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Seagate FreeAgent Dockstar Reviewed

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Introduction

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At a Glance
Product Seagate FreeAgent DockStar (STDSA10G-RK)
Summary Gigabit network adapter for sharing FreeAgent Go portable drives or up to three USB drives on your LAN and the Internet.
Pros • Simple web-based file sharing via Pogoplug service
• No port forwarding or DDNS setup required
• Links with Twitter, FaceBook and MySpace
• Low power consumption
• Transparent remote file access using drive connection client.
Cons • Limited Seagate documentation
• Limited management w/o PogoPlug service

Seagate’s new $99.99 FreeAgent DockStar network adapter lets you share the contents of a FreeAgent Go external hard drive or up to three connected USB  drives with any networked devices that support SMB/CIFS file sharing. So File sharing between Windows, Mac OS, Linux and pretty much any other computer or device that sits on a network couldn’t be simpler.  And as an added bonus, your files are available anywhere on the web via Pogoplug, courtesy of Seagate’s partnership with Cloud Engines,

It’s important to note that the DockStar is not a full-featured NAS, nor is it intended to be.  There isn’t a web-browser-based management interface built into the device. The management features that exist are managed through Pogoplug after you activate your account.  The DockStar comes with a one year subscription to Pogoplug and the Pogoplug subscription costs $30 after that.

You can, however, connect the device to your local network and use it as shared storage without activating a Pogoplug account.  The DockStar will show up when you browse your network either in Windows as shown in Figure 1 or in the Mac OS finder.  Of course, If you don’t activate a Pogoplug account, you’ll give up all of the remote access and file sharing features which I’ll cover in detail below.

FreeAgent DockStar access via network browsing

Figure 1: FreeAgent DockStar access via network browsing

The DockStar is designed to be an accessory for Seagate’s line of FreeAgent Go portable external disk drives.  Figure 2 shows the DockStar with an optional FreeAgent Go drive. The drive slides into the dock and connects via a mini USB connector. FreeAgent Go drives are available in a variety of capacities ranging from 160 GB to 1 TB.  For the fashion conscious consumer, the drives are also available in a choice of 10 colors.  My test drive was a 320 GB green drive. 

Eco-conscious consumers will appreciate that the tested configuration consumed only 8 W with the drive running, and 6 W with the disk spun down.  You can’t, however, control the spin down time.

Optional FreeAgent Go installed in DockStar

Figure 2: Optional FreeAgent Go installed in DockStar

Though a FreeAgent Go drive is the ideal companion for the DockStar, you don’t have to use one.  Figure 3 shows that you can connect up to three drives via USB 2.0 ports.  Two ports are located on the rear of the device adjacent to the Gigabit Ethernet port.  The other USB port is located on the right side of the device.

Rear view

Figure 3: Rear view



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