MEGATech Reviews: Seagate Wireless Mobile Storage Drive Michael Kwan April 10, 2015 MEGATech Reviews The iPhone 6 does not have a memory card slot. Neither do the Nexus 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6. What this means is that after you load up some of your favorite songs, add a couple of movies, and snap a few photos, you’ll find yourself lacking for storage space. You could go to the cloud for help, but then you’ll rifle through your data plan in no time. A more elegant solution could be the Seagate Wireless, a mobile storage drive that can be shared between three devices at the same time. The More Affordable Wireless Plus Available only in a 500GB capacity but in a range of different colors, the Seagate Wireless was officially revealed to the world at CES earlier this year. The concept is a familiar one: you get an external hard drive with a built-in battery and integrated Wi-Fi capabilities, providing you access to all sorts of media content across your laptop, tablet and smartphone. While most other product lines have the habit of moving up the scale, Seagate went in the opposite direction here. They took the idea behind the Seagate Wireless Plus from a couple of years ago and removed the “Plus.” It’s cheaper with less capacity and in larger, more colorful form factor. Aside from that, just about everything else remains the same. One Button to Get Started The Seagate Wireless is designed from the start to be as simple as possible. To keep things simple, there is only one button: power. There is also only one port: micro-USB. That’s it. And you can get everything configured in just a couple of minutes. After turning on the Seagate Wireless for the first time, you’ll find the blue Wi-Fi light blinking for about a minute. Once it’s steady, you can connect to the “Seagate Wireless” Wi-Fi SSID through a device of your choosing. I decided to get things configured via my Windows PC, but you can presumably do the same through the Seagate Media mobile app on your iOS or Android device. Once you are connected, you can go through the settings to change the SSID and add a password, should you so choose. It is also here that you can configure the Wi-Fi passthrough capability, so you can still have access to the Internet while accessing the multimedia content contained on this drive. The browser-based interface on your computer looks like a blown-up tablet app, because it basically is exactly that. You can sort through the content based on file type — videos, photos, music, and documents — and the interface will automatically bring up the corresponding thumbnails too. Simply select the file you wish to access and it’ll start playing. From what I can gather, you can’t choose to open your files in an alternate program unless you download the file locally first. The Same Seagate Media Mobile App On the mobile side, you can expect to use the exact same Seagate Media app that you’ve already been using with some of Seagate’s other products. If you have a Seagate Central, for example, you’ll already be familiar with this layout. As with the browser-based interface, content is organized by media type and you simply tap on what you want to open to watch or listen to it. Again, you cannot choose to cherry-pick songs from different albums to listen to in VLC, for instance. It all has to work within the Seagate Media app. That’s a real downer, but you can combine the libraries on the Seagate Wireless with what you have stored locally on your phone or tablet. One added feature is the ability to enable auto upload of the photos you take with your phone onto the Seagate Wireless, much like the auto-upload feature of cloud services like OneDrive and Dropbox. In practice, I had no trouble streaming high-definition video to my smartphone. I was able to stream content simultaneously to multiple devices without issue. One issue that you may encounter if you are using the Seagate Wireless on the road, though, is that while you can use the Wi-Fi passthrough, the very nature of how this works means you’ll lose your 3G/4G data connection. Limitations and Shortcomings It is true that the Seagate Wireless does practically everything that it claims it can do. However, it is not without its shortcomings and some of these are especially noteworthy. First, if you are accessing the drive over Wi-Fi, there is still no way to multi-select files to upload to the drive. You end up having to pick them one by one. That’s a serious pain, but you also have to remember that this is meant to be more of a consumption device rather than a backup device (aside from the auto-upload photo backup feature described above). Instead, what you’re supposed to do is load up the Seagate Wireless with all the content you need by connecting it first to your computer via USB. In doing so, it’ll show up like any other external hard drive and you can do the whole drag-and-drop thing like how you normally would. This introduces a tangential issue: you can’t use the Wi-Fi and USB connection at the same time. If the Seagate Wireless is powered on and is broadcasting its Wi-Fi access point, it won’t be detected as a USB drive on your computer. It’s an either/or proposition. Having the Wi-Fi passthrough feature for Internet access is both appreciated and mandatory. It does work, so you can still get on the web while watching videos or listening to music. However, I did experience a loss in speed. My home Internet connection is supposed to be 60Mbps downstream and, over Wi-Fi to my computer, I am typically able to get a connection of about 45-50Mbps. When I used the passthrough on the Seagate Wireless, this dropped to around 19Mbps. Your mileage may vary. MEGATechie Wonderful or MEGATechie Wireless Woes? Products like the Seagate Wireless are built with a very specific purpose in mind. I imagine one of the most common usage cases will be when people go on a trip, allowing multiple passengers to each enjoy their own content on their own devices. To this end, it does the job, though with some limitations. You’ll lose your 3G/4G data connection, for instance, and you are restricted to accessing the media within the Seagate Media app itself. Having 500GB of mobile storage on the go is a very convenient thing to have and the Seagate Wireless makes everything very easy to use and understand. With a street price of about $120, the Seagate Wireless could be an invaluable travel companion for those long drives to grandma’s house. Share This With The World!