A lot of us are leading mobile-oriented lifestyles, but it may not always be possible for you to lug around your entire digital library with you while on the move. The capacities offered by smartphones and tablets reaches 128GB tops, with majority of the smartphones coming in 16GB and 32GB capacities. You really have to think hard before adding that heavy movie file on your cellphone. But with the Seagate Wireless Plus drive, you get an option to carry around your digital library inside a 2TB hard drive and you can access content on this drive wirelessly. Seagate is currently in its third generation of wireless hard drives, and we are seeing some changes, although not really drastic ones.
Build and Design
On first glance, the Seagate Wireless Plus drive looks quite similar to the last generation Wireless Plus drive. This is thanks to the similar grey brush metal finish and similar placement of the power/Wi-fi and Seagate logo. But there are some changes that have come about with the newer model. For starters, Seagate has done away with the GoFlex type adapter it had with the previous generation drive. Despite the plastic build, we found the drive to be quite sturdy. Barring the power button on one edge and the USB 3.0 interface, other edges are clean.
Seagate Wireless Plus comes in 2TB capacity giving an unformatted space of 1.83GB. It comes with a USB 3.0 interface. It houses a 2TB Samsung Spinpoint M9T having a rotational speed of 5400RPM and cache of 32MB. Apart from the in-built Wi-fi adapter, the Wireless Plus comes with an in-built battery which enables wireless streaming without connecting the drive to a power source. While in the previous generation Wireless Plus drive, you had a dedicated DC-in for charging the drive, the current generation only charges using the USB 3.0 cable. Seagate bundles in a separate 10W adapter if you want to charge it externally, but it still has to be done via the USB 3.0 port.
Seagate Wireless Plus is accompanied by the Seagate media app which is available on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Windows Store as well as Amazon Appstore. You will need to download it on your mobile devices. The Wireless Plus forms its own hotspot and will be visible in the wireless settings of your mobile device. You need to connect to the Wireless Plus to be able to stream content.
The Seagate media app interface is quite user-friendly and you can see your content categorised according to its type (videos, photos, music, documents) or you can access the entire drive as well. You can also stay connected to the internet by selecting your local router while you are still connected to the Wireless Plus drive. As it is connecting to the net, it will momentarily disconnect from the drive, till a connection is established with your local network.
Test Setup (for transfer speed test)
Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K
Motherboard: ASRock Z87M Extreme4
RAM: 2 x 4GB GSkill RipjawsX
OS Drive: Intel SSD, 80GB
Source Drive: Corsair Neutron GTX, 240GB SSD
PSU: Cooler Master 800W Silent Pro Gold
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Unlike regular external hard drives, the Seagate Wireless Plus’ main USP is streaming data. However we have tested its USB 3.0 transfer speeds as well.
For the real world performance test, we transferred a 10GB single RAR file and a 10GB assorted file to get real life sequential and random file transfer speeds. To simulate a file write we transferred files from the Corsair source drive to the target Seagate Backup Plus drive and vice versa to simulate a file read. After each read and write operation we restarted the system to clear out any cache. Finally we performed the intra-drive test. The results are as follows.
We tested the device using a Gionee Elife E7, a Nexus 4, an iPhone 5c and a XOLO Q700. The streaming works fine on all devices. It does take some time to load up the content on the cellphones. Also if you are swiping through pictures, it isn’t as quick as say swiping it on your mobile devices.
We were able to stream a 1080p stream and a 720p stream on two devices simultaneously without any stutter. We could also play three separate streams on three separate devices. Thanks to the 802.11n standard, streaming to multiple devices wasn't much of an issue. With video content, if you do not have a relevant app to support the video format, then the video won’t play in the Seagate media app. Also if you are streaming video, you many not be able to seek smoothly. In that case select the 'stream and download option' on your mobile device. This will also save battery life as the file downloads on your local device and you can later delete it from your device. You can back up the content from cloud services such as Google Drive or Dropbox to the Wireless Plus drive. You can also backup content from your mobile devices as well.
Since you have to connect the wireless hotspot created by the Seagate Wireless Plus drive, you lose contact with the internet router. However, from within the Seagate media app, you have the provision to connect to your local router. This allows you to stay connected to the net while still being able to stream content via the Wireless Plus drive.
The box mentions the battery life as 10 hours, but you need to take that with a pinch of salt. It all depends on the usage pattern and number of users connected to the device simultaneously. In our testing we could easily get around 6 hours while watching different types of videos, but if you are accessing only pictures or documents, you can get more time.
Verdict and Price in India
Seagate Wireless Plus is an ideal companion to your mobile devices if you are the kind who likes to carry their digital media library with them. Another good use-case scenario is in the house where you have more than two users or devices and you want to access common data. Thanks to about eight simultaneous connections offered, that shouldn’t be a problem. USB 3.0 transfer speeds are impressive as well.
The 1TB Wireless Plus variant comes for around Rs 14,500. We would have really liked to see a battery life indicator which gives you more definite idea rather than just differently coloured lights. The current implementation - same as the one seen in the last generation - isn’t any different and that should change. The price at Rs 18,500 is definitely higher than regular 2TB external hard drives which start from Rs 10,000, but with the Wireless Plus you are able to stream content - that comes at a premium.
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