This Seagate FreeAgent Go 320GB portable drive looks pleasing to the eye, with a design that is fairly different - and looks very sleek among some chunkier competition, with corners that seem designed to convey a thin profile. The single solid colour, and the arrayed activity LED help it to look both sober and unconventional at the same time.
Wide availability of the product, and a five-year warranty are bonuses. The bundled software (innovatively named... FreeAgent) makes encryption, synchronising files and automating backups easier.
The Seagate FreeAgent Go 320GB drive uses a Momentus 5400.5 hard disk drive internally. It's available in nine colours - blue, silver, gold, orange, blue, black, red, pink and green. Desktop users who hate having to reach for the back panel of a PC to plug in a USB cable need not despair. Seagate offers a docking station that you can keep on your desk to have a mini-USB port within easy reach. Sold separately as an accessory, the Go Dock provides a carry case as well.
The performance of this drive is within expectations. Most portable USB hard drives have a read speed of around 30MB/s, and a multi-file write speed of 24MB/s in real world tests. This is because they are limited by the speed of the USB 2.0 interface. This sample had a read speed average of 30.6MB/s and random write speed of 30.7MB/s. CPU usage was typically high at 8% and read access latency was 22 milliseconds.
So when all such USB drives provide similar real world performance, the factors to look at would be the pricing, warranty and whether you like how the drive looks.
The Seagate FreeAgent Go distinguishes itself with its sleek looks, unconventional disk activity LED, wide choice of colours, and an optional docking station (Go Dock). Pricing is in line with the segment, and wide availability helps too.