Seagate Wireless Plus: Hard drives built for the road

In the materialistic world of gadgets it’s important to remember that you can’t take it with you when you go. The world of portable storage however, begs to differ and Seagate’s new Wireless Plus mobile storage device even wants to bring your friends and family to the party.

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I’ve always enjoyed companies innovating around limitations. Modern tablets and smartphones have very limited storage (although I’m writing this the day the 128GB iPad was launched) and rather than be confined by this, a new breed of Wireless hard drives that expands storage options has flourished. In the same way I’m hoping that the switch to Lightening ports on iPad will jumpstart a new wave of AirPlay and Bluetooth docks.

Seagate’s new Wireless hard drives are designed with sharing in mind and up to eight smartphones or tablets can wirelessly stream content. The 1TB drive has space for up to 500 high definition movies and a 10 hour battery life which is great for long road trips or flights, when you can’t access the streaming magic of platforms like Bloom.fm, Spotify and Netflix. So you can watch Tron even when you are off the grid.

The drive has a removable SperSpeed USB3.0 adapter loading your content should be quick and painless. There’s also an app (I type that 4 times a week) that works with iOS, Android and Kindle Fire HD devices. And if you have bigger plans, content stored on the Wireless Plus can be viewed on proper screens using an app designed specifically for Samsung Smart TV (2012 onwards) and Blu-ray players.

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Seagate Wireless Plus mobile storage is available from £169.99.

Seagate GoFlex Cinema: Helping your TV multitask

The TV seems to be the focus for many a technology company at the moment, and Seagate is the latest to turn its attention on the old gogglebox as a means for watching not only EastEnders and endless repeats, but also for all your digital multimedia content.

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I guess it makes sense to bring all your entertainment into one space and make the whole experience more sociable, rather than sitting alone in front of the computer screen. So, welcome the GoFlex Cinema multimedia drive.

This new high-capacity drive “is designed to transform the television into a digital media centre,” says Seagate.

So what can you do with the GoFlex? Well, first, you can play back most video formats (including MKV, H.264 and MP4,) in 1080p HD quality, and you can view your digital photos this way too. What’s more, you can load content onto the drive without having to go through your computer (really handy if your laptop is like mine and crammed full of content already).

So, to watch your latest holiday snaps when you get home, just connect your digital camera direct to the drive, and use the remote control to drive the slide show. If there’s not enough space you can upgrade to a higher-capacity GoFlex Desk drive.

If you are a bilingual computer user and use both a PC and Mac, the good news is that the GoFlex drive is compatible with both Windows and MacOSX.

The 1TB model costs around £130, while the 2Tb and 3TB modesl are selling for around £164 and £191 respectively on Amazon.

More details at Seagate

Latest Gadgets at IFA 2011: Best of the best part two

IFA 2011 had too many gadgets for one article so I’ve split this into a two-parter. And we will of course be looking in great depth at many of the announcements from the past few days in coming articles.

Bird-Speakers

Gavio – a leading lifestyle brand I’ve never heard of caught my eye with their Wrenz decorative speakers. Using a simple 3.5 mm jack they can accept sound from most devices and also play nicely with Bluetooth. You can daisy chain them as well if you so desire. But most importantly they look like ridiculously cute birds.

Seagate sat me down to play with their Wireless hard drive for iOS devices. Even the largest iPad maxes out at 64Gb and streaming things from the cloud and eat up horrific amounts of data (I speak as someone who has been both throttled and cut off by O2 after “excessive” podcast listening) so their little pocket hard drive which can boost your iDevices storage to 500GB is pretty neat. Of course it’s not perfect – Apple did an amazing job of abstracting the file system away on the iPad and this brings it right back to the fore. And you only seem to be able to deal with media from the world of the hub – I could view a photo stored on the HDD, and even download it to the device but there didn’t seem to be a way to interact with it in the wider world of my iPad – editing images with the Photoshop express app for example or using stored video footage on the hard drive to make a short montage in iMovie. I’m sure a software update is being penned as we speak.

Logitech-Keyboard

Logitech’s fold up iPad keyboard was a marvel of engineering. Unlike most iPad keyboard cases, which are forced to use the iPad’s 9.something” screen as limit for keyboard size – and therefore constraining the keyboards to cramped, hard-to-type-on devices, Logitech have created a super clever hinge mechanism the gives you a large and satisfying chic-let keyboard. And when you are done typing, it hides away behind your iPad case.

Skech

Another iPad keyboard case that caught my eye was this one by Skech that had a removable magnetic Bluetooth keyboard that you could reposition for your comfort. We should have a review coming soon.

As you’d expect, premium TV Loewe manufacture had some high-need eye candy to induce some serious jealousy among the crowds. With the Loewe Pivot, the pivoting 21:9 format wide screen automatically positions itself horizontally or vertically – as usage requires. In this way, the multimedia TV can serve as an information terminal or an exclusive home cinema system, for example in a business scenario. And with the help of screen art, it can also create a uniquely individual atmosphere.

The Loewe Module study on the other hand focuses on the way in which “young people” use different media in parallel. Whilst racing on a virtual track on the main screen, a simple glance at the adjacent screen affords contact with other players or an overview of friends’ latest posts on facebook. I’ve envy anyone with the concentration to pull this off.

My favourite was the Loewe Mirror, which creates wholly surprising, almost magical effects – such as virtual leaves swirling around the mirrored wall. You can also just start at yourself in the shiny surface and think “I bought this“.

Seeing hundreds of gadgets in the same room you sometimes get a little blasé so it’s good to occasionally be amazed by something. Hands down the best thing I saw was the Samsonite Micro Scooter luggage case, which is as the picture shows, a suitcase with a scooter attached. Maybe if I hadn’t been lugging my hand luggage around a busy conference centre I wouldn’t have been quite so enamoured with the idea but at the time it looked like the greatest invention in since the wheel, was the wheel with a cabin-safe bag attached.

Seagate GoFlex Slim hard drive

How many files are clogging up your space on your laptop? Applications, programs, movies and music. They all take up valuable space especially bluray movies. A lot of people combat this problem by having a portable drive. The benefits of this are not only having space freed up but files on the go. Visiting a friend? No problem, plug a portable drive to their HD TV and show your favourite movie which they criminally missed.  The problem is the drives can sometimes be heavy, especially terabyte drives. Enter the Seagate GoFlex Slim.

GoFlex-Slim-Drive

The first thing you notice about the GoFlex Slim is how tiny it is. It really lives up to its name. At a super-svelte 9mm, it is about as wide as a wide a pen. Think of this as the supermodel of portable drives. It has a 7200 RPM drive and USB 3.0 interface which gives faster transfer speeds than USB 2.0. Mac users, do not feel left out as you can use the GoFlex Slim for Mac without formatting or loss of performance. Backup software is included and provides automatic and continuous backups and encrypts files and folders. You can easily sync files between your computer and drive so transporting files is easy as pie.

Tablets and sleek laptops may be the rage right now but the storage can sometimes be a problem. You may use the cloud or a network to access your content. Would it be easier to plug and play from a portable drive?

The size is an average 320GB. I would have liked a bit more or even various size options. But then it would not be so slim so I have to grit my teeth and compromise. If I am really honest do I really need to carry around any more memory than 320GB? You can get the GoFlex Slim for £79.99 now.

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex USB 3.0 1.5TB Hard Drive review

Portable Hard Drives aren’t the sexiest of gadgets, but until we manage to move everything into the cloud (which is slowly becoming a Dropbox-based reality) physical hard drives are with us. I don’t use USB keys anymore as it’s pretty easy to move small documents around from my desktop to my smartphone or my tablet (for the second time in this paragraph I have to give a shout out to Dropbox?). But media files are a little different. Since the advent of HD (and HD encoded matroksa files) file sizes of over 7GB or more are not uncommon.

GoFlex-USB3

The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex is the world’s first (according to Seagate) 1.5TB ultraportable hard drive. The same size as most other portable hard drives, the FreeAgent GoFlex gives you a massive amount of potential in your pocket. If you use RAW files or HD or general creative media work … or even if you just use a lot of high quality media whilst on the go, then these drives are amazingly useful and 1.5TB is actually a decent amount of storage for semi-professional use.

Even more exciting, the GoFlex has a USB 3.0 connection. A drive using a USB 3.0 connection can transfer a 25GB file in under five minutes versus the 14 minutes it would take using a traditional USB 2.0 drive Based on an average transfer rate of 30MBs for USB 2.0 and 100MB for USB 3.0. Although if you have a Mac, feel free to stare wistfully at your USB 2.0 ports and rue The Steve’s decision to forbid you the joys of USB 3.0. And try not to think about the lack of BluRay either. However, the magic of the GoFlex system means you can swap out the leads for *whatever* lead you want. And by whatever, I mean firewire 800 or e-sata. But that is still amazing.

All 1.5TB GoFlex ultra-portable drives are compatible with both the Windows® operating system and Mac® OS X computers. Each drive includes an NTFS driver for Mac, which allows the hard drive to store and access files from both Windows and Mac OS X computers without reformatting. The NTFS driver is simply installed once on the Mac® OS X computer, allowing it to read and write files on a Windows formatted3 drive.

The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex USB 3.0 1.5TB hard drive is amazing. Get one.