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Seagate GoFlex Satellite 500GB Review

A drive that simultaneously streams media for up to eight iPhones, iPads and Macs? Surely not! We put the Seagate GoFlex Satellite to the test.

GoFlex Review - Main

£149.99/$199.99

Available from
www.seagate.com
Key features
• 500GBharddrive • USB3.0connection included • Firewire 800 and Thunderbolt support

Portable storage is becoming extremely affordable, to the point where companies are able to add extra features to external drives without pushing up the cost. This 500GB hard drive from Seagate also includes a small wireless transmitter that broadcasts its own network to which you can connect your devices. It works on all platforms too, so whether you want to check a document on your MacBook Air or watch a movie on your iPad, you can do it all, wirelessly.

GoFlex Review - Q&A
The drive is initially set up for Windows, but an included file allows you to prepare it for use with your Mac. It’s an awkward system, and one that takes a little while, but you will only have to do it once. When it’s done, you can add all your files onto the device and wait for them to copy across. You’ll only find a USB 3.0 cable in the packaging, which is a shame, as Macs will automatically lower the transfer speed to USB 2.0.

Adding a lot of files can be a long process because of this slower connection, but once it’s done you probably won’t have to switch too many files around thanks to the huge capacity of the disk. FireWire and Thunderbolt connections are available from Seagate too, so if you do plan to transfer data regularly there is a solution for more speed.

For the iPad and iPhone there is a free, universal app called GoFlex Media that will let you access all your data. Once you switch on the GoFlex satellite you will need to connect to the newly created Wi-Fi network through your Settings app and launch the app. From here you can browse through all the files, tapping to load up content. On other devices, log on to the network and open your browser and you’ll be taken to the GoFlex’s web interface. This looks incredibly similar to the iPad and iPhone app and works just as well for accessing your media.

Streaming is really fast and the quality is incredibly high on every device. The app and web interface sadly only support a limited number of video formats (H.264 video in MP4 formats), which is a shame when HD content is more regularly found in AVI and MKV file types. That said, there are work around apps such as OPlayer to get these running on your iPad. We tested a HD video and it was jumpy on even the new iPad, but that’s not the Satellite’s fault – the iPad simply hasn’t been built to handle HD video yet.

Up to eight devices can simultaneously access content on the device, with separate videos being run perfectly. We noticed that they initially loaded a little slower when more than four devices tried to connect at once, but once they started, the streaming was smooth with no lag whatsoever – it was highly impressive. In fact, accessing all the files was simple and fast – it performed above expectations.

The newest firmware update also adds the ability to connect to another Wi-Fi network alongside that created by the drive, so that you can continue to browse the web even when you are streaming from the device. It’s a fantastic feature that frees up your iPad to do everything you expect alongside the drive’s functions.

The drive itself features a battery that lasts for an impressive six to seven hours on a full charge, and adapters to keep it going both through a wall plug and in a car. It looks great, too, with a design that’s reminiscent of an iPhone 4S. We would’ve liked to see a bit of metal rather than the all-plastic casing, but it’s perfectly serviceable and is one reason that the drive manages to stay so cool.

For the price, there is no better way to boost your portable storage – you can now bring every film you own on a trip and access them all quickly and easily. It’s affordable, simple to use, and ticks all the right boxes.

Buy now?

Pros A lot of storage, a great battery life and a brilliant app in an affordable package
Cons The lack of included FireWire is disappointing, and formatting it for Mac takes time

GoFlex Review - Star Rating

 

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