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Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Home review: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Home

As a base NAS offering the GoFlex Home is functional but lacks a real killer feature to make it stand out from the NAS pack, and the fact that certain features are in effect hidden behind a paywall detracts from its overall value significantly.

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Alex Kidman
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Alex Kidman

Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.

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3 min read

Design

Seagate's latest take on a single drive NAS, the FreeAgent GoFlex Home, is black, boxy and comes in two distinct parts. The hard drive portion, like many of Seagate's recent drives, isn't much to look at.

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7.1

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Home

The Good

Simple setup. USB port for printer sharing. Media file sharing.

The Bad

User creation limited unless you pay for pro features. Backup software is a trial version. Lacks RAID. Some pro features should be standard, not paid extras.

The Bottom Line

Seagate's latest NAS solution offers the basics of backup and streaming, but to access its best features, you’ll have to pay an annual subscription fee.

A square black box with an interface port on the bottom that clicks into the main GoFlex Home interface dock. This is one of the Home's selling points, in that you can upgrade your drive capacity by plugging in a different GoFlex Desk drive in the future, although you'd need to side-shuffle your data off the old drive and onto the new one in order to accommodate that.

Features

We tested the AU$229 1TB version of the GoFlex Home; a AU$329 2TB version is also available. The dock itself supplies power and a standard ethernet port, as well as a USB port for printer sharing. The GoFlex Home can also act as a media server out to the GoFlex TV and games consoles.

Seagate also offers a "Pro" version of its tools, which you can access for free for thirty days. This includes the ability to add unlimited accounts to your GoFlex Home (by default it only supports a measly five users), Cooliris' interface (also seen on Hitachi's Life Studio Mobile Plus) and external access from PC or smartphone. The external access features we can see a justified case for being a paid feature, but charging users to add extra user accounts to hardware they already own? That's shameless profiteering, Seagate, and we plain don't like it.

On the software side, setting up the GoFlex Home involves installing Seagate's Desktop software, along with a 30 day trial of Memeo backup software. It's rather galling that it's only a 30 day trial for what is undoubtedly designed as a backup solution, given that cheaper drive solutions offer unlocked backup software.

Performance

Seagate touts the GoFlex Home as being easy to setup and for the most part, we'd agree. Installation includes setting up Seagate's desktop software, optionally installing the Memeo backup client and registering the device with Seagate's online services. In our tests, this only took a couple of minutes before the drive was operational. The web interface the drive uses is functional but a little slow to respond.

Network file copying is always inherently difficult to test, as the amount of network traffic and connection method can make results vary wildly. Via direct connection through a gigabit switch, we managed a very healthy 171.76Mbps transfer rate with a 365MB compressed file, but you could expect much slower performance if you were connecting to the GoFlex Home wirelessly.

Conclusion

There's an inherent risk with the GoFlex Home and indeed any NAS solution that relies on a single drive. As it lacks RAID, there's no redundancy built in, so when the drive inside fails (which it inevitably will at some point) everything on it will die with it.

As a base NAS offering the GoFlex Home is functional but lacks a real killer feature to make it stand out from the NAS pack, and the fact that certain features are in effect hidden behind a paywall detracts from its overall value significantly.

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