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CES 2013: Seagate

Posted by: John at 1/8/2013 7:30 PM
Seagate had two items that I was really interested in this year at CES. The successor to the GoFlex Satellite, the Wireless Plus, made its debut at the show. Seagate has went and shaved  1mm off the thickness of the device but improved on many things.
 
Space has been doubled from 500GB to 1TB. That gives you plenty of room to hold some HD video as well as all your music and photos you want to share.
 
Battery life has been doubled at 10 hour for HD streaming. That's a lot of time to stream some high quality movies to your mobile device. Testing in their labs has shown that it can support up to 3 HD streams pretty well. There's no restrictions to trying to do more streams, but 3 seems to be the optimum amount for good quality. Of course, you can stream to more devices should you opt to go for lower quality standard definition video, but for those wanting just HD, 3's your number.
 
The Wireless Plus still acts as a hotspot for 8 devices and can share a single Internet connection amongst them. Seagate has gone and made some nice easy to follow instructions should you want to make funnel all the traffic through it.
 
Seagate has gone and improved on the iOS and Android app to be more robust. You can now wirelessly copy files to the device, something the GoFlex Satellite couldn't do. The interface to the app is pretty intuitive with the app aggregating all your videos, pictures, and files into one nice easy view. For those that want the folder view, it's there at a touch of a button. 
 
For videos, the app will let you choose the app to play them should you have a third party video app installed. That's nice for folks like me who record shows in WTV format from Windows 7 Media Center and want to have it play back on their Android device using MX  Player. 
 
If you're interested in streaming to other devices without using the app, Wireless Plus is DLNA certified so TVs, computers, media players, whatever can use DLNA will be able to stream from the Wireless Plus as well.
 
I've been an avid user of the GoFlex Satellite and I'm excited to see the follow up. It's smaller, sleeker, more powerful, and more space at the same price point.
 
For consumers who want a NAS like device but don't want to set things up, the Seagate Central is for you. Seagate's going so far as to not even call it at NAS. 
 
Central comes in three flavors: 2TB, 3TB, and 4TB. It's so easy to setup and install. There are three connections in the back: a power connector, ethernet, and USB. Once plugged in, you can use Seagate's app to set it up or just use the web interface. There's a public area and a private area for each user you put on the Central.
 
Seagate's software can setup auto back up routines whereby it will do a full backup initially and then do incremental backups there after. If you are a Time Machine user, Central's compatible for you guys as well. It makes doing backups pretty simple for those who might not be as tech savvy.
 
Central's going to be great as a streaming server as well.Seagate's gone and created a SmartTV app for Samsung TVs (others soon as well) where it can automatically find videos, photos, and music to stream. The interface will let you search and sort for items on the Central hard drive. It's also DLNA compliant so it can stream to many other devices as well.
 
For mobile devices, Central shares the same application as the Wireless Plus letting mobile users access to the files. And, if you're on the go, you can even use the software to copy files to Central, which is pretty convenient.
 
Seagate Central seems like a nice network storage device for those wanting something easy to setup to backup their files or stream media from. The three various size configurations can accommodate a lot of files and its ease of use should appeal to a lot of casual folks looking for something simple to use.
 
Seagate was also showing off their third generation hybrid drives. Now, you know I'm a big fan of Seagate's hybrid drives so it was good to see what they had in the pipeline. They had a 500GB 1 platter hybrid at 7mm for ultrabooks as well as a two platter 1TB 9 1/2mm drive.
 
Now, to show off some benefits for gamers, there was a demo station with two PlayStation 3s. One had a hybrid drive will the other had the standard PS3 HDD. An 11 hour Dragon Age session was saved on each one and a saved file was loaded on both at the same time. The one with the hybrid was able to load the game twice as fast as the one with the standard HDD. The Seagate rep was almost able to load the save game twice before the other one finished its first run. Pretty nice for those that want to save some time on the PS3 and it's easy to swap out HDDs on the system.
 
Seagate's got two nice products in both the Wireless Plus and the Seagate Central for storage and streaming operations. They also reaffirmed the benefits of a hybrid drive, this time for gamers on the console scene. I'm excited to try out Wireless Plus and see if Seagate Central would benefit me even though I have a pretty complete home network setup with Home Server.