Seagate GoFlex
Satellite Wi-Fi drive

EVEN IF you have a 64GB iPad I’m sure you’ve run out of space at least once. It’s so easy to fill up that space with videos, music, documents and apps. With many games now topping out over 1 GB each, you simply can’t have enough storage space. But what to do then, since Apple doesn’t allow for any memory expansion?

By Magnus Nystedt (PRODUCT REVIEW)

Published: Sat 31 Dec 2011, 11:52 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:04 PM

That’s where the Satellite comes in. It’s basically an external hard drive with Wi-Fi built in. You can connect to it from your iPad, iPhone or Android smartphone and tablet, and watch movies, copy documents, and more.

The built-in 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and battery makes the Satellite a bit chunkier than other 500GB external hard drives, but not annoyingly so.

Thankfully, Seagate has also put a USB connection on the Satellite so you’re not stuck with Wi-Fi, which is great for when you have lots of files or big files. Since it’s a part of Seagate’s GoFlex system you can just swap the interface for something more suitable. Presumably there will at some point be a GoFlex Thunderbolt interface, which would then increase the transfer speed.

Battery life according to Seagate is five hours of video playback and that is about right in my testing, perhaps a bit too optimistic if anything. You can charge with a regular AC adapter or the included car charger. Nice move there Seagate, including the car charger. Connecting to the Satellite is easy. Just turn the drive on and it starts up its own Wi-Fi network. With your mobile device you then connect to the Satellite and that’s it. Well, almost, because the final step is to download the free app, with which you then access the drive’s content.

The app works well, showing categories of content on the left, like Movies, Pictures, and Music. Then you just tap on what you want to watch or listen to, it’s that easy. The software seems a bit picky about what movie formats it will play back though. To be on the safe side you would convert videos into an iTunes-compatible format with something like Handbrake first, but then that’s extra work.

Something that I wish what the Satellite would let me do is open and save files from various apps on my iPhone or iPad, sort of like what I can do on my Mac. However, restrictions put in place by Apple in iOS are in the way of that happening, which is a shame especially for something like the Satellite. Seagate has done well working around those restrictions however to focus on the Satellite being a media-playback device.

Finally, please Seagate, make sure that we can connect to the Internet at the same time as we’re connected to the Satellite. That’s a critical flaw in an otherwise nice device.

For around Dh800 the Satellite is not cheap, if you count cost per gigabyte. But you would buy this drive for the Wi-Fi connectivity, not to use it just like a regular drive. And considering what the wireless functionality will allow you to do, the price is not too bad.

Magnus Nystedt @mnystedt

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