The latest entry in Seagate's GoFlex storage line is the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB portable drive, which packs half a terabyte more than the competition offers in a 2.5-inch design.

The £179 in VAT Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Portable drive comes with a USB 3.0 connector, too, which means that you don't have to foot the bill for a cable (as you do with other models in the FreeAgent GoFlex series).

Seagate achieved the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Portable drive's notable total capacity by increasing the capacity of the platters - 375GB per platter, instead of 333GB per platter - and by adding a fourth platter inside the drive. The new FreeAgent GoFlex spins at 5400rpm, which should result in a slower speed than what we saw from the 7200-rpm, 500GB FreeAgent GoFlex Pro we've tested previously over USB 3.0.

We say "should" for a reason: in tests at the PCWorld.com Labs, the 1.5TB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Portable drive yielded mixed results - some strong, one not quite so.

The 1.5TB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Portable drive virtually tied, or bested, the Pro model in four of our six tests. For example, it required 59 seconds to read 2GB of files and folders, compared with 63 seconds for the Pro. It also took 31 seconds to read a large 2GB file, versus the Pro's 34 seconds; and it took 27 seconds to write a large 2GB file, the same as the Pro.

The big discrepancy occurred on our test for writing 2GB of files and folders. Here, the 1.5TB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Portable drive came in dead last among USB 3.0 portable drives, its performance more on a par with that of USB 2.0 drives we've tested.

The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Portable 1.5TB required 142 seconds to complete the task, falling short of the Pro drive, which took 105 seconds. Other USB 3.0 portable hard drives we've evaluated performed even better - the Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive took 92 seconds and the LaCie Rugged SuperSpeed took just 63 seconds. When we asked Seagate about the slow speed result, a representative indicated that the drive's four-platter design could have slowed it down.

This drive's massive capacity is a head-turner; after all, that's an awful lot of storage for a portable drive. Seagate claims that the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Portable can hold up to 60 high-definition movies, 750 video games, thousands of photos, or tens of thousands of hours of digital music. At this point, when it comes to photos and music, the numbers are getting so high with such examples that it's almost like stating the quantity of hamburgers sold at McDonald's, which now simply boasts "billions and billions served".

See also: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Net

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Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Portable: Specs

  • STAA1500200
  • 1.5TB (1500GB)
  • 5400rpm
  • 2.5in, External Drive
  • 120x89x22mm
  • 440g
  • STAA1500200
  • 1.5TB (1500GB)
  • 5400rpm
  • 2.5in, External Drive
  • 120x89x22mm
  • 440g

OUR VERDICT

We're not a fan of Seagate's GoFlex connector arrangement but we relish the idea of a high-capacity portable drive. We have to give Seagate kudos for being first out of the gate with a portable drive of this size. If you buy the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Portable drive, however, keep in mind its sluggish write speed and its connector system.

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