Feeds
Seagate Wireless Plus

Review: Seagate Wireless Plus Wi-Fi hard drive

A terabyte of portable storage for your Android or iOS device

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

File-association football

Android isn’t a great deal better. Tap the AVI and it’ll automatically start playing in a suitable media app if you have one. On my Nexus 7 I have VPlayer, and Seagate Media hands it any AVI I tapped on - it plays H.264 files natively. I also have Perfect Viewer installed, but Seagate Media would only tell me it didn’t know how to handle CBZs. At least I could manually download the files and open them from within Perfect Viewer. An Android bug, a Seagate Media error or an issue with Perfect Viewer? Whatever, it makes for a less than satisfactory experience.

Incidentally, there’s a version of Seagate Media for the Amazon Kindle Fire too, which I couldn’t test, and Seagate is promising to release a version for 2012 and newer Samsung Smart TVs.

Seagate Media app

iTunes metadata is supported

Fortunately, the Wireless Plus server software supports SMB/CIFS so it’s easy to tap its storage through any app or operating system that supports these protocols, which is not only handy for uploading files as well as downloading them, but gives the Wireless Plus some Linux friendliness. “Linux is not supported by Seagate... When connecting via USB, the drive may go to sleep and cause errors if Linux does not wait for it to wake up. There is no tool available to disable the sleep feature under Linux,” the manual says.

But, then, the Wireless Plus’ role is to be a media server not a file server. It has a DLNA (uncertified) server on board, and supports Apple’s AirPlay to stream movies and music through an Apple TV.

The unit itself is a robustly constructed 127 x 89 x 20mm, 256g piece of work that’s more solid-feeling - and better looking - than the GoFlex Satellite. It’s a little more compact but it uses the same Sata-based GoFlex clip-on adaptor system. Seagate bundles a USB 3.0 module, but you can buy Firewire and Thunderbolt ones too. Got your media stored on another drive, like network storage? Just set up and run an rsync script to keep the Wireless Plus up to date.

Seagate Media

Seagate Media has a straightforward folders 'n' files view too

Seagate supplies a USB 3.0 cable - and a separate USB lead with a power pin on the end to charge the Wireless Plus’ battery. There’s a compact AC adaptor in the box too.

Battery life seems decent enough. Seagate claims it'll run for ten hours, but that's clearly with the caveat that this depends on how many client devices are wirelessly connected to the Plus and how far away from it they are. I saw nothing to suggest Seagate is significantly overestimating the battery life, which is reasonable for a gadget of this kind.

The on-board wireless adaptor only runs to 54Mb/s 802.11g, but it will tap into a local hotspot to provide connected iOS and Android devices with internet access as well as the contents of the drive. It’s not as fast as talking to a router directly with 802.11n, but it’s certainly usable. Seagate says eight devices can connect to the Wireless Plus for media access and eight more for internet access - it’s one or the other at the client not both. Devices without the Seagate Media app can access the Wireless Plus’ files through a browser.

Seagate Wireless Plus

Seagate bundles a wee AC adaptor to top up the Wireless Plus' battery

Seagate says don't expect the Wireless Plus to host more than three simultaneous HD streams. I had no bother streaming two, either separate 1080p and a 720p videos, or the same 1080p footage sent to my two devices. While the Wireless Plus has no bother streaming, be prepared for a short wait while it gets the second stream cued up, or if you start jumping chapters in a streamed film.

Competition? There’s Kingston Technology’s WiDrive, of course, which is more compact because it’s Flash based. That makes it more expensive and the capacity peaks at 128GB - which will set you back around £120, £50 less than the Seagate product - until such time as Kingston decides to re-release it with an SD slot too. Even if it does, you’ll pay a pretty penny to get anywhere near the Wireless Plus’ 1TB.

The Reg Verdict

I found Seagate’s GoFlex Satellite and accompanying app to be a little to inflexible for my needs so when I upgraded my tablet, I bought one with a higher storage capacity. Had a I waited for the Wireless Plus, I could have stuck with a cheaper, lower-capacity slate and put the difference toward one of these boys. With its improved app and more broadly accessible storage - not to mention 1TB of space, twice as much as the GoFlex Satellite - this is a more sophisticated product than its predecessor. It’s a great way to keep your mobile devices - all your tablets and phones; we have six in our house and at least three are always taken on holiday - fed with content when you’re out and about. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Seagate Wireless Plus

Review: Seagate Wireless Plus Wi-Fi hard drive

A 1TB external USB 3.0 hard drive with integrated Wi-Fi, battery and a server for transferring media files and documents to iDevices and Android gadgets. A portable, basic NAS, in other words.
Price: £170 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.