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Seagate FreeAgent Go (blue review: Seagate FreeAgent Go (blue

Seagate FreeAgent Go (blue

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Justin Yu
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Justin Yu

Associate Editor / Reviews - Printers and peripherals

Justin Yu covered headphones and peripherals for CNET.

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3 min read

The FreeAgent Go is part of Seagate's latest new line of portable hard drives and is by far the thinnest we've tested while still maintaining a reasonably fast transfer rate. Seagate sent us a blue 320GB model ($150) for our review, but you can take your pick of four vibrant colors in a variety of capacities from 250 up to 500GB. If you need extra storage on-the-go, the Seagate FreeAgent Go will make a useful addition to your daily carry.

8.5

Seagate FreeAgent Go (blue

The Good

Inexpensive cost per GB; modern design; variety of colors and capacities; thinnest drive on the market.

The Bad

No support service available on the weekend; short USB cord.

The Bottom Line

The Seagate FreeAgent Go is our favorite portable hard drive to date and takes our award for Editors' Choice. The drive is well designed and fast, and you won't find a better value for the price.

Drive type External hard drive
Connector options USB 2.0
Available capacities 250GB, 320GB, 500GB
Capacity of test unit 320GB
Product dimensions (LWH) 5.12x 3.15x0.49 inches
Drive speed 5,400rpm
Cache 8MB
OSes supported Windows XP/Vista and Mac OS X
Software included None

Design and features
The FreeAgent Go is one of the thinnest mobile hard disks we've reviewed; the size makes it easy to throw in your bag on the run. Its official measurements are 0.5 inch high by 3 inches wide by 5 inches long and only weighs 5.6 ounces. The multicapacity drives (250GB, 320GB, 500GB) come dressed in silver, black, blue, or red models, but the blue and red versions are only available in 320GB. We're not sure why, since they use the same cases.

Aside from their slim figure, the shape of 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 rough material that prevents the drive from sliding around on a hard surface.

The only hole 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 underneath illuminate and pulsate underneath while the drive is active. If you leave it plugged in for an extended period, the 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, but the aesthetic design is a nice touch.

While other drives such as the Iomega eGo Camo ship with a long 3.5-foot USB cord, the Seagate's falls short at barely more than half a foot. If you're not lucky enough to have a USB port on the front of your computer, you'll find yourself wishing for an extension cable.

Cost per gigabyte
At just 48 cents per gigabyte for the 320GB model, the Go is a full 8 cents cheaper than the Western Digital My Passport Studio, making it 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, and we're confident recommending the drive as an Editors' Choice.

Performance test (in megabits per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
OWC Mercury On-The-Go
20.32 
17.31 
WD My Passport Studio
19.18 
18.64 
Seagate FreeAgent Go
18.15 
17.84 
Maxtor Black Armor
17.4 
17.37 

Service and warranty
Seagate protects the FreeAgent Go against factory defects with an impressive five-year warranty. In addition, the Seagate 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, e-mail, and phone 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. Unfortunately, no support is available on the weekend.

8.5

Seagate FreeAgent Go (blue

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 9Performance 8Support 8
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