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Wi-Fi hard drive showdown: Corsair Voyager vs. Seagate Wireless Plus

Jon L. Jacobi | April 15, 2013
A new class of portable hard drive creates its own Wi-Fi hotspot, so you can stream media or transfer files from a PC, notebook, tablet, or smartphone without a cable. Which one's best?

Seagate claims up to 10 hours of battery life for the Wireless plus, but qualifies it heavily. The drive ran for a considerably shorter period of time--four hours--streaming a high-bit rate video. This is an admittedly extreme scenario, and you'll get better life with shorter movies and more typical usage. The status light on the top of the unit turns red when it's time to recharge, but Seagate does not specify how much charge remains after that. I got about 30 minutes, but you might not.

As with Corsair's Voyager, the Wireless Plus automatically turns off its wireless hotspot when you hardwire the drive to your PC's USB port. But unlike Corsair's drive, I had to reboot the Seagate drive in order to reestablish a wireless connection. The wireless hotspot was visible to my laptop, but it would not connect to it. Another oddity: The drive is hard-coded to use Wi-Fi channel 5. This could be a problem if there are other networks in the area using the same channel (although most people set up their 2.4GHz routers to use one of the three non-overlapping channels available in that spectrum: Channels 1, 6, or 11). Still, there's really no good reason to prevent the user from operating the hotspot on a channel other than 5.

Seagate's Wireless Plus is a quality product. It costs $20 less than the rival 1TB Voyager Air. The absence of an ethernet port means it's not as versatile, but the Voyager Air lacks a DLNA server and a web portal.

 

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