With all your favorite apps, movies, games and music, sometimes it seems like there's never enough room on your smartphones and tablets. With the $159 Gauntlet 320, you can help alleviate some of that stress, wirelessly streaming content from this 320 GB external hard drive.
Click to EnlargeThe Gauntlet 320 comes in a solid black package with glossy, curved edges, with the word "Gauntlet" etched into the top. Three small status lights, along with corresponding printed icons, indicate power, battery life and Wi-Fi, reside on top of the device. Just below, on one of the narrow sides, is a USB 3.0 port, DC in, and a power button. On the left edge is a button that shows how much battery life is left when pressed.
Slightly larger than a traditional portable hard drive, the Gauntlet 320 measures 5.5 x 3.4 x 1 inches, and weighs 10 ounces. By comparison, the Seagate Wireless Plus is a hair smaller and lighter, at 5 x 3.5 x 0.78 inches and 9 ounces.
Setup is a breeze. Simply power up the Gauntlet 320 and it immediately begins broadcasting its signal. You can load content onto the Gauntlet 320 via USB or wirelessly using the Gauntlet Connect application. If connecting wirelessly from a notebook. Just open your wireless settings and look at your available wireless networks. One of them should be labeled "GAUNTLET." Once connected, you should be able to access the drive.
The Gauntlet 320 also has Internet pass-through capabilities, allowing you to continue browsing the Internet while still connected to the 320.
Click to EnlargeThe Gauntlet Connect application is available for iOS 4.2 or higher, Android phones running v2.3 or higher, Android tablets running v3.0 or higher, and the Kindle Fire. After downloading the app, connect to the Gauntlet 320 wireless network via Wi-Fi and you're all set. If you want to secure your Gauntlet 320's connection, you can also create a password for the drive using the app.
Within the app, files are listed in a column down the left side; at the bottom are options for upload, download, view local files or those stored on the Gauntlet 320, and Settings. When you select a file, it appears in the right two-thirds of the screen, but can be expanded to take up the whole display. While it's intuitive to use, the Gauntlet app is a bit more bland than Seagate's app, which lets you sort files by type and size, and shows thumbnails of the files, too.
Click to EnlargeAs a USB 3.0 drive, the Gauntlet 320 performs well. It wrote 5GB of multimedia files in 1 minute and 38 seconds, a rate of 51.9 Mbps. By comparison, the Seagate Wireless Plus took 2 minutes and 35 seconds, a rate of 32.8 MBps.
Similarly, when copying those files from the Gauntlet 320 back to our notebook, it took the drive just 1 minute and 26 seconds, a rate of 59.2 MBps. The Wireless Plus took 2:20, a rate of 36.4 MBps.
The Gauntlet 320 can both transfer files wirelessly and connect to up to eight devices simultaneously. Video streaming was smooth, and quality was top notch. However, initial buffering times ran a bit long on larger video files (20-30 seconds). We had no issues streaming 1080p video files, except for one movie, which also stuttered on the Wireless Plus.
The Gauntlet 320 is rated for 5.5 hours of continuous streaming. When we streamed a 1080p movie from the drive to an iPad, it lasted 2 hours and 56 minutes. That's about an hour less than the Seagate Wireless Plus.
In addition to the review unit we tested, Patriot also sells a version of the Gauntlet, called the Node, for $99 that comes without a hard drive, but can accept hard drives up to 2TB.
Click to EnlargeWith a very straightforward setup, fast hard drive and a $159 price tag, the Patriot Gauntlet 320 is a good device for anyone looking for a simple solution to boost the space in their phone or tablet. However, for $40 more, the Seagate Wireless Plus offers more than twice the storage, longer battery life and a better app. But for those who already have a hard drive they want to make wireless, the $99 Gauntlet Node enclosure is a good option.