Seagate FreeAgent DockStar NAS Device Review

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion



For anyone who has toyed with the idea of setting up and using a NAS device for the very first time, the DockStar could be a great way to get your feet wet. The device is inexpensive (at the time this article posted, Amazon was selling it for $78.99) and very easy to setup and use. However, if you don't already have a USB drive (or drives) to attach to the DockStar, then purchasing a drive (or drives) to attach to the device would likely negate any savings you get from choosing the DockStar over more-expensive and more full-featured, home-based NAS devices.

The DockStar should also appeal to those users who want to share files with their family and friends, such as photos and home videos. While there are plenty of commercial sites that offer file-sharing features, you'd be hard-pressed to find a site that lets you share any file type you can think of, with virtually unlimited storage capacity, without paying a hefty fee. The downside with this home-based arrangement is that if you have lots of users viewing and downloading content from your shared drives, you could wind up in the bad graces of your ISP.





Performance-wise, more full-featured NAS devices don't really have much to worry about in terms of competition. As far as similar USB drive-based NAS devices go, however, the DockStar leads the pack--but only if you using the Windows File Sharing feature and mount its drives as network volumes. But even using the device with just the Pogoplug app and mounting the drives as local volumes, the DockStar's performance is at least on par with its Pogoplug brethren.

Which brings us to comparing the DockStar to the Pogoplug. Both devices have very similar functionality and features. While the DockStar has three more onboard USB ports than the Pogoplug does, the Pogoplug can also work with multiple drives by using a powered USB hub. One thing the DockStar has that the Pogoplug doesn't is the ability to easily mount connected drives as network volumes via SMB (at least not without a bit of hacking the Pogoplug). What the Pogoplug has that the DockStar doesn't, is a lack of a yearly subscription fee. Pogoplug owners can access their devices remotely and share files for as long as they own their devices, at no additional cost. DockStar owners, however, will have to pony up $29.99 per year, after the first year of ownership, if they want to keep using these features--as these are, perhaps, the most compelling features of the DockStar (other than its ease-of-use), potential DockStar owners need to factor this into their purchasing decision.





  

  

  • Easy to setup and use
  • Easy to access remotely and share content
  • Social networking features
  • Accessible via free iPhone app
  • Doesn't support networking USB printers
  • Doesn't include a built-in iTunes server
  • Shared folder write-access gives too much control to local users
  • Annual subscription required for remote access and file sharing after the first year


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