Seagate's pocketable, self-powered Wireless Plus HDD streams content to multiple iOS devices

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I never really thought I'd ever see people lining up to check out a wireless hard drive under under glass, on display like the Hope Diamond. Then again, I never thought I'd see a man wearing an Abe Lincoln costume and a steampunk arm-mounted email machine concept. I saw both at Macworld.

Seagate Wireless Plus


The wireless hard drive was Seagate's Wireless Plus ($199.99, Amazon), an external HDD built to be compatible with today's mobile devices. The idea is that you load it up with all the media you otherwise couldn't fit onto your iPhone or iPad and carry both devices around with you, so you never have to choose between HD movies and photos of your loved ones again.

The Wireless Plus packs a 1TB hard drive, Wi-Fi and USB 3.0 connectivity and an internal battery providing up to 10 hours of operation into a small portable package. Explaining to the crowd assembled to gawk at the device, the attendant said it can support up to eight simultaneous users. With eight people connected, three of those can stream HD movies from the device, while the other five can still entertain themselves by browsing pictures and streaming music.

Front View


It comes with its own app, which also allows users to dump content from an iPad or iPhone's internal storage directly to the drive. That's not going to work for content purchased through iTunes, but it will work for things like photos and videos taken with the device.

Seeing the Wireless Plus in action is honestly underwhelming, but only if you don't think about what's going on. It's an app streaming content from a wireless hard drive. It stalls a bit initially, likely as it's buffering, but then it plays smoothly. It's even AirPlay-compatible, allowing you to stream content from the drive to a device and push from that device to an Apple TV. It's not flashy and astounding; it's a hard drive, but a very competently realized one.

Sloth View


And yet it had drawn a crowd, albeit a thinning one for the moment. I stepped forward to ask my own questions. Yes, the Wireless Plus might be fine for streaming content from a drive, but could your iOS device stay connected to the Internet while doing so, since it has to join the Wireless Plus' network in order to access content?

There's this look that tech attendants get when they've been flummoxed, a sort of resigned acceptance that ? for one brief moment ? you've pierced the marketing speak and cut to the quick. I could have sworn I saw that look right then.

"Good question," he replied, "it used to be that you couldn't do that, but we made it this year so that the hard drive can join an external wireless network and share its connection with any mobile device accessing content from it."

Side View


To sum up: one terabyte of storage, accessible by up to eight simultaneous users. Ten hours of battery life, and the ability to share its Internet connection so that mobile devices stay connected while browsing content. Works with iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire devices, as well as Samsung Smart TVs. It's got a couple of awards, too: Best of Show at Macworld, as well as Best Innovation for Computer Accessories at this year's CES. Both of these seem pretty well deserved from what I've seen of it in operation.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Cool.

    So will we stop getting incessant demands for USB ports or Compact Flash ports on iPhones?
  • Reply 2 of 50
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I'm not sure it will be popular but it looks like Seagate has made a product with no obvious shortcomings.
  • Reply 3 of 50
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,976member
    jragosta wrote: »
    Cool.

    So will we stop getting incessant demands for USB ports or Compact Flash ports on iPhones?

    Yes because it makes so much more sense to carry this big thing around. This makes more sense in a home environment where multiple devices can access it.
  • Reply 4 of 50
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,976member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    I'm not sure it will be popular but it looks like Seagate has made a product with no obvious shortcomings.

    It could be but not at that price. You can buy a 1 TB drive for $89 and because this one is wireless it costs $110 more? It is nice though. You can have your own personal cloud within your home that up to 8 devices can access.
  • Reply 5 of 50
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    It could be but not at that price. You can buy a 1 TB drive for $89 and because this one is wireless it costs $110 more?

    I dont think it's unreasonable price. There's a fair amount of difficulty there. You have to consider the battery too. Being able to serve up to eight devices wirelessly for ten hours on a single charge, that's pretty impressive.
  • Reply 6 of 50
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,115member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    Yes because it makes so much more sense to carry this big thing around. This makes more sense in a home environment where multiple devices can access it.


     


    Yes, it makes absolutely more sense, taking into account the percentage of people that actually need external storage for an iOS device. The vast majority don't, and for those that do, this DOES have alot more advantages over an SD card, including wireless streaming and access. Apple doesn't tries not to build hardware components into its products that only a minority might use, and thats the right way to do it. Sales of iOS devices has proven that noone is clamoring for card storage. 

  • Reply 7 of 50
    nhtnht Posts: 4,429member
    Just waiting for the modders to add Eye-Fi capability to this...
  • Reply 8 of 50
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,976member
    slurpy wrote: »
    Yes, it makes absolutely more sense, taking into account the percentage of people that actually need external storage for an iOS device. The vast majority don't, and for those that do, this DOES have alot more advantages over an SD card, including wireless streaming and access. Apple doesn't tries not to build hardware components into its products that only a minority might use, and thats the right way to do it. Sales of iOS devices has proven that noone is clamoring for card storage. 

    Let's be fair, if the iPhone had a SD card slot everyone would use it, but I can't argue with this not having advantages over a SD card.
  • Reply 9 of 50
    binexbinex Posts: 23member
    I guess given the absence of removable storage for iDevices, some people will find it useful to access more storage on the go.

    I got a much smaller device (but obviously without the in-built storage) originally launched through Kickstarter, that enables you to attach usb storage devices to it and then shares them through wifi and their own iOS app.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/125911486/cloudftp-wirelessly-share-any-usb-storage-with-ipa
  • Reply 10 of 50
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    jeffdm wrote: »
    I dont think it's unreasonable price. There's a fair amount of difficulty there. You have to consider the battery too. Being able to serve up to eight devices wirelessly for ten hours on a single charge, that's pretty impressive.

    This is quite sophisticated. I'm surprised it can connect so many people. I wonder if it can really do simultaneous streaming of 3 HD videos. I look forward to any real world testing.

    dasanman69 wrote: »
    Let's be fair, if the iPhone had a SD card slot everyone would use it, but I can't argue with this not having advantages over a SD card.

    I certainly wouldn't use it and if it's so widely used with non-iPhone devices then why has on-board NAND creeped up from being barely enough to fit the OS to be large enough to hold entire libraries of data?
  • Reply 11 of 50
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,976member
    jeffdm wrote: »
    I dont think it's unreasonable price. There's a fair amount of difficulty there. You have to consider the battery too. Being able to serve up to eight devices wirelessly for ten hours on a single charge, that's pretty impressive.

    It is impressive but I have my doubts that it can last 10 hours with so many devices accessing it.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    It is impressive but I have my doubts that it can last 10 hours with so many devices accessing it.

    WiFi is pretty power efficient. if the HDD is spinning for one device or 8 I don't see it using much more power but I do question that a spinning drive can keep up with 3 different HD videos being streamed at once. I say HD because modern phones can handle that content.



    edit: typos
  • Reply 13 of 50
    nhtnht Posts: 4,429member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post



    Yes because it makes so much more sense to carry this big thing around. This makes more sense in a home environment where multiple devices can access it.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post



    It could be but not at that price. You can buy a 1 TB drive for $89 and because this one is wireless it costs $110 more? It is nice though. You can have your own personal cloud within your home that up to 8 devices can access.


     


    It's for travel.  Good luck running your $89 1 TB drive for seven hours without an outlet while providing wifi access of hd streams to 3 devices.  

  • Reply 14 of 50
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    It is impressive but I have my doubts that it can last 10 hours with so many devices accessing it.

    Probably not. It's probably one device for ten hours. But it seems like a pretty new technology. The best comparable is a Patriot Gauntlet enclosure, $110 list w/o hard drive. I guess some site would need to try both out to see if the little extra is worth it or not, and whether the Seagate's smaller size sacrifices anything, etc.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,976member
    jeffdm wrote: »
    Probably not. It's probably one device for ten hours. But it seems like a pretty new technology. The best comparable is a Patriot Gauntlet enclosure, $110 list w/o hard drive. I guess some site would need to try both out to see if the little extra is worth it or not, and whether the Seagate's smaller size sacrifices anything, etc.

    I think not allowing iTunes content on it is a big negative. This plus a iPad mini would make a lot more sense to a DJ than using a MBP.
  • Reply 16 of 50
    nhtnht Posts: 4,429member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    WiFi is pretty power efficient. if the HDD is spinning for one device or 8 I don't see it using much more power but I do question that a spinning drive can keep up with 8 different HD videos being streamed at once. I say HD because modern phones can handle that content.


     


    Can you guys not read the article.  Three devices can have HD streams.  The other 5 can get music and pictures.


     


    There are many reviews on the net because the prior model (GoFlex Satellite) had 500MB for $199 and USB2.  So this is a very nice update and test so far show about a 7-8 hour battery life under load.  The old one has been heavily modded and the new one is easier (hardware wise) to get into so you can swap in a SSD if you like:


     


    http://www.hackseagatesatellite.com/wordpress/2013/01/29/new-seagate-wireless-plus-teardown/

  • Reply 17 of 50
    nhtnht Posts: 4,429member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post





    Probably not. It's probably one device for ten hours. But it seems like a pretty new technology. The best comparable is a Patriot Gauntlet enclosure, $110 list w/o hard drive. I guess some site would need to try both out to see if the little extra is worth it or not, and whether the Seagate's smaller size sacrifices anything, etc.


     


    This is better than the Patriot.  It's not new.


     


    "With the Wireless Plus, Seagate has resolved every issue we had with its original wireless hard drive. Best of all, it doubled the storage, while keeping the price at $199. While the Patriot Gauntlet 320 is certainly capable, Seagate's Wireless Plus lasts longer on a charge, offers more than twice the storage for just $40 more, and has a more intuitive and robust app. If you're looking to take all of your content with you, the Wireless Plus is the way to go."


     


    http://www.laptopmag.com/review/wireless/seagate-wireless-plus.aspx

  • Reply 18 of 50
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    I'm not sure it will be popular but it looks like Seagate has made a product with no obvious shortcomings.

    It must just be me but in thirty plus years of using hard drives from many vendors Seagate have been far and away the most unreliable.
  • Reply 19 of 50
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    nht wrote: »
    Can you guys not read the article.

    Can? Yes. Do I? Kinda. I usually skim them. My interest is mostly with the forum members and their comments.
  • Reply 20 of 50
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    nht wrote: »
    It's for travel.  Good luck running your $89 1 TB drive for seven hours without an outlet while providing wifi access of hd streams to 3 devices.  
    Quite. It's probably very niche, but great for travel. The hassle of cleaning out iOS devices and stocking them up with relevant fresh content gets tiresome. Now I can fill this thing with music and movies, once, and everybody's happy. Specially me. Will I buy it. Probably not.
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