Wednesday, 20 March 2013 09:17

Seagate Mobile Plus 1TB storage

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Seagate has released three new storage devices for mobile workers, home networks and small businesses (the latter two will be subject to separate reviews once tested).

Wireless Plus Mobile Storage is ‘1TB, NTFS, external hard disk, mains (standard 5V USB) and lithium ion battery powered (up to 10 hours streaming), with an 802.11n Wi-Fi connection that can serve content up to eight Wi-Fi computing devices up to 45 metres away’.

That is the theory but in real world tests we found:

  • The effective Wi-Fi distance was up to 10 metres
  • While it can support eight simultaneous log ins streaming content is really limited to two to three devices.
  • Wi-Fi data transfer rates (single band theoretical maximum 150 Mbps) are closer to 30 Mbps and deteriorate significantly as you exceed 10 metres distance from the device - OK for a single user but too easily stretched for serious multiple users.
  • Wi-Fi and USB connections cannot be used at the same time so you cant leave it attached to a PC or router.
  • Battery life was about half that claimed – continuous streaming of a HD movie exhausted it in about 4 hours.

The good points include:

  • The Wi-Fi connection has a ‘pass through’ feature to coexist with an existing Wi-Fi Internet connected network – you can access both the storage device and your Wi-Fi Internet at the same time albeit sharing the bandwidth reduces data transfer rates.
  • It also has a USB 3.0 (backwards compatible) connector to directly connect to any PC, Mac or USB equipped tablet or smart phone so you can use it as a portable external hard disk.
  • 1TB capacity means around 250 x 4GB HD movies or 125,000 MP3 music tracks.
  • It has sufficient grunt to stream up to three different movies to three computing devices (think streaming different kids entertainment to tablets in the car) or do a quick upload of photos from your smart phone or Wi-Fi equipped camera.

Added features

The device supports Airplay and DLNA for direct playback on Apple TV, Xbox, media players and smart TV’s (currently supported by Samsung). There are also apps for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire. I was unable to test these features but as the device runs an embedded Linux OS and is seen by Windows 8 as Digital media server I have no reason to doubt that this all works. A review seems to indicate it is not as easy to set up as it sounds but it does work.

Summary

RRP is $249 which is expensive if you just intend to use it as a USB external drive but good value if you can make use of the Wi-Fi sharing capability or want an external storage option for your tablet, mobile phone or Wi-Fi camera (internal storage of 16, 32, or even 64GB is woefully inadequate for most serious users).

Astute shoppers should always check the internet - OfficeWorks have a special at $229 and on-line sites can be even less (but always allow for freight costs).

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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