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With an overseas trip coming up, the iPad and its non-expandable storage wasn’t going to be able to keep me entertained during several long flights. Besides, converting a ton of video files and transferring them over to the iPad seems to take forever. Luckily, Seagate has my back. Their GoFlex Satellite stores a ton of media, and it can stream in iPad-friendly formats over its own Wi-Fi network.
The GoFlex Satellite is a 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive contained in a shiny black enclosure with 802.11 b/g/n capabilities. In keeping with the wireless theme, GoFlex Satellite is also battery powered, streaming for up to five hours on a single charge. It connects to any iOS or Android device via Seagate’s free GoFlex Media app, which has a few kinks to work out. At times, version 126.96.36.199 of the app was unresponsive or unable to load a video file without a restart.
As for the Seagate Media Sync desktop software, it’s total bloatware -- you can drag and drop whatever you want onto the drive in the Finder, so why bother to ever use it? Unfortunately for Mac users, the Satellite is formatted as an NTFS volume. That means it’ll work cross-platform, but you’ll have to take the additional step of installing the included Paragon NTFS software on your Mac to be able to read and write to the drive.
According to Seagate, the drive can handle up to three streams at a time. We tested this by streaming to an iPhone 4, a fourth-gen iPod touch, and an iPad. The iPod touch struggled to keep up at first, but the stuttering quickly faded as the buffer caught up. Besides those initial stumbles, the viewing experience was fine on all three devices.
Since the Satellite creates its own network, your devices can access it up to 150 feet away -- perfect for car trips and families who get separated on a plane. It’s easy to connect devices, but unfortunately you can’t add a Satellite to an existing network, so you’ll have to choose between streaming from the drive or connecting to the internet.
The bottom line. If your media library has outgrown your iPad, the GoFlex Satellite can let you take anything and everything with you.
GoFlex Satellite 500GB
Mac OS 10.5.8 or later, iOS 3.2 or later
Works up to 150 feet away. Speedy buffering. Streams to three iOS devices at one time.
Desktop software is bloatware. Requires NTFS software to mount drive on a Mac. Battery life isn’t ideal for super long trips.