Seagate’s FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive Hands-On Review: Big Things Come In Small Packages
The world of external hard drives moves at a breakneck pace. At the current rate, within the next 12-16 months, the physical size of the drives will probably be two times as small and pack three to four times more capacity. If that doesn’t make your head spin, I don’t know what will.
With so many brands to choose from and changes to come, it can get rather difficult to choose the right device. However, Seagate and Western Digital have captured most eyes with competitive pricing, along with unique hardware builds and software integration. So to help streamline your decision making, ZKG is going to give you a closer look at Seagate’s FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive.
The FreeAgent GoFlex by Seagate is the world’s first 1.5TB portable HD. For those of you that get completely lost when folks start talking about gigabytes and terabytes, I will keep it simple. If you just want to keep up with family photos, music on your iPod/mp3 player and/or save basic word documents and stuff like that, then 1.5TB is more space than you will ever probably need. So choosing whether or not to purchase this drive will ultimately come down to a few things – hardware, durability, compatibility, and convenience.
We first reported on the release of this drive last month, and since then we have gotten tons of questions and comments about it. Trust me on this, our excitement was just the same. I have to be honest with you, I am a total geek when it comes to tech. When it comes to my external storage however I am all business. As someone who works with computers for a living I understand the value of a solid backup solution and I always tell my friends and family to buy an external hard drive and to backup anything they don’t want to lose in case of a system crash. When I picked the box up off my front porch I was worried. The box weighed absolutely nothing and I thought could they have sent me an empty box or something. After opening the box, I quickly found the reason as I held the HD in my hands. Saying it’s light would be an understatement. The drive only weighs 0.62 lbs. The dimensions are 4.71 x 3.51 x 0.87. You could literally put this baby in your pocket and be good to go, though in practice I don’t recommend that – I mean why take chances with your data.
My very first external hard drive was a Seagate, which was 160GB – huge at the time. That was six years ago and it’s still going strong on the desk in my office today. Additionally, I never had a single problem with it. That’s not to say you won’t have problems with the drive because things happen, but trust me when I say that Seagate makes quality products and they have great warranties if something should go wrong.
The FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra Portable HD will support both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Don’t get angry Mac fans, they didn’t forget about you. The drive also supports MAC OS X 10.4.6 or higher, Leopard or Snow Leopard (the 32-bit kernel). Now a special note to the Mac owners, while the drive does come preloaded with an NTFS driver for Mac (allowing you to save to it from a Mac or PC without reformatting), reformatting to HFS+ will be required if you want to use backup software for Mac or Time Machine, so just keep that in mind. The FreeAgent GoFlex will work with standard USB 2.0 ports, but if you really want to accelerate your backup times, you can purchase the USB 3.0 adapter that leaves USB 2.0 transfer speeds in the dust. USB 3.0 can produce data transfer speeds up to 10x faster than the now standard USB 2.0. The drive comes with a USB 3.0 interface adapter out of the box, all you need to do is make sure you computer holds up its end of the bargain.
I only had one problem with the FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB ultra-portable HD and that was all the stuff that came preloaded. The drive comes preloaded with backup software and while I feel that backup is important, I am not always a fan of preloaded software to do it. The biggest problem I had is that they give you a free copy of Star Trek with the drive. Now I loved J.J. Abrams reboot of the franchise and I never mind getting free stuff, but is getting it worth the 40GB of space that they take to preload that and several other movies you probably already have on DVD or Netflix, probably not. The great part about this is that all the preloaded movies are in a nice folder appropriately called “Movies” that you can quickly delete and reclaim your 40GB of space for more appropriate things.
All things considered this is probably one of the best drives on the market today. It’s got a ton of space and comes in a very small form factor, though depending on your preference you may or may not like the fact that it doesn’t have its own power supply and is powered via its USB. We tested out the 1.5TB model which is the largest in the series, but it also comes in a 320GB, 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB version as well. You can also pick it up in Red, Silver, Blue or Black. cNET made it an editor’s choice earlier this year and we would have to agree and call the Seagate FreeAgent 1.5TB ultra-portable drive a must buy if you are in the market for some more external storage. It’s also very affordable given the amount of space at only $250. If you want to pick one up, then head on over to Seagate.com.