Pros:Can be used on Mac or PC; Very small and compact; Upgradable; Can encrypt files.
Cons:Bundled software very basic; short USB cable; Only a 2-year warranty.
The Bottom Line: This is a neat and very compact plug and play external drive with optional plug-in cables. Works very well. USB cable is only 18 inches. Software could be better.
The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 320GB external hard drive is the latest in the Seagate line of ultra-portable drives. It retails for $89.99 from the manufacturer and I purchased mine from Amazon.com for $69.99.
Recommend this product?
The drive is very compact and sleek, measuring approx. 4” x 3” x .5” thick. It weighs about 5 ounces. The 320GB drive is available in 2 colors: shiny black and silver. The drive comes with built-in 192-bit Triple DES encryption. This is a plug-and-play drive that makes it very easy to store, backup, encrypt and access your files anywhere. The basic drive comes with a USB 2.0 plug-and-play cable but can be upgraded with the optional purchase of either USB 3.0, FireWire or eSATA cables.
The pre-loaded easy-to-use backup software is from Memeo and it installs automatically when the drive is first plugged in. The drive runs from the USB cable and there are no AC plugs to bother with. Besides the various upgrade cables that can be purchased for between $20 and $40, there is also a TV HD Media Player that is available for $99. and a Net Media Sharing Device for $80.
The drive will operate on a Mac or with Microsoft Windows, as will the built-in software. The manufacturer warranty is 2 years, which is somewhat shorter than many other external drives which range from 3 to 5 years. Installation was a snap by just plugging in the USB cable into the computer and waiting a few minutes for the software to load.
The bundled software is Memeo Instant Backup and it is a very basic backup program. It operates with the Memeo Dashboard and it automatically performs backups as you use your computer. However, it only backs up a limited number of files such as documents, photos, videos, music etc. There is no choice for you to specify which files to back up unless you purchase the Memeo Premium Backup software, which will allow you to create backup plans. The Premium software cost an additional $29.95 and can be purchased from the Memeo Dashboard. But even the Premium software will not allow you to back up your entire hard drive. I called Seagate about this and they emailed me a free link to their Seagate Disk Wizard software, which I was able to download and install. This now gives me the opportunity to also perform a complete back up of my entire “C” drive. The contents of this backup is an image stored separately on the external drive and can be accessed for restoration of any file on my “C” drive. The Disk Wizard also allows you to create a bootable disk in case your hard drive fails and you need to boot into the external drive.
The Dashboard software is pretty basic and it gives you information as to how much of the external drive you have used and how much is available for backup. There is also an option to back up with encryption so that no one else can access the drive without a password. I have not used this feature yet so I cannot comment on it. When the drive is installed it places an icon on the desktop and one on the taskbar. Occasionally a pop-up window appears and then fades away telling you that your backups are up-to-date.
The backup software works quietly in the background and takes up little space on your hard drive. I have been using it now for about 2 weeks and find it to be very effective. The small size also allows you to take it to any computer anywhere and it is indeed very portable. Telephone tech support is free for the first 30 days. There is also online support and a chat support venue available. When I called about the inability to make a complete backup of my hard drive with the pre-packaged Memeo software, they were very accommodating and sent me the free link for the Seagate Disk Wizard.
In the box is the GoFlex ultra-portable drive, pre-loaded backup software with encryption, GoFlex USB 2.0 interface adapter, 18-inch USB 2.0 cable (which could have been longer) and a Quick Start Guide. This is an excellent external ultra-portable hard drive for the money. The software could have been better, but the Seagate Disk Wizard has helped to solve this. There are also larger drives available in the line, including 500GB, 1TB, etc. Check out the Seagate website for more info on available sizes, options, accessories and tutorials. This drive has also received stellar reviews from many users who have purchased it.
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