Seagate GoFlex Satellite: iPad owners' delight

Read CNET editor Dong Ngo's take on the GoFlex Satellite portable drive, the first storage extender for mobile devices, announced on May 16, 2011.

The GoFlex Media app turns the iPad into a streamer of digital content stored on the GoFlex Satellite portable drive.
The GoFlex Media app turns the iPad into a streamer of digital content stored on the GoFlex Satellite portable drive. Dong Ngo/CNET

If you ask Steve Jobs what do to if you want to carry your entire digital library on your iPad--a library consisting of hundreds of gigabyte of data--he'd probably lower his voice and tell you how shiny the device is, point out that it's super thin, and remind you that the iPad offers 10 solid hours of battery life. And then you'd likely be so carried away by the magical Smart Cover that you'd forget your original question. You might even feel guilty for asking.

If you ask me, however, I have a more direct answer: the GoFlex Satellite, which Seagate announced today.

This is the latest in Seagate's GoFlex family of ultraflexible portable drives and, like the others, the Satellite has two separate parts: the drive and the adapter. You can keep the drive and change the adapter to make it work with all different types of connections, be it USB 3.0, FireWire, or eSATA. But this cool flexibility doesn't benefit owners of iPads, as the iPad has no peripheral ports at all.

The good news is that the Satellite is the first portable drive to also have a built-in Wi-Fi network and a battery. And most importantly for Apple product users, it includes an iPad app called "GoFlex Media" that works with other iOS devices, too. All you have to do is connect your iPad to this Wi-Fi network and run the app and you have access to the data stored on the drive. And it's stored in a very well-organized way with digital content categorized by types. You then can stream audio, videos (including HD content), and view photos and documents from up to 100 feet away from the drive. The app even allows for copying content on to the iPad itself in case you want to access it without the drive or when the drive's battery runs out.

The GoFlex Satellite's battery offers about 5 hours of operation and about 25 hours when idle. It also comes with a wall and a car charger, so you won't have to worry about it quitting before the iPad does when on the go. Its Wif-Fi network, unfortunately, for now, only supports three Wi-Fi devices at a time and doesn't allow for access to the Internet.

Despite the added Wi-Fi network and built-in battery, the GoFlex Satellite is about the same physical size as the GoFlex Ultraportable. It comes with a USB 3.0 adapter to work with a computer, and supports both PCs and Macs. With 500GB, most of you can really store your entire digital content library on it.

The device is available for purchase in July and slated to cost around $200. While this is comparatively more expensive than a portable drive of the same capacity, it's a great deal for owners of the storage-constrained iPad. Alternatively, in order to carry the same amount of data, you could buy approximately eight maximum-capacity iPads, which I am sure Steve would appreciate.

For more information on how the GoFlex Satellite performs, and less about Steve Jobs, check out the new drive's full review.

 

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