’s colors are earth tones. The review drive came in Cloud White. Seagate also sells the Ultra Touch in 4TB and 5TB versions in Pebble Grey.
Seagate includes its toolkit. If you already have a drive (my Macbook Pro already sports a Spider-Man FireCuda drive), then you don’t need to install anything. If the drive is intended as a general, transportable backup, then you don’t need to do anything else beyond dragging files to the drive.
If you want to use the drive for backup, Toolkit can install mirroring software. Like the FireCuda drive, the Ultra Touch also supports a secure partition using AES-256 encryption.
The Seagate Ultra Touch HDD arrives pre-formatted for exFAT, but it can easily be reformatted using native OS tools to optimize, for instance, the drive with NTSF on Windows or APFS on Apple’s macOS.
The drive’s only port is USB-C, which is the right answer for modern external drives.
As with other Seagate drives, Seagate offers Rescue Data Recovery Services should the drive meet unexpected circumstances like a flood or just fail from a mechanical issue.
What could be improved
My only sustainability note to Seagate comes from the plastic bags, while recyclable, aren’t as sustainable as paper-based wraps I found on recently delivered products from Harman’s Infinity division.
I could also do without the bloatware of the 6-month Mylio Photos subscription and Dropbox Backup Plan. I appreciate the marketing considerations, but most people have photo or backup options. At least these plans are options during online registration and are easy to skip, unlike the old days, where they might pop-up as soon as the drive mounts.
Seagate Ultra Touch HDD: The bottom line
Seagate has done an outstanding job of bringing a sustainable packaging option to the market with the Ultra Touch, which also sports 30% post-consumer recyclables in the housing. The Ultra Touch is a good, utilitarian drive that won’t break any speed records, especially when compared to its SSD cousins, but it will make buyers feel less guilty when they toss the packaging into the recycling bin without deconstructing it first.
Seagate provided the Ultra Touch HDD for review. Images courtesy of Seagate unless otherwise noted.
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