Backup on the Road – A Review of Seagate’s FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable Drive

Collective Bias and Seagate was kind enough to send me a complimentary GoFlex Drive in exchange for this review.

I’m not big on external hard drives, partly because they tend to take up too much room and I haven’t really seen a pressing need for them. In fact the only reason I have a drive for my desktop now is because of the shiny neon lights, and you know how I am when it comes to shiny objects.

Western Digital Neon Hard Drive
I shine and dazzle with my hard driving awesomeness.

It never occurred to me to get an external drive for my MacBook though until I received the FreeAgent GoFlex Pro Drive from Seagate.

Seagate GoFlex Drive Box
750GB?? I’ll take it.

I’ve really been behind on keeping up with the latest and greatest in hard drive technology, so when I opened up the box, I was pretty impressed to see just how small this drive actually was.

Comparison of FreeAgent GoFlex Drive size with wallet
Wow, it’s hardly bigger than my wallet!

The drive came with two cables, and an instruction manual so bare it didn’t even bother describing the difference between the two cables. Apparently one is a standup dock that doesn’t require any specific connection type (USB, eSATA, Firewire, etc.) while the other cable includes a USB module and cable for the drive to connect using plain old USB 2.0. The drive is pretty versatile in that you can purchase additional modules from USB 3.0 to eSATA for just about any connection setup imaginable. The downside though is that they can be pretty pricey, offsetting any potential savings in cost if you need something speedier than USB 2.0, but it does make the drive virtually futureproof.

Since my MacBook still only has USB 2.0, I’m content to use that for now. I didn’t like the fact that the standup dock takes up TWO USB ports, so I used the other cable instead. Connected the drive to my MacBook, and it was immediately recognized by MacBook’s native Time Machine software. It really is just plug and play here, which could account for the lack of instructions.

Seagate GoFlex Drive connected to MacBook
Oh YEAH, we’re hooked up baby.

What I really like about the drive is its ability to be used by both PC and Mac computers. It gives me the option of synchronizing my music, photos and videos on both my desktop and MacBook, which can be REALLY useful. If you get this drive as well and want to set it up this way, check out these instructions first.

I already use an Eye-Fi card to sync my photos and vids between my two computers, so for now I’m opting to use the GoFlex Drive as a backup solution for my MacBook, as well as provide additional space for future videos. My MacBook’s internal drive is an SSD with “only” 128GB of space, so having an additional 750GB to play around with will definitely come in handy. The drive itself includes third party software for syncing and backing up content, but I feel more comfortable using my MacBook’s native apps for that for the time being.

It’s certainly not the fastest portable drive out there, but for my needs it’s perfect, and it’s slim enough that I can keep it in my keyboard case too.  Using this along with a cloud backup solution helps me sleep a lot better at night, especially when I’m on the road.

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