ZDNet Editors' Choice

Seagate FreeAgent Go

Summary: Seagate's FreeAgent Go is our favourite portable hard drive to date, earning it an Editors' Choice award. The drive is well designed and fast, and you won't find better value for money.

  • Editors' rating:
    8.5
  • User rating:
    0.0
  • RRP:
    AUD $229.00

Pros

  • Low cost per gigabyte
  • Modern design
  • Variety of colours and capacities
  • Thinnest external hard drive on the market

Cons

  • No support service available at the weekend

The FreeAgent Go is part of Seagate's latest line of portable hard drives. It's the thinnest we've tested while still maintaining a reasonably fast transfer rate. Seagate sent us a blue 320GB model for our review, but you can take your pick of four vibrant colours (silver, black, red and blue) in a variety of capacities from 250GB up to 500GB. If you need extra storage capacity on the go, the Seagate FreeAgent Go will make a useful addition to your travel inventory.

Design & features
The FreeAgent Go is the thinnest mobile hard disk we've reviewed, and its size makes it easy to throw in your travel bag. The official measurements are 80mm wide by 130mm deep by 12.5mm high, while the weight is just 160g. The black and silver models are available with 250GB, 320GB or 500GB drives, but the blue and red versions are fixed at 320GB. We're not sure why, since they use the same cases.

Aside from its slimline dimensions, the FreeAgent Go looks like a lot of other external drives. The top of the rectangular case has a brushed metal finish that looks sleek and even passed our scratch test with impressive resilience. The bottom is covered with a slightly roughened material that prevents the drive from sliding around on a hard surface.

The only connector on the front is a USB 2.0 powered port that connects the drive to your computer. The top of the Go is perforated on one end and a series of white lights illuminate and pulsate underneath while the drive is active. If you leave it plugged in for an extended period, this display will fade slightly. In our opinion, the lights are barely useful and mostly superfluous — we don't need an arbitrary light to show us activity, although the aesthetic design is a nice touch.

The FreeAgent Go ships with a decent-length 1.2m USB cable; a docking station and a protective travel case are available as options.

Cost per gigabyte
At £76.43 (inc. VAT) for the 320GB model (from Dabs), the FreeAgent Go costs 23.9 pence per gigabyte. That's nearly 6p per GB cheaper than the equivalent Western Digital Passport Studio (£95 inc. VAT), making the FreeAgent Go the best value for external hard drives currently on the market.

Performance
Although the FreeAgent Go takes the prize for the best value, its competitors stay ahead in our speed test. Compared with three similar external hard drives, the Seagate FreeAgent Go trailed behind the others by only a few megabytes per second. The differences are negligible though, and we're confident in recommending the drive as an Editors' Choice.

Service & support
Seagate protects the FreeAgent Go against factory defects with an impressive five-year warranty. In addition, Seagate's web site offers contains a comprehensive list of forums, knowledge bases, driver downloads, installation help and FAQs to help you troubleshoot your drive. Since external drives rarely malfunction, the length of the warranty is particularly helpful Phone support is also available via live chat, email, and phone 8am to 11pm (CET) on weekdays. Unfortunately, no support is available at the weekend.

 

Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Capacity 160 GB
Form Factor 2.5"
Interface USB 2.0
Width 0.7 in
Depth 3.9 in
Height 4.8 in
Weight 6.4 oz
Performance
Interface Transfer Rate 480 Mbps
Spindle Speed 5400 rpm
Expansion & Connectivity
Interfaces USB 2.0
Power
Power Source USB bus
Software & System Requirements
Software Included Drivers & Utilities
OS Required Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Miscellaneous
Microsoft Certifications Compatible with Windows 7
Package Type retail
Manufacturer Warranty
Service & Support 5 years warranty

Topics: Storage, Hardware, Reviews

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