Samsung Wireless Mobile Media Streaming Device review: Best wireless mobile drive for Android
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.
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)
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|
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.
Out of the box, the Wireless is preformatted in NTFS for Windows and will work right away when you plug it in to a computer. You can reformat it into HFS+ to work with a Mac as a portable drive, if you want. The device doesn't come included with any software, and you don't need any for it to work, other than the Samsung Wireless mobile app, which, again, is available only for Android.
Note that any device connected to the Wireless' Wi-Fi network can use a browser to access its content. The Web interface resembles that of the Android mobile ap, but doesn't provide streaming or backup functionality. You can download a file and play it back locally, however.
Well-designed mobile app, excellent media support
When loading media content onto the Wireless, there's no need to organize it by folder. This is because, regardless of where you put the files, on the Samsung Wireless mobile app interface it's automatically organized into three categories: Video, Photos, and Music. In my testing, the organization took a very short time to complete, even when I put a lot of files on the drive. You can search for a particular file by name or browse the content by folder.
In all, the mobile app is very responsive and well designed. The most impressive thing about the app, however, is the variety of media types it can stream. Essentially, all popular media types are supported. For video, besides the types natively supported by the Android platform -- such as MP4 or MOV -- the Wireless supports other formats, including the open-source Matroska multimedia container (MKV). This is the first wireless drive that support this file type for streaming.
Generally, I didn't run into any multimedia file types that the Wireless didn't support. Note that the mobile app doesn't have a category for documents, but you can browse for them and open them using a third-party app.
Other than that, you can use the Samsung Mobile app to back up user-generated content from a tablet to the drive, similar to other wireless drives. You can also connect the Wireless to an existing Wi-Fi network and relay that network's Internet access to devices connected to the Wireless. This is a great feature when traveling and you want to share hotspot access between multiple devices.
As a portable drive, the Samsung Wireless did very well in my testing. Via USB 3.0, it registered sustained speeds of 109MBps for writing and 112MBps for reading. The drive also works with its USB 2.0 port, averaging around 30MBps.
As a mobile wireless drive, the Samsung Wireless worked flawlessly. Its Wi-Fi network was very easy to connect to, and it has an effective range of around 75 feet, more than enough for a mobile drive. Overall, the drive seems very well thought-out.
During extended use, the drive did get tend to get warm, especially on its underside. However, this is quite normal for a device of this type. It's recommended that you use it in the open, and not while leaving it in inside your bag.
As far as battery life, I was able to get close to 7 hours of continuous use with two devices connected to it.
This is the first wireless device that doesn't support iOS devices natively. That's too bad, given just how much I like it. If you're an Android fan, the Samsung Wireless Mobile Media Streaming Device is the best wireless mobile drive you can find. You'll need the mobile app to take the best advantage of its great video format support and backup functionality. Still, as a juice pack or a portable drive it works universally, and with these two functions alone, it's already worth the investment.
Nonetheless, fans of mobile media streaming who have iOS or Fire devices should check out either the Seagate Wireless Plus or the Corsair Voyager Air for better support.