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BW Businessworld

More In Store: Seagate's Wireless Plus and Central

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Media storage is a no-brainer these days — you buy a hard disk based on capacity and budget and dump all your movies, music and documents on it. It's really media usage — how you access all your movies, TV serials, music and documents from everywhere — which is fast becoming a more important problem to solve, what with gadgets of all shapes and sizes — smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and media players — cropping up all over the home. With its Wireless Plus and Central devices, Seagate's got some interesting answers to this challenge.
The Wireless Plus is a massive upgrade of Seagate's GoFlex Satellite series of wireless hard drives - this time, it packs in a 1 terabyte hard drive with a built-in battery, media server, and Wi-Fi router so you can access videos, photos, and music directly on your smartphone/tablet or any other device which doesn't have a USB port, when you're out and about. In fact, you can connect up to eight devices at a time and stream HD video to three of them simultaneously - of course, doing so will take a toll on the claimed ten-hour battery life. When you're back home, the included adapter lets you connect directly to your laptop/PC over USB 3.0.
Now, while this device connects directly with Android devices and allows you to move files back and forth at will, you'll have to use the Seagate apps on iOS devices to stream or copy media to and from this device. Pity it can't backup an iPad or let you copy files from third party apps onto the drive, but that's more to do with Apple's restrictions than Seagate's. Within the app, you'll see your media on a built-in player, and if you don't want to watch movies on your mobile device, Wireless Plus is also compatible with Apple TV, and Samsung Smart TV support is expected soon.
Now, what if you're looking to access movies on the device and check your email via a wireless connection? Sensibly, the Wireless Plus can route the Internet by connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot and route the connection to your tablets/phones/laptops by acting as a router. You can manage the Internet connection through the Seagate media app on your phone or tablet.
Accessing the drive from my iPad, and between my Mac/PC and the drive is smooth but unfortunately, you can't delete files using the Wireless Plus app or through the browser interface. To delete files, you have to connect the drive to your computer using the included USB 3 connector. Streaming media files from the drive to my iPad were smooth, but file transfer speeds take a hit when over wireless, more so if you have multiple devices trying to copy data over the wireless connection. Net, if you plan to transfer data from the PC to the drive when you're out and about, save yourself some bother and carry the USB cable.
So, is it worth the princely asking price? As a hard drive alone? No. As a 1 TB storage upgrade to your tablet for a frequent commuter? Most certainly! The Wireless Plus is a great alternative to hotel in-room movies, as well as a way to keep the kids entertained on a multi-hour journey in the car.
If you're not so much the travelling type, the Central may be a better bet for you. It's a network attached storage for your home that allows streaming to any device compatible with the DLNA standard — that's plenty of current generation smart TVs as well as computers and mobile devices (directly, or via an app). Available in 2, 3 and 4 TB variants, Central has to be connected to your wireless router via a wired connection and features one USB port for you to connect additional storage such as your existing external hard drives. Once on your home network, it can stream/share videos, pictures, music and documents to all your devices, and backup your PCs and if you configure it to, your Facebook photos as well.
Rating: Wireless Plus: 8/10, Central: 8/10
Price: WP: Rs 16,000, Central: Rs. 10,500 (2TB) onwards

Royally Delayed
LG's seen some tough times in the smartphone space for the past couple of years, and it's really only been the partnership with Google for the Nexus 4 where the company has shown some innovation. With its much delayed Optimus G, LG's certainly priced the device right, but how does it fare in the ultracompetitive super-phone space?
The hardware checks off the right boxes - this phone's rocking a quad-core Qualcomm S4 Pro processor and a generous 2GB of memory, with 32GB of storage. With Android 4.1 Jellybean, the experience of using the phone was impressive, with nary a lag when launching or switching between apps, or playing HD videos. The 1280x768 pixel 4.7-inch IPS+ LCD display doesn't disappoint either, and battery life is good for a full day's use, which is as good as these super-phones get these days. The camera is average fare to be honest, even though it packs in an insane 13 megapixels.
Had this phone been launched six months ago, it could have been a real contender. Today, the Samsung Galaxy S III has dipped below the Rs 30,000 mark and packs in a removable battery and memory expandability to boot. To be fair, the LG does offer newer hardware, but with a slew of newer devices are just around the corner, I suspect it will be a case of 'too little too late' with this otherwise competitively specced phone.
Rating: 8/10
Price: Rs 34,500

It's A Keeper
In a world full of note-taking apps, what does Google's version - Keep - bring to the table? The digital memo app allows users to make lists, jot down notes, record voice reminders and save photos to the app. This being a Google services means that once uploaded, each note is stored on Google Drive and is synced between all Google linked devices so you can access them anywhere. If all of this sounds suspiciously like one of my favorite note-taking tools Evernote, that's because it is! Except that Evernote is a far more mature and full-featured an app at the moment, with greater platform support and better tagging and organisation capabilities. Not to mention one of my favorite Evernote features - the ability to recognize photographed text and convert into searchable text. For those with simple note taking and memo requirements, Keep may work, but an Evernote killer it is not.

technocool at kanwar dot net
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