The Seagate 2TB FreeAgent GoFlex Home is an
unusual piece of hardware as it comes in two parts. You connect the docking
station to your network router with the supplied Ethernet cable, and then plug
the hard drive into place. The end result looks similar to the Buffalo
LinkStation Live, although the Seagate has a chunkier base.
Most home users will get no benefit from
this arrangement, although two scenarios do spring to mind. The first is that
you want to swap from one drive to another, and the second is that you want to
be able to grab the drive and take it with you when you leave the building or
go on your travels.
The connection between drive and dock is
regular SATA, as the end of the drive is exposed inside the caddy. So it is
worth noting that the SATA design is only intended to be plugged and unplugged
50 times over the life of the drive.
Seagate has employed three plastic pegs
that guide the drive into place and then support it in position. This appears
to offer the SATA connections some protection from damage.
To be honest this struck us as a bit of a
gimmick. Seagate uses its GoFlex set-up to add removable storage to all manner
of devices such as media streamers, and also allows it to support a new
interface with great speed. In the case of NAS it seems unnecessary as, surely,
you simply need to add an Ethernet connection to a hard drive to finish the
In fairness to Seagate they have also
provided a USB 2.0 port on the dock that allows you to daisy chain a flash
drive or second hard drive with the minimum of fuss.
The 2TB model costs $191.968 (SRP $255.984)
or you can have 3TB for $239.968 (SRP $319.984). This rather suggests that
Seagate is supplying the GoFlex hardware at a very low cost when you consider
the current price of hard drives.
We connected the dock to our router, plugged
in the drive and turned on the power. When the drive had come to life we ran
the software installer, and that was pretty much the last task we had to
Once the Seagate Dashboard management
utility was installed along with Memeo Instant Backup we found that both
applications searched for updates and managed their installation. Once these
pieces of software were updated, the Dashboard appeared to run a couple of
firmware updates on the drive and/or GoFlex docking station and then we were
ready for action.
As part of the installation process you get
whisked away to the Seagate website for product registration, and if you choose
you can download the GoFlex app for iOS or Android.
Despite the fact that the Seagate hardware
uses a web based configuration screen, we struggled to find fault. It seemed a
bit silly that the software demanded an update from Flash Player 10 to 11 (the
other NAS had been fine on the older browser plug-in) but really it wasn't a
There are a couple of very minor annoyances.
The first is that Mac users who wish to use Time Machine will need to install a
utility that allows the software to interact with the FreeAgent GoFlex Home.
The second point is that Seagate limits its
Share software to five user names, presumably as part of a licensing deal. If
you want more users you'll have to pay for Seagate Share Pro which costs US9.99
(used to cost US$19.99).
The Pro software supplies a handful of
extra features which include the ability to push photos from the storage to
your Facebook and Flickr accounts and an RSS feed builder. Those features are
almost exactly our definition of 'Home User’ rather than Pro, and suggest a
degree of confusion about the exact nature of the market for this NAS device.
Required spec: Windows XP or Mac OS X