The Seagate Wireless mobile device is a 500GB 2.5 inch HDD that’s been stuffed into a colourful case with a battery and a wifi card that retails for around £100. It’s available in a range of funky colours that make it look more like something you’d be happy to be seen with than something you’d simply pass to the IT chap at work.
What does it do though? Well you know how limited the space is on your mobile devices? Often they might be sold as say a 16GB device but in reality there is only 10GB or so available to the user, the rest is reserved for the operating system and other stuff you can’t touch, which makes it dead easy to fill them up. A case in point are the Nook HDs that the kids used to have. They only had 8GB of storage on-board, and a fair chunk of that wasn’t even available to start with. This is where the Seagate Wireless comes in to it’s own. You can bung the stuff on to it that you don’t have room for on your device.
The Seagate Wireless works on a lot of different platforms, Android, Apple’s IOS (so iPads and iPhones) as well as laptops and computers.
With the app, you can set WiFi pass-through- so the Seagate Wireless connects to an existing WiFi network, allowing devices connected to the Seagate Wireless to have internet access (something you obviously lose when you connect via WiFi to the Seagate Wireless).
Armed with Handbrake on the houses sole Mac, I ripped the two series of Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated from DVD into an IOS friendly format and transferred them over. You do need a separate driver (the Paragon driver off of Seagates website) to get your Mac to see the NTFS formatted drive but it’s easy to install and the manual tells you how.
Two of the kids were able to stream Scooby Doo on to iPads when we were out and about in the car (an iPad 2 and an iPad Mini 2), without any issues. The battery life is given as up to 8 hours for a single device attached via WiFi, less with more (up to 3 in total) attached. We got somewhere between three and four hours of use from the Seagate Wireless with two iPads attached, and me dipping in to see what would happen if I tried to stream a 1080P .mkv to my Android phone at the same time. Since it uses a mini USB connector, you could of course hook it up to a portable battery like the Anker we always take with us in case of emergency, which makes battery life less of an issue.
In terms of Android, once you’ve set the device up via the app, you can simply browse to shares through a file explorer like ES File Explorer, and then play whatever you like with the media player of your choice. It works well, and I had no issues with playback.
It’s an elegant solution to a problem that whilst not overwhelmingly irritating, can be a bit of a nuisance. For example, when we went away on holiday this year, it rained. A lot. We were stuck with 3 1980s DVDs in the cottage we stayed in, along with whatever rubbish there was on the telly. With this, the early evenings- before/after dinner and just before bed time, would have been an awful lot less fraught.
Considering a 500GB portable hard drive can cost upwards of 50 quid, £99 for a device that does all that and a lot more doesn’t seem to steep for me. Especially if I can have a quiet evening with my locally produced cider when I’m on holiday as a result!