We should applaud Seagate for doing away with installer CDs and bundling all the software installer files you need directly on the drive so you have them everywhere you go. That said, installing the Memeo backup software is a breeze on both Mac and PCs. Once you're up and running, you'll see that the Seagate Dashboard (also powered by Memeo) on the desktop serves as a hub for viewing previous backups and also provides an overlying view of data on the drive.
Memeo is a file-based backup system, meaning you have to specify on the Dashboard exactly which files and folders are to be saved--you can choose to back up the entire contents of the GoFlex in one swoop. The software also automatically updates with version-control, copying files in the background so your backed-up data remains up-to-date. Unfortunately, file-based backups don't keep a record of the applications you install on your system, but Seagate makes the service available with the Memeo Premium Backup plan available for a one-time upgrade fee of $29.95.
Cost per gigabyte
The FreeAgent GoFlex keeps Seagate's promise to offer more features than the competition at the same cost per gigabyte. At only $0.26 cost per gigabyte, the GoFlex is certainly one of the least expensive drives out there, and though it can't beat out the LaCie Rikiki for the top spot, it's worth noting that the Rikiki has only one USB 2.0 port, a two-year warranty, and a simple means of automating backups.
The speed chart below compares the GoFlex only to other drives with USB 2.0 ports, since this review is for the basic package that includes the drive and a USB personality cable. The GoFlex is a solid performer in both the read and write tests and can clearly keep up with the competition, but the big speed gains are much more noticeable when you pair the drive with USB 3.0; our anecdotal tests with the Maingear Vybe transferred a 6.62GB file at 70 megabytes per second with USB 3.0 and eSATA, whereas the FireWire 800 reached speeds around 37MB/s on our testbed hardware.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|USB Read (MB/s)||USB Write (MB/s)|
Service and Support
Seagate protects the FreeAgent Go against factory defects with a three-year warranty. We're a little disappointed that Seagate isn't offering the five-year plan that came with the original Seagate FreeAgent Go, but we'll let it slide since most hard drives only come with a one-year warranty anyway.
In addition, the Seagate Web site contains a comprehensive list of forums, knowledge bases, driver downloads, installation help, and FAQs to help you troubleshoot your drive. Phone support is also available via live chat, e-mail, and phone from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. Unfortunately, Seagate offers no support during the weekend.