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Published on February 23rd, 2013 | by Kira

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Seagate Wireless Plus: Expand Your Phone Or Tablet

Whenever I go traveling I like to bring my iPad along for fun. It is great because I can play games on it, look at pictures, listen to music, and watch movies on it. A long bus ride or plane trip quickly melts away when I can be so perfectly distracted! The only problem is that I only have 16 GBs of hard drive space on my iPad. What do I do if I want to bring a lot more data with me while traveling? Apps and movies and music take up space quickly, and the same is true for your iPhone or other tablet/smartphone or even Macbook Air.

Instead of spending another $100 for a slightly bigger hard drive on your iPad, just invest in the multi-device capable Seagate Wireless Plus 1 TB external hard drive. This great little drive (five inches by 3.5 inches by 0.8 inches and weighing only nine ounces) lets you download all of your music, pictures, documents, and movies to it from your computer using USB 3.0 (you can get a Firewire adapter as well) and then connects your tablet or phone to the hard drive through WiFi. We found that it wrote files at a rate of ~30MBps, which is a little slow, since the average USB 3.0 external drive writes at 40 or higher. It was slower yet when we tried to read and write via the wifi, but that was to be expected. However, streaming even high-definition movies worked well, with very few blips.

The Wireless Plus is made to be on the go. It has a max of a ten hour battery life, this is reduced when you are streaming non stop video or more than one person is logging onto it. It charges while it is plugged into a computer, but also has a wall charger. Since it is so ideal for traveling, it might have been nice if it came with a car charger as well, though some cars now support USB charging. There is an LED light on top of the Wireless Plus that will tell you if you need to charge it or while charging. You can also track the amount of battery life you have left via the app. The app is the main way your tablet or phone connects to your hard drive, and is iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) and Android compatible, but there are workarounds to access your drive if you have another platform. The process is fairly straightforward for connecting to your Wireless Plus and seeing all of your data. Both the app and hard drive come with per-programed folders for your music, movies, documents and pictures, making it very easy to organize everything you might want to have access to.

While we found the direct connection and even the app fairly simple to use, the rest of the set up was not, and the documentation in general could use a bit of polish. You have to connect to your normal WiFi through your drive, which I found very confusing. The drive itself takes the place of any WiFi connection you may have and also can block your use of 3G/4G while you are connected to it (as you may have found with other wireless networks you connect to that override your default data connection). Of course, if you don’t need internet access or access to other devices on the network, it’s not an issue. But if you do,  once you are connected to the Wireless Plus, you have to work through it to still have internet. One fun twist- if you are in a hotel that charges for internet access per device, you can get around those costs using the Wireless Plus as a sort of mini-router, and run up to eight devices on it. Be warned- it isn’t as speedy as a direct connection.

The Seagate Wireless Plus 1TB is a great answer to the smaller hard drives that tablets and phones come with. It lets you take your data with you and is fairly easy to use. It is a more expensive than most other wired-only drives at $200, but certainly will expand your tablet and phone experience, and comes in a nice, small, convenient package that’s battery-powered and thus truly portable.

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About the Author

Former neuroscientist, and now fashion photographer, Kira is a perfect fit for TrulyNet. She has a great understanding of what is hot, loves the new geeky toys, and has the academic background to be opinionated on it. Kira is well traveled, has lived in Australia and Canada for school. Loves the outdoors, biking, all types of art, and is completely obsessed with fashion and photographing it. She presently can be found in New York City at an art event, art gallery, museum, science talk, one of the NYC parks, a vegetarian friendly restaurant, a comic book store, or out getting bubble tea. She is a little obsessed with bubble tea.



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