Mention Asus to PC enthusiasts, and motherboards or graphics cards probably come to mind. For the average consumer, it is probably laptops, tablets and smartphones.
The Taiwanese company also sells gaming peripherals, monitors and routers. And now it also offers a portable hard drive.
Called the Wireless Duo, this external hard drive has a 1TB capacity. Like those offered by Seagate and WD, this Asus drive creates its own Wi-Fi network. You can connect to this network using a mobile device via an app (Android/iOS) or browser to access files on the hard drive wirelessly.
Up to five devices can stream content - photos, videos and music - from the Wireless Duo, though this number of devices drops to three if all are streaming high-definition videos.
Set a password to allow access to the drive's Wi-Fi network by authorised mobile users.
You can hook up the Asus hard drive to a PC using a USB cable. Doing so turns the Wireless Duo into a standard portable hard drive with no network connectivity.
The hard drive is configured in NTFS format. OS X users will have to install third-party NTFS drivers before using the Wireless Duo.
Read and write speeds are typical of a hard drive.
Expect to get slightly over 100MBps when transferring files.
I did not encounter any lag while streaming videos, but expect to wait a few seconds when skipping ahead.
If your mobile device does not support the format of the streaming video, it will not play.
Like the WD My Passport Wireless ($299), the Asus Wireless Duo has an SD card slot.
But the Asus also has an IP43 rating, which basically means that splashing the drive with water will not damage it.
It is more affordable than the WD at $219.
This portable drive is chunky, which could be a good thing if it is able to protect the hard drive from knocks and drops.
Its ports (USB 3.0 and SD card slot) are hidden behind flaps.
But the companion app makes the Wireless Duo feel very much like a freshman effort.
It is unattractive with low-resolution textures and icons.
It is also clunky to use - deleting a file takes four taps. This is not helped by the app's small onscreen buttons.
Battery life is rated at up to six hours, much less than the 10 hours touted for the Seagate Wireless Plus.
A decent and affordable external hard drive with a wireless feature. The app, however, needs to be improved.
Interface: USB 3.0, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n)
Value for money: 3/5
This article was first published on Mar 4, 2015.
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