Even though online data storage has experienced a great deal of popularity when it comes to storage, external hard drives are still essential and have a great deal of marked dedicated to themselves. One of the most popular storage brands is Seagate, and it has refreshed its successful GoFlex line with the FreeAgent GoFlex Pro. A unique feature about this device is that Seagate has reengineered the device to separate the drive from the bridge board that translates the device’s native SATA to another interface connection.
The design of the FreeAgent GoFlex Pro Portable Hard Drive 500GB, 750GB is very much similar to its other siblings in the FreeAgent Go series. For instance, its casing is about 0.55″ thick and sleek. You will be able to notice that the casing of the device actually divides the drive into two parts, one is the hard drive itself and the other us a proprietary cap that finishes with the USB 2.0 port. The drive comes in four colors of red, blue, silver and black.
The GoFlex Pro comes in two capacity flavors of 500GB (STAD500200) and 750GB (STAD750200). The cost per GB is quite acceptable considering the enhanced functionality over the other standard hard drives.
One of the most important factors to look for while shopping for an external hard drive is that you should make sure that it has an interface that will work at its best at the fastest port available on your PC. Most of the time, the fastest port that the current consumers have is only the USB2.0 as the fastest port. Even though other faster ports such as FireWire 800, USB3.0 and eSATA have gained amazing popularity in the past couple of years with their impressive speed, most manufacturers put on a premium price tag if you wish for these extras, which most ‘everyday’ consumers cannot afford.
Seagate seems to be having a solution for this issue with the FreeAgent GoFlex Pro that features the exchangeable “personality cables” that offers the port selection to its consumers. Hence, you will be able to purchase a range of Personality Cables for a very nominal price to fit eSATA, FireWire 800 and USB 3.0. The package includes the other docks and accessories that allow you to access data on the go with the help of the software licensed from Pogoplug.
User Interface and Ease of use:
Seagate has to be appreciated for just omitting the installation CD and just bundling all the software installation files in the drive itself. Hence, all of these installation files will be at your disposal wherever you go. Installation of the Memeo Software (about which we will see in detail shortly) is just a breeze on both OSs of Windows and Mac. As soon as the installation is done, you will be able to notice that the Seagate Dashboard, which is also powered by Memeo, residing on the desktop serves to be the hub for viewing recent backups performed and also offers you with an overlying view of data available in the drive.
Inside the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Pro, the drive is a 2.5″ hard disk that spins at a rate of 7200rpm, providing it with the extra boost as far as speed is concerned. This is in comparison to the standard 5400rpm drives that are present in most of the other external hard drives, particularly when combined with a USB3.0 cable. Even though the above-mentioned Personality Cables are pricier than the other standard off the shelf counterparts, they even provide you with the flexibility of buying the cables only that you will need. This also means that the option is open for you to any future upgrades to your system. Seagate has also given a hint that a personality cable is in development that supports Light Peak, which is Intel’s latest cable technology that is expected to replace FireWire, SATA, USB, SCSI and HDMI as standard.
If you have been keeping track of the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex models, you will be aware of their unique advantage of the ability to access and exchange files between a system running in both Windows and Mac OSs. For this, the company has joined hands with the Paragon Software group in order to embed the NTFS for Mac OS software into each of the models in the GoFlex drive. This has not caused any issues with installation and set-up, as it is as simple as one-time installation when the drive is installed for the very first time and from there, you will be able to mount the drive on both PCs and Macs with complete write and read access sans any speed degradation. However, there is a small catch here, because this drive will not work with Time Machine if you are making use of the NTFS for Mac at the same time since Apple demands all the external storage to be HFS+ formatted. Fortunately, Seagate gets over this issue by providing its own diluted backup back-up software via another partnership with the software developer Memeo.
Memeo is a file-based backup system, which means that, on the dashboard, you have to specifically specify the folders and files that you need to save, and you also have the option to back up all the contents of the GoFlex drive at once. This software is also capable of automatically updating with the version control technique, which means it will copy files in the background so that your backup data will remain to be up to date. The only glitch here is that the file-based backups do not keep a record of the applications that you install in the system. However, Seagate makes sure that this feature is provided with the Premium Backup plan of Memeo for a one-time upgrade fee.
To test the performance of the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Pro 2.5″ Portable Drive, we compared it with similar drives such as LaCie Rikiki, Transcend StoreJet 25F, Hitachi SimpleTough, and G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB. The GoFlex Pro seems to be a solid performer in both read and write tests and it can clearly keep up with the competition with its rivals. But the high-speed gain can be noticed more when the drive is combined with USB3.0 and eSATA. The FireWire 800 reaches speeds of about 37MB/s, which is simply amazing.
Warranty and Support:
Seagate offers its FreeAgent GoFlex Pro three years warranty for parts and labor. It is disappointing that Seagate has not offered 5 years warranty that came with the original FreeAgent Go, but let us not talks too much about it because most hard drives come with just one year warranty. For support, the Seagate Website has quite a comprehensive list of forums, driver downloads, knowledge bases, installation help and FAQs that aid you with any sort of troubleshooting. You also get live support through chat, email and phone from 6 am to 8 pm on weekdays.
With the FreeAgent GoFlex external hard drive, Seagate has kept its promise to provide more features than its rivals at a similar cost per GB. Considering its current price tag, the GoFlex Pro is obviously one of the cheapest drives in the market. Though it will not be able to displace LaCie Rikiki from the top place, you also have to note here that this LaCie offering has just the USB2.0 port with 2 years limited warranty and very simple automated backup software. At such an affordable price tag, the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Pro external hard drive is well deserved of a “recommended” from ssdflashdrivereviews.com and a try from the budget-minded consumers who like to stay ahead of the connection curve.