by Jacqueline Emigh
Seagate has rolled out GoFlex Home, a relatively inexpensive answer to a new wave of home-based hardware products offering centralized storage of multimedia files, with access from anywhere in the house or elsewhere.
Seagate’s entry competes, for example, with Netgear’s ReadyNAS Ultra, a higher capacity, newly Tivo-enabled upgrade to ReadyNAS just introduced last week.
GoFlex Home offers a 1 or 2 TB drive mounted in a dock which connects through to a WiFi router, allowing streaming of videos, music and photos to most DLNA-compliant devices on the home wireless net, including PCs, game consoles, and Seagate’s recently unveiled GoFlex TV HD media players.
Seagate’s new home NAS also comes with Memeo backup software, permitting continuous data back-ups from up to three networked PCs running either Windows, Macintosh, or some combination of the two OS.
Beyond that, the new home multimedia storage system offers compatibility with Apple TimeMachine, giving Mac owners the alternative of using TimeMachine to back up their files to GoFlex Home.
For their part, Windows users can also use a built-in feature called Seagate Dashboard to copy individual files.
Through another feature, Seagate Share, families can upload and share multimedia content over the Web. A premium service option known as the Seagate Share Pro remote access service extends access to the shared content to mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads, and BlackBerry smartphones, said Dancy Clarkson, Seagate’s VP of retails sales and marketing.
For saving on electrical power, GoFlex Home includes a power saving “idle” mode which automatically kicks in after 30 minutes of inactivity, plus a power switch that can be shut off if you’re planning to be away for a while.
Priced at $199.99 for 1 TB of storage and $229.99 for a 2TB edition, GoFlex is much less costly than Netgear’s Ready NAS Ultra, and it is clearly designed with simplified set-up in mind.
Yet unlike Netgear’s new home NAS, GoFlex is only available with a single drive. GoFlex also lacks capabilities built into the Ultra such as XRAID-2, for self-managing volume expansion, and ReadyNAS Vault, an embedded online backup and recovery service.
On the other hand, GoFlex users can add additional drives to the system through the USB port for more storage capacity. The same USB port can also be used for sharing a printer with other devices on the network. You can also swap out the drive included in GoFlex Home with a higher capacity drive by removing the original drive from the base, according to Clarkson.
Meanwhile, it seems you might conceivably use Seagate Share as a cloud-based temporary back-up and recovery system for particularly key individual files, as opposed to its intended purpose of file sharing with family and friends.