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Hands on with Seagate's GoFlex Satellite

Storage space on the iPad 2 (and most other tablets) is limited to 64GB maximum. Without a USB port or an SD card slot, it's nearly impossible to add on room for more multimedia. Seagate's GoFlex Satellite is trying to fill this void.

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Topic: Tablets
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1 of 8 Rachel King/ZDNet

Storage space on the iPad 2 is limited to 64GB maximum. Without a USB port or an SD card slot, it's nearly impossible to add on room for more multimedia. Seagate's GoFlex Satellite is trying to fill this void.

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2 of 8 Rachel King/ZDNet

Included in the box are several useful parts. First and foremost, there is the 500GB wireless portable stroage device. Other accessories include the compact car charger, a USB to DC charger cable and a compact wall adapter with retractable pins.

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3 of 8 Rachel King/ZDNet

Considering it is USB 3.0-ready, there is also USB 3.0 USM adapter with a detachable cable. (Don't worry, the GoFlex Satellite is also USB 2.0 compatible). The port for the USB 3.0 transfer cable is hidden rather well behind a removable door at the bottom of the drive. Everything else is quite easy and intuitive to figure out.

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4 of 8 Rachel King/ZDNet

Straight out of the box, the GoFlex Satellite had a significant battery charge. There are two LED lights on the box: both should be green most of the time to signify the power is on and a signal is ready. One of the lights will illuminate in blue when actually streaming content. 

The battery life is fairly adequate with a maximum of five hours when continuously streaming HD video to one Wi-Fi-enabled gadget. That's enough for a cross-country or even a trans-Atlantic flight (depending on your starting and end points). That's also for HD video only, so if you're streaming music, looking at documents or photos, you can expect a lot more juice time.

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5 of 8 Rachel King/ZDNet

The GoFlex Satellite is a rather light portable HDD that feels about the same size as most other compact external hard drives these days. A good comparison would be Western Digital's My Passport SE for Mac. With the ice cream sandwich-like exterior, it fits in well with the design of most other current iOS mobile devices. 

However, don't let that fool you into thinking this is an iPad/iPhone-only accessory. Seagate is targeting this device at Android tablet and smartphone owners as well.

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6 of 8 Rachel King/ZDNet

Setting up the GoFlex Satellite with a tablet or smartphone turned out to be easier than I expected. Using an iPad 2, I simply went to the Settings menu and looked up wireless networks. The Satellite offers its own network and signal (at no additional cost) and all one has to do is select the network with the drive's name on it. It's couldn't get much simpler.

From there, users have to download the GoFlex Media app manager to sort through videos, photos, documents and music on the drive. To actually install information on the drive, users can either drag files over from a PC or Mac via 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi for using the included aforementioned cables.

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7 of 8 Rachel King/ZDNet

Although the GoFlex Media app is a bit plain, it's simple and easy to navigate. Users can access the files directly from the drive and initiate playback of content in the app, or even download select content to the tablet or smartphone's storage if space allows. 

Additionally, users can actually stream three different files (i.e. movies) to three different devices simultaneously. Naturally, this will drain the Satellite's battery faster, but it could make everyone happy when that flight is delayed and you're all sitting around the terminal bored without anything to do.

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8 of 8 Rachel King/ZDNet

Seagate's GoFlex Satellite is currently only being made with a 500GB 2.5-inch hard drive. With a price point of $199.99, that seems rather expensive considering how affordable 1TB and 2TB drives are getting these days. However, the reason to really buy this product is cord-freedom, which for avid tablet users and travelers might be a refreshing upgrade.

The iOS app is free and available to download from iTunes now. An Android app will be available in the Android Market later this summer.

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