February 6, 2012
- Slim, robust design
- Handy set of applications
- USB 3.0, eSATA, FireWire 800 connectivity
- Slightly overpriced
- Below average data speeds
The Seagate GoFlex Turbo is an external hard drive that makes use of the fastest USB 3.0 connectivity, which is still rare these days. It has a rugged design and a solid selection of utilities to make using this drive as easy as possible. The only downside is the price, which is a little high for only 500GB of storage.
The Seagate GoFlex Turbo comes in two different capacities: 500GB and 750GB. We tried out the 500GB model, which costs around $130 and is slightly overpriced by about $40-50. Both models have the same design that features a glossy black plastic top and silver plastic sides. We found the design of the Turbo to be quite rugged and should withstand the normal bumps that it might encounter. It measures 4.4 x 3.3 x 0.5-inches (wdh) and weighs about 6.3-ounces, so it's quite slim and portable compared to other similar external drives.
You can connect the drive to your computer a few different ways. First is through USB 3.0, which is the newest data transfer port that you'll find on computers. If you don't have that, you can also use eSATA or FireWire 800, which also provide good transfer speeds. The drive uses a proprietary port, so all three of these interfaces come out of one port on the drive...just don't lose the cable.
Right out of the box the drive comes setup and formatted for use. However, to get the most out of your drive it also comes loaded with some utilities. The Seagate Dashboard is your gateway to these applications and will launch when your plug in the drive into your computer. Here you can choose to install any one of the many applications.
Seagate preloads two back utilities onto the drive: Instant Backup and Premium Backup. The Instant Backup program gives you the most basic options to backup your computer to the drive on a set schedule. The Premium Backup program is more detailed and lets you create backups for specific folders and files. Most users will probably want to use the latter of the two programs as it gives you more control and freedom. Backups can also be encrypted too to ensure your data is fully protected and secured.
There are also three other programs with distinct functions. The Sync program lets you synchronize files that are spread across multiple locations (computers, external drives, etc.) automatically. The Send program lets you easily transfer large amounts of data from one location to another with minimal hassle. The Share application allows you to upload/download photos and videos to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
We found all of these programs easy to use and they all worked without any issues. We should mention that to use backup software for the Mac or Apple's built-in Time Machine, you must reformat the drive to HFS+.
The GoFlex Turbo comes with two free years of Seagate's SafetyNet data recovery services. If you ever lose your data due to a virus or accidental reformat, you can call on their technicians to try to remotely recover your data. If that doesn't work, you may also send in your drive to their labs for more examination. Note that this service, while free, only covers one data recovery attempt (other attempts require an additional fee).
In terms of performance, we found the read speed via USB 3.0 to be around the category average or at times, just below. The write speed was a tad slower than average as well, so overall the drive falls just short of other similar USB 3.0 external drives.