Seagate’s Wireless Plus lets you add storage to any Wi-Fi device in a simple manner, but it’s not exactly cheap from a storage point of view.
Seagate Wireless Plus: On the plus side
With smartphones and tablets taking over many of the roles of desktops and laptops, there’s a distinct storage issue. Give someone a set amount of storage, even if they think it’s a ludicrous amount, and they’ll find a way to fill it. It may be with music, video, or even as many pictures of Hippos as they can find, but they’ll fill it. When you’re talking devices with as little as 8GB of storage, and often no easily expandable storage options, that’s a distinct problem. It’s the problem that Seagate pitches the Seagate Wireless Plus at pretty directly. It’s an external USB-connected drive with an inbuilt 10 hour battery that forms its own wireless hotspot for data sharing through Seagate’s own Wireless App for iOS or Android.
The Seagate Wireless Plus drops a 1TB drive into what is a relatively large enclosure for a portable drive, but that gives you a lot of scope for portable media on the go. I recently took a brief family holiday up the east coast of Australia with three kids (and three iPads) in the back, and the Seagate Wireless Plus performed well at keeping them entertained with their choice of video and music content. On that score, the Seagate Wireless Plus performs well.
Seagate Wireless Plus: On the minus side
The Seagate Wireless Plus works its wireless magic by making itself into a wireless access point, which it does automatically when you switch it on. This is a relatively slow process, which isn’t uncommon for most battery powered hotspots, but it’s also one that’ll leave your device tethered only to the Seagate Wireless Plus at first. There is a pass-through mechanism that involves connecting to the Seagate Wireless Plus, then launching the app and then connecting through that to your actual wireless network. This is fiddly to say the least, and it didn’t remember my network choices when launching the app. Forget to set this every time, and your device will be sitting in a data black hole as far as other services and messages are considered.
I tested the Seagate Wireless Plus app on Android and iOS devices. The iOS app is a little smoother around the edges (which is often par for the course) but it’s solidly limited to formats the Wireless Plus supports. On iOS, even though I had apps that could read other formats, I couldn’t make use of them on the Seagate Wireless Plus. On Android I was able to get at least one app (UPnPlay) to see the Seagate Wireless Plus as a DLNA server.
The default view of the Seagate Wireless Plus interface is a straight alphabetical list, which can be confusing if you’ve got lots of files, but thankfully you can opt for a folder view with just a few taps. Battery life is stated as “up to ten hours” but I never saw anything near that; around 6 was my top mark streaming to a single device.
It’s purely an aesthetic thing, but there’s no getting around the fact that for a portable drive, the Seagate Wireless Plus is nondescript at best, and ugly at worst. You might get it out of a bag to show off what it can do to somebody, but don’t expect them to be thrilled by the look of it.
Seagate Wireless Plus: Pricing
The 1TB Seagate Wireless Plus sells in Australia for around $229, making it an expensive option from a pure storage point of view.
Seagate Wireless Plus: Alex’s Verdict
The Seagate Wireless Plus is very much a tool for a specific task, and it’s one that you’d need to have serious need of on an ongoing basis for it to make much sense. As just an external drive it’s terribly overpriced, so what you’re paying more than double for are the wireless features. They do work, and it’s cheaper than buying a larger capacity mobile device — not that anyone makes a 1TB tablet just yet — but at this price point, it’s an incredibly small user niche that would be truly satisfied with the Seagate Wireless Plus.