Seagate FreeAgent Go

An external hard drive earns its price tag.

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Seagate FreeAgent Go
  • Seagate FreeAgent Go
  • Seagate FreeAgent Go
  • Seagate FreeAgent Go

Pros

  • Attractive design, good transfer speeds, runs relatively cool and silent, simple and useful bundled software

Cons

  • Expensive

Bottom Line

The Seagate FreeAgent Go proves that beauty and brawn can go together, with modern chic and high performance in a great device. If you're in the market for an external hard drive, and you can afford this unit, the Go is definitely worth looking at.

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The Seagate FreeAgent Go is a cost-effective external USB 2.0 hard drive with a sleek, modern design and very fast transfer rates. It packs 500GB of storage in its 2.5in form factor, so it’s good if you want something that is portable yet has a huge capacity.

The drive inside the casing employs perpendicular magnetic recording; it runs quietly and is also very cool. It has a spin speed of 5400rpm, and there are only two platters inside it, each of which has a 250GB capacity.

It’s an undeniably cool-looking hard drive that is small enough to fit into a pocket — it measures 130(L)x80(W)x13(H)mm. The model we received was black, but it is available in a range of colours. We do like the black model: it has a matte finish, which means casing lacks the fingerprint-prone gloss found in other devices like the LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk. The drive also feels solid, which is always important for a device that is designed to be taken from place to place.

A patterned series of holes in the case allow the LED to emit a glow, which fades in and out when the hard drive is inactive and shines at full strength when the drive is being used.

It isn't all about looks; speed is another highlight of the FreeAgent Go. We transferred 5GB worth of files between the Go and a PC using Seagate's 7200rpm Barracuda ES2. It achieved a read speed of 28.9 megabytes per second and a write speed of 23.3MBps. This makes it one of the fastest external hard drives we've tested. It also notched up a copy transfer speed (where we copy data from one location on the drive to another) of 13.2MBps. This is a much faster result than its most well-known competitor, the Western Digital My Passport Elite 320GB, which recorded 8.9MBps in the same test.

The FreeAgent ships with a dual-head USB cable, which is handy if you own a computer that doesn’t have fully powered USB 2.0 ports. For most new laptops and PCs, only one USB port will be needed.

The drive is bundled with Seagate Manger software, which is a backup and sync coordinator. The program allows you to select which files to back up and when you want the process to occur, and it is very user-friendly. Although it allows a nice amount of control over the hard drive, it doesn't overburden users with too much information.

Indeed, the lack of excess software (a.k.a. "bloatware") means that buyers won't end up installing a range of useless programs.

With a formatted capacity of 465GB, the cost per gigabyte is 79.4 cents, which is in line with major competitors, like the WD drive mentioned earlier.

So if you're looking for a fast, attractive and cost-effective portable hard drive in time for Christmas, then the Seagate FreeAgent Go is worth considering.

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