If you asked them, most mobile phone and tablet users are probably dissatisfied with their mobile storage capacity. As consumption of video on smartphones and tablets continues to grow, we’re constantly looking for the best ways to get content to and from our mobile devices without eating up all of the data in our monthly service plans. Seagate may have the answer.
10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SEAGATE WIRELESS PLUS
- The Seagate Wireless Plus is a mobile storage device designed to wirelessly stream content to up to eight smartphones or tablets with enough space for roughly 1,000 high-definition movies if you opt for the top-of-the-line 2TB version (£167) – 500GB and 1TB models are also available. And in case you’re wondering 2TB was, until recently, the largest capacity on the market for a pocket-sized 2.5-inch form factor. The “industry’s largest” title now goes to Toshiba and its 3TB “MQ03ABB”.
- There are two features which really set the Wireless Plus apart from other portable hard drives. First, there’s the built-in battery that’s good for around 10 hours of playback – matching that of most tablets and smartphones. And secondly, built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi lets you access content stored on the drive wirelessly, which is ideal for playing back video and music on compatible devices. There’s a regular USB 3.0 port too, if you intend to use the drive predominantly on your computer or TV.
- The drive itself is fairly non-descript. Housed in a grey plastic chassis, the 272g unit comes with a USB 3.0 cable, 10-Watt wall charger with three interchangeable plugs, and a very brief quick start guide. It’s a touch lighter and thinner than an external 3.5-inch HDD, though a lot bulkier than most 2.5-inch HDDs. It’s still very light and pocketable considering it has battery and Wi-Fi electronics. It also has four rubber feet to stop it slipping on a work surface, two LED status indicators (power and Wi-Fi), and a recessed power button.
- Ironically, the drive inside the Wireless Plus isn’t an actual Seagate hard drive – the company has yet to manufacture a 2TB 2.5-inch model. Instead, there’s a Samsung SpinPoint M9T HDD – a result of Seagate’s purchase of Samsung’s storage division. For tech-heads, the SpinPoint M9T is a decent performer thanks to its 5,400RPM spin speed – split over three 667GB platters – and 32MB cache.
- The Wireless Plus’s storage can be accessed by up to eight devices simultaneously through the Seagate Media app for iOS, Android and Windows 8/RT devices (separate download), but it will also work with just about any device that can connect to a Wi-Fi network. Additionally, you can use the Wireless Plus to enjoy video, photos, music and even documents on the big screen via Apple Airplay, DLNA or an app designed specifically for Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players. Alternatively, you can access the content of the hard drive via the device’s web browser.
- It’s not all one-way traffic. The Wireless Plus includes a new option to save content and files to the drive wirelessly through the Seagate Media app, Dropbox or Google Drive. So, for example, you can capture videos on your smartphone or tablet and then wirelessly upload them, in full resolution, to the Wireless Plus thanks to its built-in storage.
- Because the Wireless Plus creates its own Wi-Fi network, there is no need to stream or download your content from the Internet or to spend money on a mobile data plan. Everything is with you, where you want it, when you need it with a secure and wireless connection. And setting up the device is a snap – as long as you remember to disconnect the Wireless Plus from your computer to active the built-in Wi-Fi – annoyingly hooking up a USB port switches off the wireless.
- Regular external 2TB HDDs can be had for less than £70, so adding wireless and autonomous power features not only make the Wireless Plus bulkier than traditional drives, but they make it way more expensive. You’ll really need to make sure you need these features in order to justify the cost.
- Having said that, a battery-powered portable HDD is a joy to use. Offering up to 10 hours of use (depending on what you do with it) is totally liberating, especially when travelling or entertaining tablet-wielding children. The drive can also be charged via your computer while transferring files to it, but it will take much longer to fully charge it compared to hooking it into a wall outlet – around 9 hours compared to 3 hours.
- Seagate created this new category of wireless storage devices way back in 2011 to address consumers’ desire to enjoy more content than tablets and smartphones can hold with their limited storage. The Wireless Plus builds on the success of the company’s first-generation product and takes it even further, resulting in an excellent storage solution for an increasingly mobile world. There’s a definite price and size premium for the added features, but they’re features worth paying for.