Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Review: USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive

Portable hard drives are getting cheaper every day. I was in need of a portable hard drive when my Maxtor 500 GB external HDD failed on me. The Maxtor HDD lasted a few yearsВ beforeВ corruptingВ my files. It was adequate but I needed something better to replace it. For one, the HDD was limiting my desk space. Its a big HDD and it took upВ valuableВ desktop real estate. Second, I needed reliability and capacity. ItВ failed as it reached 95% capacity. 500 GB wasnt enough. I needed more space. The last problem was the plug. Like most external HDDs, the Maxtor required a power outlet and theres only so much room on my 2 surge protectors. The solution? Seagates FreeAgent GoFlex ultra-portable drive. This little hard drive is not only smaller than my Maxtor, but its also USB 3.0 compatible and doubles the storage capacity at 1 terabyte! These little portable hard drives are usually more expensive than their external, plugged counterpart but I purchased this beauty for $99 at Best Buy! The extra space and portability makes it a great compliment to my netbook. I can throw it in my laptop briefcase without any hassle whatsoever. Its so much lighter than my old external and the lack of an A/C adaptor means true portability.



Initial Impressions

When I opened up the packaging, my first thoughts were positive. The case is made of glossy plastic which instantly attracted fingerprints. Luckily, they are easy to wipe off and its not a big deal for me. The back is also plastic but lightly textured for improved grip. It isnt the nice rubberize texture found on some cell phones but its better than nothing. The bottom has a GoFlex USB mount which adds about half an inch to the size but it is nicely tapered and rounded which finishes the overall look. This Goflex port allows you to mount this HDD to a dock and use it as a media storage hub. The portable HDD is sleek, simple, and sexy. Its glossy black finish will make is somewhat of a fingerprint magnet but the dark gloss keeps it covert and discreet.




The Seagate FreeAgent, like most HDD, is plug and play. I plugged it into my laptop and it was instantly recognized. It does support USB 3.0 which has a theoretical speed of 4.8 Gbps(bits not bytes). Seagate proudly advertises this all over the packaging. They even added a sticker on the front saying New USB 3.0. The USB plug that comes with this HDD has the blue USB 3.0 color if there was any doubt. Unfortunately, my Dell Inspiron and my Asus Eee PC does not have any USB 3.0 ports but luckily, this HDD is backwards compatible with USB 2.0. It worked fine. I transfer a few GBs of video and it copied at standard USB 2.0 speeds (480 Mbps). When you plug-in the device, an LED illuminates 2 bright white stripes at the base. There are files preloaded on the HDD. These are setup drivers for Windows and Mac. I didnt need them so they got deleted. The drive comes pre-formatted as NTFS but you can reformat it to whatever filesystem you wish. Refer to the partition manager of your choice.



A Good Value?

I bought this HDD for $99 which I thought was a good deal. Best Buy had other HDDs of lower capacity for a higher price. They even had the same FreeAgent GoFlex HDD but with only USB 2.0 for the same price! It makes me wonder how exactly these guys set their prices. There doesnt seem to be a solid system. Prices were all over the place. I was mainly surprised by the value. There was a powered external HDD with the same capacity advertised for the same price. Portable HDD are now cheaper than powered external HDDs? I had to jump on this deal. I know they will be even cheaper in the future but at this time, its a bargain.



Final Thoughts

The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex is a solid portable HDD. It is a small enough to pack in your laptop bag and light enough to forget its there. The 1 TB capacity is perfect for now. With double the capacity of my Maxtor, I wont see this thing filling up anytime soon. I take lots of picture on my DSLR and the files are quite large at 15-20 MB each. The added capacity will keep me worry-free for a while. I dont plan on using it with the GoFlex dock but the option to use it as a media storage hub with PogoPlug is a nice feature. Maybe I will try it in the future but for now, using it for storage is fine. This price-point was the main reason I purchased this HDD. At $99 for 1 TB is not bad at all. If you are looking for a good bang for your buck, consider the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex. Sure, it attracts smudges and fingerprints but it is a solid buy.


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