Samsung Wireless Mobile Media Streaming Device review: Best wireless mobile drive for Android

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.3
  • Design and setup: 8.0
  • Features: 9.0
  • Performance: 8.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:

The Good The Samsung Wireless Mobile Media Streaming Device has excellent support for every popular media format and works very well as a mobile media streaming server, a bus-powered portable drive, or a juice pack.

The Bad Other than Android, the Wireless' mobile app doesn't support other mobile platforms. There's no car charger included.

The Bottom Line The Samsung Wireless is the best mobile device for media streaming and data backup, but only Android users need apply.

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Only Android users will enjoy the full potential of the Samsung Wireless Mobile Media Streaming Device, but enjoy it they will.

The new device -- which is the latest in the increasingly popular area of wireless portable drives -- has the best support for video media formats I've seen. On top of that, it serves up fast performance, long battery life, and it can function as a juice pack. Technically it works with all mobile operating systems via a Web browser, but its native mobile app supports only Android. It lists for $179 in the US and £130 in the UK; pricing in Australia has yet to be announced.

If you're an Android user, I can recommend the Samsung Wireless heartily as an excellent accessory. On the other hand, if you have an iOS, a Kindle Fire, or a Windows 8 mobile device, there are others on this list of top mobile wireless drives that might be a more compatible investment.

samsungwireless-3.jpg
The Samsung Wireless can serve as a juice pack and includes a native app that's only for the Android platform. Dong Ngo/CNET

Same concept, different approach

The Samsung Wireless is not new. It's basically a 1.5TB, USB bus-powered, portable hard drive, and it works like one. However, it comes with a built-in battery and an embedded Wi-Fi network. When connected to a computer, while it's working as an external storage device, it also charges its battery. (It can also be charged with the included adapter.) When unplugged from a computer, the device can then function as a wireless storage device; it allows up to five Wi-Fi clients to connect to its Wi-Fi network. These clients can then stream content (photos, video, and music) that's stored on the drive, or use the drive's storage as the backup destination for user-generated content.

There have been many similar devices using the same concept, such as the Seagate Wireless Plus or the Corsair Voyager Air. In fact, the Samsung Wireless looks almost identical to the Seagate Wireless Plus, but it uses a Samsung hard drive on the inside. (Technically, Samsung's hard drive business has been part of Seagate since 2011.)

However, the Samsung Wireless is the first that, at least at launch, supports only the Android mobile platform -- all other wireless drives always try to support as many mobile platforms as possible. The Samsung is the first among mobile hard drives to serve as a juice pack, and with a 4,000mAh internal battery, it has more than enough juice to give most smartphones a full charge.

Drive type 2.5-inch external USB hard drive with internal Wi-Fi access point and battery
Connector options USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Dimensions

0.8 x 3.5 x 5.0 inches (19.9 x 89 x 126.5mm)

Weight

9.7 ounces (275g)

Apps included Samsung Wireless app for Android
Capacities / File system
1.5TB / NTFS
OSes supported Android, Microsoft Windows XP or later, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later
Battery capacity
4,000mAh
Maximum concurrent Wi-Fi clients supported Five
Warranty Three-year limited

Simple to use, three-in-one design

The Samsung Wireless is a three-in-one device. It can work as a mobile wireless drive, a bus-powered USB portable drive, or as a juice pack.

In one corner are located the Wireless' power button and a small blue status light. This light flashes when the drive is working as a wireless drive and stays solid green when it's working as a portable drive. On one side, it has a Micro-USB 3.0 B-female port that can be used to connect it to a computer or to the included power adapter. In either case, the drive will charge its internal battery. Next to this port is an A-female USB port, which can be used to charge other mobile devices.

And it's very easy to use. Just plug it into a computer using the included standard USB 3.0 cable -- it's now a portable drive. Unplug it from the computer and turn it on via its power button, and it becomes a wireless drive. Turn it off and plug a mobile device to its second USB port, and it's a juice pack.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Samsung Wireless Mobile Media Streaming Device

Part Number: HX-MTD15EQ
MSRP: $219.99 Low Price: $159.99 See all prices