Intuitive app; Can stream content from devices and be online at same time; Apple Airplay compatible; Streaming to Samsung Smart TVs coming soon
Needs better battery life indicator; Below-average USB 3.0 transfer speeds
Seagate's second wireless external hard drive improves upon the original in every way.
Last year, Seagate debuted the first portable wireless hard drive, which let you stream content to your iPad, iPhone or Android device. The second version, the Seagate Wireless Plus, does all that, plus addresses all of the issues we had with last year's model. Even better, the company has doubled the amount of storage -- now 1TB -- and kept the price at $199.
DesignSeagate GoFlex Satellite, which had a glossy black cover, the top of the Seagate Wireless Plus has a gray brushed-metal look, although it's made out of plastic. The sides and the bottom, also plastic, have a matte black soft-touch finish that makes the drive pleasant to hold.
A plastic cover on back end of the drive pops off to reveal a SATA connection, which can be used with Seagate's GoFlex adaptors. The drive ships with a USB 3.0 connector.
Like the original GoFlex Satellite, buttons and lights are kept to a minimum. On the top are two small LEDs, one that shows the drive is on, and the other showing that it's broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal. On one side is a button to turn the drive on and off, and the other has a small DC-in jack. We wish the Seagate drive had a better battery life indicator. The Patriot Gauntlet 320 drive has four LEDs that indicate battery life; by contrast, Seagate's drive has only one LED that turns to red from green when it's almost out of power.
Slightly larger than a traditional portable hard drive, the Seagate Wireless Plus measures 5 x 3.5 x 0.78 inches and weighs 9 ounces. By comparison, the Patriot Gauntlet 320 measures 5.5 x 3.4 x 1 inches, and weighs 10 ounces.
Copying files to the Wireless Plus is as easy as plugging it into your notebook and dragging files over. You can also transfer them wirelessly, but that will take much longer.
After, we turned on the drive, then went into the Wi-Fi settings on our iPad to connect to the Wireless Plus. Unlike the original drive, the Wireless Plus has a pass-through connection. That is, you can now still use the Internet while connected to the Drive.
While we used an iPad for our tests, the Wireless Plus is also compatible with Android 2.3 or higher, and the Kindle Fire.
Overall, we prefer the layout of Seagate's app to that of the Gauntlet 320, which simply presents everything in a list view along the left side of the screen.
In addition to simply viewing content stored on the Wireless Plus, you can also download and upload files to and from the drive.
The Seagate Wireless Plus will also be able to stream directly to Samsung Smart TVs, but the app enabling this feature won't be released until February. However, the Wireless Plus does work with Apple Airplay.
Similarly, when copying those files from the notebook back to the Wireless Plus, it took 2:20, a rate of 36.4 MBps. The Gauntlet 320 took just 1 minute and 26 seconds, a rate of 59.2 MBps. The average is 54.5 MBps.
For the most part, we were able to stream 1080p movies smoothly from the Wireless Plus to our iPad. One particular file, a 1080p video of the movie "Decay," stuttered often, but the same file gave us trouble on the Patriot Gauntlet 320, too.
When streaming a 1080p video from the Wireless Plus to an iPad, the drive lasted 3 hours and 50 minutes. While that's far below Seagate's claim of 10 hours of continuous streaming, it bested the Gauntlet 320 by about 1 hour.
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|Size||5 x 3.5 x 0.78 inches|