****In the box****
The box contains the external hard drive unit, a cable to connect the unit to an USB port, a stand and a power supply. The power supply has a dual plug adaptor, allowing the unit to be used in both the UK and abroad.
The quick start guide provides the instructions to get started. This document is brief and to the point, as it should be, and in addition to the instructions, it gives information on the other features of the unit. It does not, however, give information on how to use these. It should be noted that the box doesn't contain any driver discs since the drivers, and all other relevant items, are preloaded on the unit itself, so there is no need to pull the box apart' looking for that "damn driver disc". It also means that the hard drive can be used on multiple machines without the need to load up any software.
****Looks and dimensions****
The hard drive measures 33.7mm by 172mm by 175mm and weighs in at 1kg. It is not the smallest of drives on the market, but then it is not exactly big either. In my opinion it is the ideal size for any small computer desk. The hard drive is silver and looks contemporary, sleek and stylish. On the front of the unit there is the infamous Seagate symbol that emits a blue light. This feature is merely cosmetic in order to make it stand out in the highly competitive market of external hard drives.
I have always been a great believer in functionality over looks, although I appreciate there are many people out there who think the opposite. The Seagate satisfies both criteria since it is more than capable and would look good on anywhere.
Seagate claims this hard drive has a massive 1.0TB storage capacity, but once I had the product linked up to my laptop I discovered that the amount of 'free' space was actually 930 GB. I had instantly 'lost' 70GB (which is a hefty amount on its own), and I was a bit disappointed but considering I still had such a massive amount of capacity left I wasn't overly bothered about it.
The pre-loaded drivers, manuals and the like use up some of the storage capacity, but there is no way that these items use 70GB so Seagate's claim is a bit of a fallacy. Despite this there is still plenty of capacity to store hours and hours of entertainment, lots of software programs etc.
I bought this hard drive to put all my media files on, including games, seldom-used software, music, video, photos and other ad-hoc items, and it is great for this purpose. I suppose 1.0TB (sorry - 930 GB) may be considered a bit over the top, especially since I have only just managed to fill up the C drive of my laptop, but I am hoping that this unit will last a few years and manage to cope with my future demands. The massive size also means that I can have the bare minimum on my laptop hence making it run that much faster.
It is possible to set the unit up so it does an automatic back-up at a specific time, which is great for those forgetful people out there, and whilst I don't use this feature on a regular basis it is very easy to set up. I will admit that I am no 'whizz' when it comes to computers (although I can get by) and I found it very easy to set this feature up.
With such a large capacity this unit is ideal for backing-up computers in small businesses (obviously depending upon the systems in use, the size of the network, the amount of stations and the amount of memory required of course). It is ideal for backing-up accounting packages, such as Sage, Quick Books and the like, since these programs do not use much memory but need to be backed-up on a daily basis due to the sensitive nature of the data held and the constant changes that are made.
This hard drive has a transfer rate up to 480 Mbits/second. There are quicker units on the market but I find this is more than fast enough for my requirements and have never had any problems.
****Availability and price****
The Seagate appears to be available almost everywhere so you shouldn't have any problems in getting hold of one, even if you do have to pay a bit more for it.
The price of this unit varies significantly, so it definitely pays to shop around. I bought mine in Maplin for £79.99 (on a special deal), although on the same day and in the same retail park (in fact it was just two shops down) the Seagate 1TB was on sale in Currys for £99.99. How can the Maplin price be around 20% less than a shop in exactly the same area? At the time of writing, I have seen the Seagate for sale for £55.00 on Ebay, although I did not look in to it so I cannot comment on the overall price of the unit (i.e. including postage and packaging, insurance and any VAT or import duty (if applicable)).
The Seagate Freeagent is a top bit of kit for domestic use and I can't recommend it highly enough. It is fast, reliable, looks good, moveable. Storage capacity per pound is the best out of all the hard drives I looked at so you get plenty of bang for your buck. The only downside I can find is it requires an external power supply so it is not as mobile as it could be, but then given the capacity and speed of this hard drive I would imagine it would drain the life of your laptop battery very quickly in the absence of an external power supply.
(THis review has been posted on other review sites under the name of Yackers1)
1TB of data storage - So how does this compare to all the others?
Well, I bought this as a second external hard drive (my first was getting a bit full), but I still haven't quite got around to using it for this purpose - more on that later.
This hard drive was available at such a good price, and the reviews do seem to favour it, so I went ahead and bought one.
Unpacking and installation was a doddle: 1 hard drive, 1 long USB cable and 1 power supply cable. I connected everything and powered up. The installation disk seemed to be asking for various setup parameters, which appeared to be a bit confusing (I should have read the manual first!).
Once up and running, I started manually copying and backing up files from my original drive. The transfer speeds were about as fast as can be expected (i.e. pretty fast). Whilst this was busy, I read the manual... The software included with this drive provides the user with a full backup service that can be scheduled. Rather than manually copying files, the software can be easily configured to back up selected drives and folders. The backup can then be set to be either manual ("Back up now") or scheduled to start at a specific time, on whichever days of the week you desire.
For this reason, I'd recommend this as a backup hard drive, not just a standalone drive for additional storage.
This is a very reliable backup hard drive, and well worth the money.
The backup software installs an icon in the Taskbar, which is either green (backups up to date), yellow (backup required) or red (backup overdue) in colour. However, this icon NEVER reflects the true status. It will remain green all the time, and will turn yellow immediately AFTER a backup has taken place. This isn't very helpful. The software does check (daily) for updates, but this "bug" has so far not been fixed.
This icon also lingers slightly too long for my liking - it is easy to hover the mouse cursor over the Taskbar to select another adjacent item, only to find that the FreeAgent icon dominates. Slightly irritating, but not a major issue.
One good feature about this drive is that it does power down after about 15 minutes of inactivity (saves wearing out the disk unnecessarily - a feature so often lacking with these drives). The glowing amber LED light on the front of the drive dims, and the disk stops spinning. If any specified files change, then the drive begins to whir into life (the fan sounds like a - quiet - jet engine starting up), the amber light pulses and the drive quietly reads/writes. It isn't noisy during operation, but after a period of real quiet, it IS noticeable when the fan starts up.