Thursday, February 7, 2013

Product Review: The Seagate FreeAgent Portable Hard Drive

As a writer and blogger of information, sometimes I find myself thrust into the role of informer, based on my personal experiences. Unfortunately, one of my experiences as a writer was rather costly recently of my attempt to exercise good sense, but having to rely on questionable resources. To be a bit more specific, I am speaking of my attempt to back up my files, including valued my manuscripts on external hard drive.
Because I had among other things, valuable writings and manuscripts for many projects I was working on at the time, I thought backing up my files would be a good idea. So, about a year and a half ago, I purchased what I thought was competently-functional external hard drive for my computer. I chose and purchased the Seagate FreeAgent Go 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive. Before doing so, I’d thought that I had performed my due diligence in comparing what I thought would be among the most popular market brands.
                                                   Seagate's FreeAgent Go 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive
However, soon after I bought the FreeAgent—less than a year—the hard drive, along with all of my manuscripts and files crashed for no discernible reason. I never dropped or jostled the hard drive. I never stored it in extreme temperatures of otherwise extreme environments. It stayed in the same computer bas that I had kept my primary laptop, various flash drives, and other computer paraphernalia.
I frantically searched online to see if there was some kind of product recall which would explain this problem; there was none. What I did find however, was that other people who had purchased this device had similar problems. Not everyone, but enough to give me pause in regretting my purchasing decision.
Yes, this storage unit is light, compact, and ready to use. But many of the other online complaints I’d read concerning this device were eerily similar to mine; it either crashed or its performance degraded sharply in under a year in many cases. Although I had no problems initially with using the FreeAgent, it simply is not a reliable enough product for primary or even backup storage due to its short functional lifespan.
And customer service was not very helpful. Upon calling the company to complain and explore my options for saving my files, I quickly found that my options were limited to virtually declaring bankruptcy in paying for Seagate to try to retrieve my data, of buying a new hard drive (you’re correct if you guessed “one of similar or equal value”). And navigating the company’s maze-like website in order to secure assistance is as equally problematic at best.
I have two other hard drives—neither from this company—that work perfectly well. One, having a comparatively limited capacity of only 300 gigabytes has been going for the last 4 years. The other I purchased last year (750 gigs) and has continued to work, despite a bump or two.
While many of the customer reviews I'd read about this product revealed that other purchasers have had no particular issues with this product, I will say that most of those positive reviews tended to be recent postings, many within the past 7-8 months. I can only guess that as those users’ individual experiences with the FreeAgent Go becomes more jaded, their opinions will change more in line with my own. Based on my personal experiences (buttressed by the reviews and reports I have read), I can only caution you against purchasing the Seagate FreeAgent Go external hard drive.

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