Easy to use and versatile, but the lack of speed and high price disappoint
External hard disks have increasingly appeared with built-in wireless networking, and that’s a good thing. With many smartphones and tablets being used to consume media, it’s a trend that makes perfect sense.
Seagate’s Wireless Plus is the latest drive to provide its own Wi-Fi network, and it’s certainly impressive in use. If you holding down its power button, the drive activates its own wireless network and, if you’re using a PC or Mac, it’s easy enough to connect. Click the device in your operating system’s wireless networking dialog, open the browser, and head to www.seagatewireless.com.
Movies, documents, songs and pictures can be viewed and opened using the Seagate’s browser-based interface, and content can be streamed from the disk to your device. Content can also be uploaded from a computer to the device itself. This is an advantage over Seagate’s smartphone apps, which don’t allow this function, but it isn’t without its limitations. When connected wirelessly, the Seagate Wireless Plus can’t be accessed as a standard hard disk.
The same framework is used to connect to the Wireless Plus from several different types of mobile device. Content can be browsed and accessed through Seagate’s free app, and the Wireless Plus works with mobile devices that use iOS 4.3 or Android 2.3 and higher. We didn’t experience any issues when using the Wireless Plus with iOS or Android handsets, though. The interface’s design is carried over from the browser app, and it works extremely well.
The Wireless Plus also has a USB3 adaptor, and it can be attached to the device by removing a plastic panel from the end of the unit. It’s here where the Seagate’s weakness comes to the fore. The mobile hard disk inside the Wireless Plus clearly hasn’t been chosen for its speed. It ran through our large-file write and read benchmarks at 100MB/s and 109MB/s, and then dawdled through the small-file write and read tests and 30MB/s and 45MB/s. That’s slow, and is around half the speed we expect to see from a traditional desktop hard disk.
The 1TB Seagate Wireless Plus also costs £191, or 19p per gigabyte. If you don’t need Wi-Fi connectivity, Seagate’s own Backup Plus 1TB, which also has a USB3 connection, costs £65, which is just 6p per gigabyte.
The Wireless Plus is an attractive, slick and easy to use external hard drive, but its lack of speed is disappointing. Its wireless function will be a boon to smartphone and tablet users, but you’d have to be transferring or accessing a lot of files on the move to justify the high price – for home use only a standard disk connected to a USB-equipped router will be a far cheaper and more flexible option.
|Price per gigabyte||£0.19|
|Warranty||three years RTB|