Seagate GoFlex Satellite Review

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$199

Pros: Large capacity; Intuitive interface; Easy setup; Android- and iOS-compatible

Cons: Can't surf the web while using drive; Unable to copy files from iPad/iPhone to drive

Verdict: The Seagate GoFlex portable hard drive connects to your Android or iOS device wirelessly and provides 500GB of storage.

Even with the largest-capacity tablet, you can quickly run out of storage, especially if you like downloading movies and TV shows. The $199 Seagate GoFlex Satellite gives your tablet or smartphone as much space as a laptop in a much more portable package.

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Design

Measuring 5 x 3.5 x 0.8 inches, the Seagate GoFlex Satellite looks like a slightly larger version of any of Seagate's portable hard drives, and it's much larger than the Kingston Wi-Drive's smartphone-like dimensions (4.8 x 2.4 x 0.3 inches). The GoFlex Satellite's top is a glossy black plastic, the bottom has a matte finish, and the sides are wrapped in a silver plastic. Along one of the long edges is a small power port, and on the opposite side is a power button. The top has two small lights, one for power, and one to let you know it's wireless connection is active.

The back of the GoFlex Satellite has Seagate's relatively new docking connector, so while it ships with a USB 3.0 adapter, you can also use any of Seagate's other connectors--USB 2.0, eSATA, and FireWire--which cost $24 each.

Setup

Loading content on the GoFlex Satellite was simply a matter of plugging it into our notebook and dragging files over. While we were waiting for files to copy, we visited the iTunes store and downloaded the free GoFlex app.

Afterwards, we turned on the GoFlex Satellite, then went to the Settings menu on the iPad and connected wirelessly to the drive. The one downside to using the GoFlex Satellite is that, unlike the Kingston Wi-Drive, you can't connect to the Internet while you're connected to the Satellite. It's a bummer considering the connected nature of the iPad.

Performance

We were impressed with the GoFlex app. Just as intuitive as the Kingston Wi-Drive's app, Seagate's was bright and colorful, which made it slightly more friendly to look at. Along the left side are categories such as Music, Photos, and Videos; selecting one populates the right two thirds of the screen with that content type. From there, we simply selected a movie and it played flawlessly. We were able to track back and forth in videos and music without any problems.

As a USB 3.0 drive, the GoFlex Satellite is a decent performer. We copied a 5GB folder of multimedia files to the drive in 2 minutes and 26 seconds, a rate of 34.9 MBps. That's about 20 seconds and 10 MBps slower than our average for portable hard drives. However, we were able to copy those files off in 1:40, a rate of 50.9 MBps, which is on a par with the average.

Quicklook let us read documents and gave us the option to download them to the iPad or print them using AirPrint. We wish, though, that we could upload files from the iPad to the GoFlex Satellite.

Like with the Kingston Wi-Drive, up to three users can connect to the GoFlex Satellite simultaneously. We could also connect wirelessly to the GoFlex Satellite from our laptop. After selecting the drive from the network control panel, as we would a wireless router, we were able to view our files using a web browser and navigating to goflexsatellite.com. We liked that the interface was the same as that on the iPad app. This interface also lets you upload files wirelessly, but only one at a time.

Battery Life

The GoFlex Satellite is rated for up to 5 hours of battery life and 25 hours of standby time.

Verdict

There's no denying that the Seagate GoFlex Satellite is much more economical on a per-MB basis than the Kingston Wi-Drive; that device costs $174 for just 32GB of storage, whereas the GoFlex costs $199 and you get 500GB. Also, the GoFlex works with Android devices, a feature the Wi-Drive lacks. However, we like the Wi-Drive's portability (a function of its SSD) as well as the fact that we could still remain connected to the Internet when using the device. But in situations where it doesn't matter as much--such as in a car or on an airplane--the GoFlex Satellite lets you boost your storage for less.

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Author Bio
Michael A. Prospero
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor
Michael A. Prospero has overseen reviews on Laptopmag.com since 2007, focusing on producing the most thorough and authoritative mobile product reviews. After receiving his Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia in 2003, Mike worked at Fast Company. Prior to that, he worked at The Times of Trenton, George and AlleyCat News.
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor on
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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
Capacity 500GB
Rotational Speed
Seek Time
Read/Write Speed
Ports USB 3.0
Network Connectivity 802.11g/n
Storage Type Network Attached Storage
Size 5 x 3.5 x 0.8 inches
Weight 9.4 ounces
Company Website http://www.seagate.com