The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable hard drive
may be a mouthful to say, but it's a lot more than just a 2.5" SATA hard
drive wrapped in a travel friendly, slim grey plastic case. At
the heart of the system is a hard drive, but key to the system's
brilliant usefulness is that Seagate designed this hard drive to interface
with a series of modular cable interface adaptors, docks and a media player. It's what
you'd call, really very flexible.
The modular cables allow the core hard drive, which comes in
capacities from 320GB - 750GB, to connect to one of five data ports, depending on your computer or the
data transfer speed you want to achieve. For example, the 500GB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex
drive PCSTATS is reviewing today (model: STAA500101) ships with a common USB 2.0 adaptor -
while USB 2.0 is reasonably quick there are better interfaces for constantly moving multi-gigabyte files back and forth.
For about $25 you can purchase a USB 3.0, Firewire 800
or powered eSATA interface adaptor to connect the FreeAgent GoFlex drive to those respective ports, improving data
transfer speeds respectively. For around a $100, an Intel Thunderbolt docking station is even
available; Thunderbolt is limited to newish Mac computers thus far, but promises transfer speeds upwards of 10Gb/s.
But that's not all... Seagate
made the core FreeAgent GoFlex hard drive so it will
slot into the companies' TV HD Media Player product, interfacing via the drives native
SATA port. Sliding a hard drive into the Media Player is a quick and
simple way to open up access to hundreds of gigabytes of digital content on the spot.
not familiar with the GoFlex TV HD Media Player, it's basically a small black
box which enables movies/music/photo content to be streamed over the internet, a network, off a USB drive, or via a portable
hard drive onto just about any High Definition Television. For those of you who
like to download entire TV series, the GoFlex TV HD Media Player is a
fantastic way to bring that content off the computer screen and onto the living room HDTV.
INCLUDES: User's Manual, USB 2.0
interface adaptor, software on drive for sync'ing data
HDD Type: 2.5" SATA
Interface: Hot-Swap SATA to USB 2.0, USB 3.0,
Firewire 800, powered eSATA or Thunderbolt interface adaptor
Physical: 150 grams, 111x83x14.5mm
OS Compatibility: Windows and
Est. Price: $110
USD / £69 GBP / $110
The FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable hard drive is simple storage device, but
one that's more thought out than those flimsy slap-a-2.5"-laptop-drive-in-here
plastic shells you often see in computer stores.
Seagate's 500GB FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable hard
drive retails for about $110USD, so cost per GB is pegged at an economical
$0.22. The drive weighs a feathery 150 grams and in size, is a hair bigger than
the ubiquitous Paris par Arrondissement
pocket guide. The plastic case feels relatively rugged and firm, with smooth
corners so it easily slips into pockets. Seagate warranties the drive for 2
The only visible
bit of electronics on the device is a recessed hot-swap SATA connector which is protected
from damage if you have happen to leave the interface adaptor cable
disconnected. Each interface adaptor has a small white LED status light to indicate when
the drive is powered up and when it's engaged in a data
The FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable
hard drive has no power sockets and does not require any external
power adaptors to operate. Finally, it's Mac (OS-X or higher) and PC (WinXP -
to Win7) compatible. Minimum hardware requirement is pretty much, just a USB 2.0
When connected via USB 2.0 port, the 500GB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex
Ultra-Portable hard drive can transfer a single 8.5GB test file to the PC at a
rate of about 31MB/s. The same test repeated over eSATA cable yields a rate of
about 49MB/s. To put these transfer speeds into perspective, Patriot's Supersonic 64GB USB 3.0 thumb drive can copy a
single 8.5GB file over to a PC at a rate of 53MB/s.
USB 3.0 devices are capable of moving data at a quick
4.8Gbit/s, a 10x boost up from the 480Mbit/s rate of USB 2.0. As Yoda might say,
USB transfer speeds are perfect for multi-gigabyte storage devices. PCSTATS will take a quick look at the other interface
adaptors cables available for this drive next, then it's time to wrap up this review
with a few fun transfer tests.