Seagate Wireless Plus review: A terabyte of mobile wireless storage

The mobile hard drive lets you wirelessly stream or store your files.

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Using the Wireless Plus with a mobile device

Seagate provides a free Seagate Media app, which is available for Apple and Android devices, along with the Kindle Fire. It helps you manage your music, photos and videos by, for example, adding movie bookmarks, personalizing photo slideshows and allowing you to play music in the background while using other apps.

I found the Wi-Fi connection between the drive and my iPhone 5 sometimes finicky. At first, I couldn't get the iPhone to recognize the drive's wireless network. After contacting Seagate, the representative recommended I reset the drive by sticking a small paperclip in a hole on the bottom. That did the trick.

The other issue I had was that, when I stepped beyond the Wi-Fi network's distance limitation of 150 feet and lost the connection, it didn't automatically reconnect when I stepped back into its range. I had to restart my iPhone to get it to recognize the Seagate Wi-Fi network again and reconnect.

But when I was connected and in range, the Wireless Plus performed well. It took about two seconds to upload a 3.5MB photo from my iPhone 5 to the drive. A 52MB MOV video uploaded from my phone to the drive in 30 seconds -- not bad. (A Seagate technician explained that the only data you can upload onto a mobile device are photos or videos.)

I also tested the Wireless Plus with an Apple iPad and found no wireless connectivity issues. However, if you use an apostrophe in the name of your iPad, the Wireless Plus won't connect. The solution? Rename your iPad. Seagate is working this bug out, a representative said.

In addition, while you can access content from the drive using a mobile device, you can't actually upload files to your device. And you can't listen or view content from the drive using the iPad's Music or Video app.

The Seagate Media app is also compatible with Apple AirPlay, offering iOS users the ability to play songs from Wireless Plus on AirPlay-enabled speakers or mirror the movie from an iPad to a television via Apple TV. You can also use the drive as a type of backup by synchronizing your media files via Seagate's Media Sync software, a free application for OS X and Windows.

Further, you can use Wireless Plus like an Internet hub to share a single paid hotspot connection with up to eight devices. When you open the Seagate app, select the Wi-Fi symbol in the upper right hand corner and you'll see a pull-down menu of Wi-Fi connections in the area. After you select your desired Wi-Fi connection, you'll be prompted for the password if needed.

Each device you connect to the hotspot will need to go through the same process. The Wireless Plus then acts as a pass-through to connect to the hotspot as well as provide a hub for the devices.

Bottom line

One thing that might make this drive better is if it was an SSD, which would make it more shock-proof and speed up data transfer -- but would also jack up the price significantly.

The SSD issue aside, the Seagate Wireless Plus drive would be a great addition to anyone's mobile content stores. It's relatively easy to use and offers a significant amount of additional storage and flexibility by which to access it.

At twice the price of a wired portable drive, the Seagate Wireless Plus is a bit of a luxury, but what your money buys is the ability to keep the storage in your backpack, in your car or on your desk, allowing you to listen to music, watch a video or collaborate on a document anywhere.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and healthcare IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at  @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

See more by Lucas Mearian on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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