When I started to write my last review on Kingston’s Wi-Drive, I had no idea what ‘a can of worm’ I had accidentally opened. After I finished the review I did a little bit more research about this very cool type of mobile gear, i.e. the Portable Wireless Storage. It turned out that Kingston was not the only one who had been busy creating this type of device, in fact a quick search on Amazon using keyword ‘Portable Wireless Storage’ will show you a list of ‘house-hold’ names in storage peripherals. Names like Kingston, Seagate, LaCie, Verbatim, SanDisk, Transcend and Corsair. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, as it seems to be a natural progression from the standard wired storage.

All in all, it’s a good news for us Mobile Photographer. I wrote about Cloud Storage in my previous post, saying that we need to start thinking about putting our photos in the cloud. In a way, a Portable Wireless like the Seagate Wireless Plus we have here goes one step further, because now you can take the Cloud everywhere you go!

​Similar to the Kingston Wi-Drive I reviewed previously, the Seagate Wireless Plus has the following characteristics:

  1. 1
    Portable – It only weighs about 250g.
  2. 2
    Self-Powered – It has its own rechargeable battery.
  3. 3
    WiFi enabled – It can create its own local Wi-Fi.

The only difference is that while the Wi-Drive uses SSD (Solid State Drive), the Wireless Plus uses the more conventional Hard-Drive. Also if the Wi-Drive will give you only a maximum of 64Gb, the Wireless Plus will give you a whopping 1 Terabytes!!! Yeah … talk about ‘taking’ the cloud with you!

Let’s see in more details what we’ve got here.

​The Enclosure

The Seagate Wireless Plus is first and foremost a full-fledged 2.5″ External Hard-Disk, which means that it has a small footprint and pretty light. Although unlike the super small Wi-Drive, the Wireless Plus is not exactly pocket friendly, unless you wear a cargo pants. Nevertheless it should be very easy to bring it everywhere with you in a bag. In any case, since the hard-disk is a standard ‘mechanical‘ drive with spinning disks, I’m not too sure if it’s going to be safe enough to carry it in my always-moving pocket. Maybe it will withstand the vibration, but to be honest I don’t want to take a chance.

The enclosure itself looks very sleek with a gun-metal colour exterior. There is an on-off button and a separate plug for a DC Power Connector.

At the top there are 2 indicator LED lights. One is for power and the other for Wi-Fi.

On the side, Wireless Plus features a SATA connector, which means you can potentially plug the drive to your PC or other device that support SATA connection. In addition to this, the drive comes with a USB 3 breakout adaptor. Plug it to the SATA connector and you have your super fast USB 3 connection.

​SATA Connector 

​USB3 Breakout Adaptor 

​You can charge the drive via the wall socket charger and using the DC Power Connector, or as usual via the USB connection though this way will be slower. One full charge will hold enough juice for approximately 10 hours of continuous streaming, according to Seagate’s manual.

​Take the Cloud with you!

Seagate, as many of you might’ve recognised, is one of the world’s manufacture of hard-drives. And they are not shy to give Wireless Plus plenty of space. The one I have here carries a massive 1 TB of storage, so huge I can practically bring my entire digital library along with me.

Unlike the Wi-Drive which uses FAT32, the Wireless Plus’ drive is formatted using NTFS. That means that you don’t have any limitation in maximum size of file you can store in the drive (FAT32 limits the size to a maximum 4Gb).

Since a Mac cannot read NTFS format, Seagate is bundling an NTFS driver with Wireless Plus so Mac owner can read and write the data (quite cool I think).

But having a big storage alone won’t help if you can’t get to the data. This is where the Wi-Fi comes along. So just like the Wi-Drive, the Wireless Plus can create its own local Wi-Fi, which will appear as one of the Wi-Fi Access Points in your device. Connect to the AP and you get full access to the data.

There are a few ways to access the files in the drive. If you are using mobile devices you can download Seagate Media app, which is available for iOS and Android. You can also use your browser to connect to the drive. Just go to www.seagatewireless.com and you are in.

The Seagate Wireless Plus can also act as a Wi-Fi bridge.  It means that even if you are currently connecting to the drive via its local Wi-Fi you can still use the Internet via standard Wi-Fi connection.  You can configure this setting using the Seagate Media App.

Unfortunately you cannot do this with your 3G/4G connection.

​Create the Wi-Fi Bridge 

​Connect to the standard Wi-Fi 

​Now you can use the Internet 

You can also change the AP Name, which by default is ‘Seagate Wireless QM3’.

​Edit Wireless Plus Name 

Change the name 

Finally you can secure your Wireless Plus Wi-Fi (so only you can access it) by setting up a Password.

​Setup Password

​Enter a Password

​Viewing and Streaming Media from the Wireless Plus

The Seagate Media app acts as media viewer and player for the Wireless Plus drive. You can get to the media files using the Preset Videos/Photos/Music/Documents folder from the main menu. These special folders give you some kind of organisation for your media files, such as by Albums or Day Taken for Photos; by Artists or Genre for Music; etc.

The Seagate Media app acts as media viewer and player for the Wireless Plus drive. You can get to the media files using the Preset Videos/Photos/Music/Documents folder from the main menu. These special folders give you some kind of organisation for your media files, such as by Albums or Day Taken for Photos; by Artists or Genre for Music; etc.

​Default Folders

​Video

​Photos

​Music

Alternatively you can go directly to browse them in explorer style. This way you will be shown folders and files as they are organised in the drive. This is my preferred method to access the files.

The good thing about the drive is that it can be accessed by more than one devices at the same time. You can even stream video to more than one devices at one time. This particular feature really has simplified content sharing.

The only drawback is that the Seagate Media app can only view or play a limited number of file types. Typically these are file types that are supported ‘natively’ by the host device (iOS or Android). So for example in an iPhone, you can play MP4 or H-264 encoded movie, but not MKV. But at least as far as photos concern, the app can view the standard file types like JPG, PNG and TIFF.

One way to go around this limitation is by connecting via VLC app, especially for Video files that can’t be played by the Seagate Media app (e.g. MKV). In VLC, you can connect the drive using uPnP protocol. This will allow you to navigate through the folders and play the video files. But because VLC is effectively a Video Player, it only works with Video files.

​Backing Up Files

One, probably the most important feature of having a Mobile Wireless Storage is the ability for us Mobile Photographers to backup our photos directly to the storage, hence creating more space to our mobile device’s internal storage, so that we can take more photos.

Essentially it’s like having an iPhone with 1TB storage!

The backup process is easy to do using the Seagate Media app. You can access the Photo Album from a menu in the front page of the app. From here you can navigate to the Camera Roll of any Photo Albums you have in the device. Select the photos you want to backup and choose the upload action. Done!

​Change to List View

​Select Local Folder

​Choose Edit Menu

​Edit/Action Menu

​Select Photos to Backup

​Choose Upload Action

​Saving Photos to Camera Roll

Getting photos from the drive and saving them back to our mobile device is as easy as navigating to the folder where the photos are saved in the drive, choose the photos to download (you can choose more than one) and select ‘Save to Camera Roll’ menu item.