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Video without wires

Video without wires

Seagate’s latest external media storage comes with no strings attached.
ARE you unhappy about how your latest powerful gadgets come with a plethora of multimedia capabilities, but don’t seem to have enough available storage to fully benefit from such power?
Smartphones and tablets these days mostly come without expandable memory, so it’s quite annoying for media-heavy users who like to store their whole collection of movies and series to watch on the go.
Take the iPad for example. Possibly one of the most popular gadgets around, it’s a powerful media device that is limited by the storage space of either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB. So what can be done if more space is needed?
Cloud storage is all the rage right now. Instead of having your media files stored in your device, it can be uploaded into the cloud and be accessible at any time through internet access. Which is exactly the point: You need Internet access to access your cloud storage. What if you are using a WiFi only device and there is no WiFi available?
With the Wireless Plus, Seagate aims to help users overcome this shortcoming of modern technology. With 1TB of memory, the Wireless Plus is essentially an external hard drive which doesn’t require a wire to be plugged in.
More than meets the eye
On the exterior, the Wireless Plus looks no different from a usual portable hard drive. It has a very minimalistic look, with indicator lights for wireless and charging/battery on the front and a power button at its side.
At 89 x 19.9 x 127mm, the Wireless Plus is not too bulky. With a weight of 256g, it didn’t feel like too much of a burden in our backpack.
Performance
The Wireless Plus works as a WiFi hotspot for your gadgets to detect and connect to. Seagate states that up to eight devices can be connected to the Wireless Plus at the same time, although only three devices can stream high definition (HD) movies at a time. It has a range of 150ft.
The Wireless Plus is compatible with any WiFi enabled devices with a Web browser. For mobile devices, it requires your device to be on iOS 4.3 or higher, or Android 2.3 or higher. It is also compatible with Kindle Fire.
For those who want to use the Wireless Plus on their computers, make sure your system is on Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP, or Mac OS X 10.6 or higher.
Because devices can only be connected to one WiFi network at a time, it might seem that connecting to the Wireless Plus would mean that you won’t be able to connect to another WiFi connection for Internet. However, worry not as the Seagate Media app, available for free for both iOs and Android, allows users to use the app to connect to another WiFi network. Thus, you get to stream from the Wireless Plus and be connected to the Internet at the same time.
Unfortunately for those who are running on mobile data plans, connecting to the Wireless Plus would disable your mobile data network — the same way it usually does when you connect to a WiFi network.
The app’s interface is pretty simple. For those who are afraid of not being tech-savvy enough, there’s a useful introduction when you first start the app that will run through the app’s basic features. Users will also be able to transfer files in and out of the Wireless Plus via the app.
Multimedia experience
The app segregates media based on their types, so you will be able to find your pictures, music, videos and documents under their respective categories.
By default, streaming any videos with the app will have to be played via the app’s own video player. The video player interface is not the best around. I didn’t like how it was a little jerky when trying to skip to another part of the video. When I touched on another part of the video’s timeline, it didn’t immediately reflect that the video has been skipped to that part, though the visuals do change.
Fortunately, I made a quick look through the settings and managed to get the app to let me choose whichever video player I had on my Android device. After testing videos with my phone’s default video player, I am pleased to say that my above concerns are no longer a problem. Loading videos was a breeze, just as it was for me to skip through the video’s timeline.
Sadly, the same can’t be said for playing music files. Music files can only be played within the app’s own music player.
For those who want to access the Wireless Plus’ contents through a computer, the same methods apply as for mobile devices. Just connect to the Wireless Plus through WiFi, and open the web browser. You will be led to a webpage which is very similar to the Seagate Media app’s interface and has the same functions.
Seagate claims that the device has a 10 hour battery life. A reasonable amount of time, considering that most mobile devices are not able to last as long.
The Wireless Plus also offers DLNA support. This means that if you own DLNA-compliant devices, such as a smart TV, you will also be able to connect to the Wireless Plus and stream your movies from there, using native applications.
For those who prefer using it as a normal hard drive, this is also possible with the inclusion of a USB 3.0 adaptor. This makes it faster to transfer files in and out of the device, as well as allow it to be used when the battery is flat. However, the adaptor is a bit inconvenient to carry around as a piece of cover has to be removed from the top of the device for the adaptor to be plugged in. This will present the risk of the cover being misplaced.
I don’t see this as a major problem though, as it will only be used when needing to transfer large amount of files at a higher speed.
Conclusion
Overall, we were impressed with Seagate’s Wireless Plus. We find it to be practical and useful, especially as a way to kill time on long trips.
It is also useful at home if there are many gadgets in the house. From the comfort of their own rooms, everyone in the family can stream movies and music on their own devices.
However, the Wireless Plus should only be used to store media files which aren’t sensitive, since privacy level is low once other people are able to connect to it.
At a retail price of RM599, it might seem a little steep for a 1TB hard drive, but bear in mind that you are paying for a hard drive without borders.
Pros: Works as advertised by allowing various mobile devices to connect to it at the same time; easy to use; DLNA support.
Cons: App does not allow users to choose their own music players.

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