Pros: Offers choose-your-connection interface modules.
Cons: Modules can be unwieldly.
Seagate’s 500GB FreeAgent GoFlex Pro is just one of the models in the storage maker’s refresh of its portable hard drive line. The new GoFlex system encompasses drives of varying colours, capacities, connections and add-ons.
The unique feature to these models is that the main module has a Serial ATA connection, to which you pop on one of a choice of adapters to connect via USB 2.0 (which you get in the box), USB 3.0, FireWire 800 or eSATA. There’s also a dock to stand it on your desk.
This makes for a neatly flexible arrangement, since you could have a FireWire 800 adapter for your Mac in the studio, an eSATA for your PC at home while sticking to vanilla USB 2.0 for your laptop.
One potential issue, however, lies with the modular concept itself. The GoFlex Pro drive has not one but two connections to pass through, and we found on the unit we tried that the connector module could come unseated more easily than we’d expect – a risk when a drive might be sitting on a train table or the side of a couch. Another annoyance: you have to pop the module off to use it with the dock.
In our Test Centre, the drive performed well – but surprisingly, even though the drive ran at 7,200rpm, its performance was largely comparable to the older, 5,400rpm FreeAgent Go we’d tested previously.
Clearly, the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Pro portable drives perform well, and will deliver without incident if you leave it plugged into your chosen module on your desk. But the usability is a little clunky, sadly. Unless you require the modular flexibility this drive provides, competing models may make a more compelling choice.