The last drives reviewed here were 3.5" external drives. Like with internal magnetic hard drives, 3.5" external drives have the upper hand to their 2.5" brothers. But while they win on the performance front, they have some downsides too. The 2.5" drives are obviously smaller and they use less power (and thus can be powered via USB). You can use them on the go without an AC outlet, and you don't have to carry around a larger drive with an AC power brick.
Today, we'll be looking at a popular 2.5" drive from Seagate, the FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable USB 3.0 hard drive. It's available in capacities ranging from 320GB to 1.5TB, and we'll be looking at the middle-sized 750GB drive.
The FreeAgent GoFlex is mostly clad in glossy black plastic. While it looks great, it’s definitely a fingerprint and smudge magnet. I didn’t really test it out too much, but the glossy surface is decently resistant to scratches. The drive has only one mini-USB 3.0 interface port. Included in the packaging is a mini to standard USB 3.0 cable. The power requirements for this drive are satisfied by the USB port, so a power brick isn't required.
The bottom of the FreeAgent GoFlex drive is made of lightly textured black plastic. As the drive was designed for operation while resting horizontally with the bottom resting on a surface, this added grip and scratch resistance of this material makes sense.
The main feature of the FreeAgent GoFlex drives is that owners can easily change between data interfaces to access the drive. Each drive in the series is comprised of two parts, the drive module and the interface module. The drive module is comprised of a Seagate 2.5” hard drive in a plastic enclosure with a standard SATA data/power interface.
The interface modules have SATA data/power interface to connect to the drive module on one side, and a different interface on the other side. These interfaces currently include eSATA, Firewire and USB. Checking out popular online retailers, the interfaces will run around $20USD (varying depending on interface and retailer).