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Seagate's FreeAgent Pro

This worthy backup device with a terabyte of space may be a little too bulky to tote, but it'll look nice on your desk. And price? Per gigabyte, it's a steal

For computer users who've taken the plunge into the world of backup storage devices and services meant to safeguard their files, life can be a series of trade-offs. Online services including Mozy and Xdrive promise hardware-free peace of mind, but the backups can be slow, and some people find it unsettling to store precious files and confidential information on someone else's servers. On the device side, the panoply of hard drives that users can plug into their PCs supply speed and a sense of ownership but can run short of space and often come bundled with clunky software that can be frustrating to operate.

Well, disk-drive maker Seagate Technology (STX) has obliterated at least one of those concerns with a bulked-up version of its FreeAgent Pro external drive. Boasting a hefty terabyte of storage capacity—that's 1,000 gigabytes—the FreeAgent Pro is one drive that most users are unlikely to fill. The device, compatible with Windows and Mac computers, costs around $350 in stores—hard on the wallet at first, yet cheaper on a per-gigabyte basis than the other external drives I've tested. And its software, while imperfect, is still a far sight better than what competitors offer.