Product Type: Seagate External Hard Drive
Newest Review: ... computer to computer, everyone needs an external hard drive. When I saw this Seagate 500GB one on Amazon for just £34.99, I simply could... more
Seagate's Shiny Storage Solution
Seagate External Portable Drive 500 GB
Member Name: Hishyeness
Seagate External Portable Drive 500 GB
Advantages: Plug & Play. Ultra-portable. Very easy to use. Looks.
Disadvantages: None at this price point.
IN FIVE YEARS TIME...
Several years ago, after much deliberation and painstaking research, I made a very astute purchase for my new Dell desktop PC. Forking out £150 for an external, powered, 250GB hard drive seemed an excellent investment, and so it has proved. The reason for buying it, at the time, was to have a quick and easy back-up facility for all of the precious, irreplaceable files on my PC, particularly photos and files.
This venerable old Maxtor drive is still doing the business, tucked away unobtrusively behind my PC monitor. Technically, it is portable, but in reality it is anything but - it doesn't work away from the mains and the unit itself weighs a way too much to be a practical travelling companion. However, five years is a very long time in the world of technology, and to paraphrase a famous old crooner - "the times, they are a changin'".
We now have three computers in the house - a desktop PC, a laptop and my netbook - and the number of media files we use - which tend to be quite large - seems to have multiplied accordingly. As such, some additional, truly portable storage was called for so that we could swap files between computers with the minimum of hassle. I dipped my toe back into the PC peripheral market and was astounded at how much things had moved along.
In short, I found I could get double the storage for a third of the price, at a quarter of the size and at roughly a tenth of the weight. After checking out a few reviews and eyeballing a few models at my local PC World, I took a shine to the Seagate Expansion Portable Drive which was retailing at just over £80. Never one to put speed of acquisition before cost savings, I was pleased to find the same 500GB USB 2.0 model immediately available on Amazon for just under £55.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX
The Seagate comes in a sturdy small, unfussy and fully recyclable cardboard box which contains the unit itself, a quick start guide, a short 40cm (15 inch) USB 2.0 cable and details of a two-year limited warranty. The drive is securely packaged in a refreshingly easy to open plastic enclosure. This a USB-powered unit which provides pure plug and play functionality, so there are no further instructions needed and no software to install.
LOOK & FEEL
The first thing that hits you is how compact and light the unit is - 3" wide x 5" long x 0.5" at its thickest, and weighing in at a remarkable 188g. It has a sleek, classy, minimalist look about it, accentuated by its high-gloss black finish on the top surfaces. The rest of the unit is a slightly dimpled matte black, with only the pin-hole sized centred green LED light toward the back of the unit and the discrete white Seagate logo at the front to interrupt its graceful looking architecture.
There is a small USB plug on the left hand side of the unit, and four rubber domed discs on the bottom to help it grip any surface and provide stability for the working parts. This is a very desirable looking bit of kit. Another great feature is its near-silent operation. At times, its hard to believe this isn't a glorified USB flash drive given the only noise you ever hear during operation is a barely audible hum. I guess, in a slightly strange way, it is a practical, discreet operator with an attention-seeking disorder.
EASE OF USE
This is a very simple drive to use. With no software to install, it takes seconds from the time you plug it in to a compatible USB 2.0 port (which most computers manufactured in the last three years ship with as standard) before your operating system picks it up and runs through the usual procedure of recognising new hardware. That's it. You're good to go.
To save files to it, you can simply drag and drop the icon onto the drive folder. I tend to be organised about what I save and where, so I don't tend to use this feature much. We run this drive with three operating systems - Windows XP, Vista and the new Windows 7 - and there is no discernable difference in performance.
Transfer speeds are impressive. I recently downloaded an entire twelve episode TV series (won't tell you which - that's my secret) to my desktop PC, before transferring all four (4) Gigabytes of it over to this drive in around three minutes and thirty seconds (3:30). With our media stored mainly on this drive, we can move it between PC's exceptionally easily and can run applications and content directly off of it instead of copying it over to the computer hard drive.
I am very happy with my purchase, especially at the price (currently £54.99 on Amazon at last look) which, for 500GB of hassle-free storage is a real bargain. My only complaint is an aesthetic one. Although the glossy top really looks the business, it is a fingerprint magnet and invariably ends up with loads of smudges from my greasy mitts.
I have taken to carrying a micropore cloth around with it to give it a bit of a buffing every now and again (Ooooh. Shiny!). On the flip-side, despite its reflective sheen, the unit has proven remarkably robust and scratch-proof. I toyed with the idea of getting a special case for it, but decided against it in the end. So, if you are looking for a discreet but slick-looking, truly portable, plug and play USB powered external drive, this 500GB pocket-sized dynamo is a real winner.
Seagate 2.5" Hard Disk Drive
USB 2.0 Interface
5400 RPM performance
OS: Windows XP, Vista & 7
© Hishyeness 2010
Summary: An excellent portable storage and back-up solution.
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