Product Review: The Power of the FreeAgent DockStar

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FreeAgent-DockStarAmazingly, not two weeks after we talked about the importance of backing up digital files, my laptop died. Thankfully, I had begun using my FreeAgent Go External Hard Drive during that series, and my files were all backed up for the first time in a long time!

Because I not only blog but also work at home, I had no choice but to buy a new laptop. Although we had money in savings, I really did not want to pull a lot of money out for a new computer. Since the FreeAgent Go is so easy to use, I decided to buy a less expensive laptop and keep it optimized and free of clutter by keeping my files on the hard drive. (In fact, if you’re looking for an inexpensive laptop and don’t do a lot of heavy computing beyond Microsoft Office and the internet, I highly recommend this $350 Acer Aspire. It’s a single-core processor, but I couldn’t be happier with what I got for the price, and it even includes a Windows 7 upgrade! Just be sure to remove all of the preinstalled “junk programs” as soon as you get it.)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. While my plan to keep large files off the laptop and store them on the external hard drive worked, it was not a perfect system. Having to connect the hard drive was a bit cumbersome, and when I was given the chance to review the FreeAgent DockStar, I didn’t even hesitate. It turns out to be the perfect solution for my situation, as well as for anyone who wants to share files between multiple computers or with friends and family around the world.

To put it simply, the DockStar plugs into my wireless router. Once the FreeAgent Go is set in the DockStar cradle and set up using the Pogoplug software, it can be accessed wirelessly at home or from anywhere over the internet. The data is secure and only accessible with a password, but it allows other people to upload files to the hard drive (such as all of the pictures that the grandparents take of my girls that I might not see otherwise!) and access them in real time. The DockStar also has 3 USB ports for accessing additional USB drives (such as iPods).

One concern I had initially was that the FreeAgent Go appears to stay on while plugged into the DockStar, and ejecting it involves logging in to Pogoplug and then physically removing it from the cradle. I was concerned not only about the power consumption but also how it would affect the life of the hard drive.

However, my contact as Seagate was able to put these concerns to rest. The FreeAgent Go goes into standby mode when not in use (and the light can be turned off in the Seagate Manager settings so that it’s not staying on either), and it’s total power consumption per year is between $1.50 and $2.00. She also sent me this great blog post, outlining some of Seagate’s green efforts.

If you’re looking for any easy way to share files between computers or with friends and family, definitely consider the FreeAgent DockStar. I continue to be amazed at new technology, and this is no exception!