Seagate's finally launching its GoFlex Satellite 500GB drive in Australia for $219. I spent some hands-on time with Seagate's media drive. Is it worth getting all that excited about an external drive?
We've known about the GoFlex Satellite for some time now -- it launched in the States back in May. Today Seagate launched them in Australia, which means we haven't had to wait for the Android app; this is an external hard drive that'll hook up with iOS or Android devices with equal aplomb.
The GoFlex Satellite sets itself up as its own wireless access point, which has no security out of the box but can support WPA security via a configuration utility. The one obvious downside here is that you'd have to flick between Wi-Fi sources for non-3G tablets if you were watching a movie and then wanted to browse the web; there's no way to set the Satellite as a bridging device for your network.
I hit some interesting network issues while testing, but to be fair, there were more than a dozen different Satellites being tested with multiple journalists in the house -- or in other words, this might not work that well if you're in a really busy Wi-Fi environment.
Trying to connect three devices at once, with varying levels of success.
Seagate supplies applications for Android and iOS. The iOS app is universal, meaning it'll work across both iPad and iPhone, and while (predictably) the Android application isn't quite as pretty as the iOS one, it at least appears to work well enough on Honeycomb tablets -- or at least did on the Xoom I tested it on. The catch here is file format support; while the Satellite supports WMV technically, there's no support on board the iPad, so it won't run them there. The Android app has wider file support, but seems a little clunkier; screen rotation for still didn't work on the Xoom, but did on the iPad.
The key thing for this kind of device will clearly be battery life. Seagate claims that it’s capable of up to five hours of continuous data streaming to a single user, or 25 hours of standby time. Not quite long enough for the entire Lord Of The Rings trilogy, but just about enough for the worthwhile entries in the Star Wars series...