Portable storage drives that stream content wirelessly to tablets and smartphones using Wi-Fi are now a dime a dozen.
But when Seagate introduced the GoFlex Satellite in 2011, its wireless feature was something new. The company refined it with last year's Seagate Wireless Plus.
The latest 2014 edition comes with 500GB, 1TB or 2TB of storage capacity compared with its predecessor's default 1GB capacity.
The hardware and design are mostly unchanged. The Wireless Plus can stream HD videos to a maximum of three devices simultaneously. This goes up to eight devices for other types of media such as photos and music. You can physically connect it via USB for faster transfer speeds.
The Wireless Plus generates its own Wi-Fi network. Connect your mobile devices to this network to access the content on the portable drive. To browse the Internet at the same time, you need to configure the Wireless Plus with the log-in details of an existing Wi-Fi network.
This can be done via the improved Seagate Media app, which is this year's major upgrade. Not only does it look more polished than the older version, the app also now integrates Dropbox and Google Drive and syncs your files with these online services.
The app has added support for Kindle and Windows RT platforms, but not for Windows Phone. But you can use a Web browser instead of the app. Simply connect to its Wi-Fi network using your computer or mobile device, open the browser and enter www.seagatewireless.com in the address bar. The website is optimised for mobile devices and has practically all the features that are found in the app.
The drive comes pre-formatted with the NTFS file format native to Windows. Seagate has included drivers to ensure that it works with Mac computers.
With a read and write speed of around 115MB/s, the Wireless Plus is reasonably quick for a hard drive. While it is still not as fast as a solid-state solution such as SanDisk's Connect Wireless Media Drive, it offers much more storage space.
It took around five minutes to wirelessly transfer a 1GB file from the drive to my smartphone. I would recommend transferring large files via USB to save time. Streaming videos to my phone was smooth and lag-free.
Seagate touts a healthy battery life of up to 10 hours for the Wireless Plus. Replenishing the battery via USB can take up to nine hours. It is therefore recommended to use the included wall charger that cuts this down to about three hours.
It is convenient to share content on mobile devices with this portable drive. But the latest version is a minor upgrade.
This article was first published on June 25, 2014.
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