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Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra Portable Drive

These days, it’s quite normal for consumers to have several copies of the files in their primary hard drives lest they suffer a devastating computer crash or the drunken accidental misplacing important stuff. (If you haven’t done any data backups ever or recently, best to do so ASAP!) Cloud computing/storage has turned countless people into ardent fans, but there are many others who prefer doing data backups the “old-fashioned” way: via external hard drives and USB drives. Seagate serves up one more option for these folks: the FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra Portable Drive.

The sexy silver digital lifesaver that landed on our table has a 500GB storage capacity, enough for most users’ basic data backup needs (but not for hardcore pirates multimedia fiends). There are also 750GB, 1TB and 1.5TB variants, so data hoarders and extreme users won’t be left out. Of course, the last two variants are thicker at 22mm, but it’s definitely not a cause for concern.

The drive’s biggest selling point is its ability to usher everyone into the party. While most external drives are limited to just one interface, Seagate’s GoFlex system fills the role of Miss Congeniality and plays nice with USB 2.0/3.0, FireWire 800 and eSATA.

Your chosen cable (or “personality cable”, as Seagate calls it) will include a bundled adapter (with two indicator lights at the front portion) that attaches to the drive’s bum. This system has two advantages: consumers pay for only what they really need, and the GoFlex Ultra Portable Drive can be used by people who don’t necessarily rely on the same interfaces. Besides this adaptability, the drive can also be used in conjunction with other Seagate GoFlex products, including the Net Media Sharing Device and TV HD Media Player.

It seems the GoFlex Ultra Portable Drive really loves being a peacemaker: apart from the aforementioned cooperation with various interfaces, it also tries to put both PC and Mac users at ease. The drive’s default formatting is NTFS, but Mac users can also access, edit and save their files on it with the help of the included driver. However, if Mac users want to do full data backups, they need to reformat the external HDD to HFS+.

Plugging the 500GB external drive into your desktop unit or laptop will call up the Product Registration menu, as well as install the bundled Seagate and Memeo software for data management, backup, sending and sharing. If your rig’s already equipped with at least one USB 3.0 port or has other interfaces available, then expect speedy read and write times from the GoFlex Ultra Portable Drive. But if you’re like us, who just happened to be stuck with a battered year-old lappie with USB 2.0 ports on test day, you’re gonna have to wait a bit longer.

A sample folder containing almost 40GB worth of files in various file formats (.avi, .mp3, .flac, .doc, .txt, .pdf, .mobi, .jpg, and .exe) was transferred to the external drive in 47 minutes with an average rate of 13-18 MB/s, while doing it the other way around was a bit faster at half an hour and an average 21 MB/s transfer rate.

The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra Portable Drive (500GB) has a current retail price of PhP 3,500.00 – not bad for something that has a couple of aces up its sleeve. It does get a wee bit toasty during operation, but overall, you’ll want to back it up with this drive.

Click here to view the Seagate GoFlex Ultra Portable Drive in the Buyer’s Guide.