External storage devices based on 3.5-inch hard disks have been losing their ground as mobile storage media due to the declining price and growing capacity of USB flash drives and 2.5-inch external HDDs. However, 3.5-inch external HDDs are still widely used at home together with a notebook as well as for data backup. Models with USB interface can also be employed as a networked disk if your router is equipped with a USB port.
To cut it short, mobile 3.5-inch HDDs are still in use and today we are going to discuss three models manufactured by Seagate, each with a capacity of 1 terabyte. They come from Seagate’s FreeAgent Desk, XTreme and Desktop series.
You can make out the relative positioning of the models by the prices mentioned at Seagate’s website. The FreeAgent Desktop is the cheapest one. The FreeAgent Pro and Desk are somewhat more expensive while the FreeAgent XTreme is the most expensive and advanced model of all.
Seagate FreeAgent Desktop
First of all, I want to acknowledge the quality of the packaging: the device is wrapped into an antistatic pack and fixed in a cardboard casing within the rather big external box. Accessories like power cord and USB cable are in a plastic pack.
The HDD has an appealing exterior design that makes it different from typical shiny boxes of other products of this class. Its coffee-colored plastic case with a vertically oriented hard disk is erected on a small neat stand at the back of which you can find all of the device’s connectors. The whole thing resembles an upright-standing book. There is an orange LED indicator at the front of the “book”.
This design has its highs and lows. It helps save your desk space, but the device is not very steady – you can topple the drive accidentally with your hand. The stand cannot be detached because it accommodates the connectors and controller chip, and it is neither handy nor aesthetical to lay the drive on its side. Moreover, HDDs are recommended to be used in strictly horizontal or vertical position for the sake of reliability.
As opposed to the FreeAgent Pro series, which has the same exterior design, this model offers fewer interfaces and lacks any bundled software.