Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive (1.5TB)

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive review: A very versatile storage solution from Seagate.

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Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Flexibility to select your own connection, USB 3.0

Cons

  • No uninstaller for some parts of the included software for Macs

Bottom Line

The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive is a fantastically versatile storage system. It allows an investment in compact and portable hard drives up to huge capacities, that can then be easily connected to any computer with a USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire or eSATA connector. No other hard drive manufacturer has devised a system so simple yet effective.

Would you buy this?

The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive is more than just a portable hard drive — it's the basis of a very versatile storage system offering huge capacities and many user-changeable connection standards, starting with USB 3.0, eSATA and FireWire 800

External storage has become a vital asset in preserving our personal digital lives. Whether it's to backup the precious contents of our PCs or pick up the overspill of what just won't fit onboard, the reality is that most people now need external storage.

In the home or a professional environment, this usual comes down to either network-attached storage — a server or NAS drive for pooling data over a local network — or traditional direct-attached storage, like the USB hard drive.

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Direct-attached storage is typically the simplest not to mention speediest way to access data — and that's an important factor when large files and overbrimming directories are involved.

There are several data-connection standards in common use today; plus some very interesting new technologies just emerging.

From the familiar roster we have USB 2.0, FireWire (400 or 800 variants), SCSI, and more recently, eSATA.

Just appearing or around the corner are USB 3.0 and Light Peak. And filed under 'missing, presumed dead' are FireWire 1600 and 3200.

With the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive though, Seagate has just about every current option covered, with potential to expand as new standards appear.

Speaking volumes

We looked at the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable 1.5TB drive. This is a somewhat rotund portable drive, measuring an unexceptional 119 x 88mm, but a chunky 22mm thick.

Various capacities are available (320GB, 500GB, 750GB and 1TB), and our sample of the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive was the largest currently offered with an incredible 1.5TB of storage.

That's why it's fatter than your average portable drive — inside is a single 2.5in SATA hard-disk drive, but one of the portlier 12mm-thick types, rather than 9.5mm as found in most modern laptops.

And 1500GB is an incredible capacity today for a modest notebook drive. At present, you will only find this level of portable storage in the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive — Seagate does not seem to be offering it to notebook PC manufacturers for internal use.

And to help you get all that data into and out of the drive, Seagate equips this Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive with a USB 3.0 connection as standard — backwards-compatible to USB 2.0 of course.

Or you can use the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive with FireWire 800. Or eSATA. Or even over an Ethernet network.

The clever part of Seagate's system is that you chose your preferred connector. At the bottom of the basic sealed drive enclosure lies a removable cable assembly. And this docks directly to the hard disk inside — not by some Seagate-proprietary connector, but by industry-standard SATA.

So on the base of the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive, you can just see the 22-pin SATA edge connector, inset into the drive and thereby protected from casual finger prodding.

By removing the snug-fitting interface adaptor assembly (ours came with USB 3.0/2.0), you can quickly adapt the drive to your own connection needs.

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