Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable review: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable

The GoFlex Ultra is the second portable drive that comes preloaded with movies, following the FreeAgent Go. Each movie costs around $10 to $15 to unlock, which is somewhat expensive. If you don't want to buy the movies, you can simply delete them from the "Movies" folder on the hard drive to restore the occupied storage space.

The GoFlex Ultra comes bundled with Memeo Backup software that you can choose to install. The software is rather limited in its local backup functionality and comes bloated with many features that try to coerce people into buying premium services. For this reason, we would recommend using third-party backup software with the drive.

Unlike the GoFlex Pro, which was only tested with USB 2.0, we tested the GoFlex Ultra with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 and experienced mixed results.

In USB 2.0 tests, the Ultra excelled, topping our charts in the read test with 41.9MBps. In write it was also the second fastest at 28.8MBps, just a tad slower than the 29.8MBps of the Hitachi LifeStudio Mobile Plus.

It was a different story with USB 3.0, however. While the GoFlex Ultra was still fast, it was less so than the average of the other USB 3.0 external hard drives we've reviewed.

In the write test, the drive scored 78.8MBps, significantly faster than the 69.9MBps of the Buffalo Cobalt, but also far slower than the 106.6 MBps of the WD My Book 3.0. Note, however, that the My Book 3.0 is a desktop external hard drive. Among laptop external hard drives, the GoFlex Ultra was the second fastest in the write test, slightly slower than the 86MBps of its predecessor Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0. In the USB 3.0 read test, the GoFlex Ultra registered 89.7MBps, making it the second slowest on our charts.

It's worth noting, however, that while it was comparatively not the fastest, the drive is still a very fast external hard drive, merely because USB 3.0 is far superior to any other existing type of peripheral connection for external storage.

CNET Labs external hard drive USB 2.0 performance scores/MBps
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

CNET Labs external hard drive USB 3.0 performance scores/MBps
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Service and support
Seagate backs the FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra with a two-year warranty, which is one year shorter than what it offers for the portable version, the GoFlex Pro. This is a little disappointing, especially because Seagate often offers warranties of up to five years for other products. Seagate's Web site contains a comprehensive list of forums, knowledge bases, driver downloads, installation help, and FAQs to help you troubleshoot your drive. The company's technical support is also available via live chat, e-mail, and phone from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT weekdays.

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