Seagate Backup Plus Portable Drive Hardware Review

Seagate Backup Plus Portable Drive Hardware Review

Jun 12, 2014

Seagate is making strides in the mobility space, and its Backup Plus Portable Drive is another sign of this goal.

This drive really, really has mobility on its mind. Size-wise, it comes in at 4.4×2.9×0.4 inches, and comes in a host of colors. We got to review the blue unit, which comes with a proprietary cable and desktop software pre-loaded.

In its overt purpose, the Backup Plus does just fine. It works great at a USB hard drive, and is able to offload or unload data back and forth from Windows computers. When connected to, say, a laptop in conventional fashion, it appears as a mapped drive, and drag and drop/copy and paste operations are seamless. It installs the Seagate Dashboard unto the host device, which acts as a management tool.

Now, where it wants to excel (and, as underscored by its size) is the ability to be a mobile resource. When paired with the companion Seagate Backup Android app, it allows specific data to be transferred wirelessly from mobile devices, as long as the drive is connected physically to a laptop or desktop on the same wi-fi network. Additionally, it is possible to sync via Dropbox and/or Google Drive via 3G and 4G. In this way, even if one is away from trusted wi-fi, one can still have some piece of mind if using the Android app. As an added feature, it’s possible to save data from Flickr, YouTube and Facebook.

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The app (like the Dashboard Desktop Manager) allows for scheduled backups to occur, but for specific types: photos, videos, contacts, call log, messages and music. Scheduled backups can also be set here.

The biggest thing I would have liked is the ability to wirelessly send all type of files via the companion app. The ability to move media, messages and such is great functionality, but I would have loved to be able to move other data packets to and fro. The need to be tethered is a bit of a drawback, and it could have been somewhat alleviated by mobile OTG protocol, but the proprietary connection complicates that potential solution.

To be fair, Seagate does have the Wireless Plus, which is a great mobile option, and as such, this is clearly developed as a tethered solution with cloud compatibility.

It mostly does this very well.

A look at the refreshed Seagate Wireless Plus External Drive

A look at the refreshed Seagate Wireless Plus External Drive

Jun 5, 2014

When we looked at the first iteration of the Seagate Wireless Plus, we thought it was an excellent idea that needed a bit of polishing to fully capitalize on its potential. Well, Seagate has been a-polishin’ of late, and the result is a refreshed Wireless Plus line with different capacities, and some new features that should endear it to the mobile masses.

To reprise, the Wireless Plus is a storage drive that is able to create a wireless connection with a compatible mobile device; in this way, the connected smart device can then access data stored on the Wireless Plus seamlessly. One great usage idea is for accessing movies; streaming them from the portable accessory eases the data burden on the smart device, and has the added benefit of being able to stream to multiple devices.

The re-imagined Wireless Plus comes in three flavors now, 500 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB (we got to look at the 2 TB). It retains the same grey look of the original, with the same LED layout. The connector cover is gone though, replaced with a simple proprietary USB port. This port also supplants the dedicated power port, which is also gone. In the box is a matching USB cable, a USB wall socket and documentation.

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The user experience is much improved, with a more consistent streaming process and interface with the companion app (which has been refreshed as well). I absolutely love the new cloud compatibility, which allows for syncing and access to Dropbox and Google Drive. Uploading and downloading can be performed wirelessly and traditionally via cable.

I like the consolidation of the sync and power functions… it just makes sense. I don’t like the proprietary port, but think the added functionality of the newer models makes that easier to swallow. I still found some wonkiness when the device is in the presence of multiple wi-fi sources, but this is really fixed by connecting concurrently with a trusted wi-fi source.

We really liked the original, but the updated hardware and software bring the Wireless Plus closer to being all that it can be. It’s still just as portable, and even more useful.

Paragon NTFS and HFS+ for Android Makes Using External Hard Drives Easy

Paragon NTFS and HFS+ for Android Makes Using External Hard Drives Easy

Sep 7, 2012

Paragon NTFS and HFS+ for Android is a free utility that is designed to make it easy for Android users to access external hard drives that are formatted with NTFS and HFS+ file systems. While it's possible for some rooted Android devices to access FAT drives easily, there are limitations to this file system, particularly with file sizes, that do not exist in those. So, what Paragon's app does is to make it easy to mount and unmount drives that are formatted in NTFS and HFS+, allowing Android devices to access the files on them. Have a video collection to access on a tablet while on the go? This free-as-beer app will do the job. This is perfect for Android-powered HTPCs/media boxes, and could even be used on something like the APC.

Paragon NTFS and HFS+ for Android cannot be used by every device. It requires a rooted device with a kernel that has the FUSE kernel module – CyanogenMod roms should include this module, however. The app is available for free from Google Play.