Put all your data and multimedia files at one centralized place with the new “Seagate Central 4TB” hard drive, a powerful storage solution with simple connectivity features. Packed with features of media server, this hard drive is more than a basic LAN storage. Large 4TB storage size helps you to store whatever you want. There is no limitation of file size here. It is designed with simple features and settings, so that you do not require messing with the manual all the time. Within seconds you can hookup the drive on your LAN network and create free cloud storage for your own self. It also supports automatic data backup, social media archive, remote access and remote sharing. This time Seagate has not kept its external drive limited to a LAN network only. You can access and control the drive through web interface and modify the share settings. The best part here is that Seagate has designed a very easy to use interface. Settings are extremely simple and it is a kind of plug and play device. To use it instantly, just connect the drive to your router or switch via LAN cord. That’s all. The hard drive will appear in Network Places. The name is listed as Seagate-(with last 6 digit of Mac id), which is also printed on the backside of hard drive. There is a single light indicator on the top side of the body which remains red when there is no connectivity and turns green when it is active. The drive appears in three forms in the Network Places. As a Shared Space, as DLNA Server and a Storage Media. So there is no need to download any drivers or install any application to use it.
All you need to do is connect it properly. The drive works well on Windows and Mac Platform. It offers an organized way of dealing with multimedia data that you cannot carry every time. Also after a few while, those files consume a huge amount of space in the system hard drive. Adding it to the wifi router offers you wifi streaming support. It has separate app for iOS and Android devices. While there is nothing available for Windows Phone platform. Via Seagate Media App you can stream the content on your mobile phone and tablet while through Seagate Global Access app, you can remotely access the drive and modify it settings. Seagate Media App also supports Airplay. And along with this you can also configure automatic backup solution. Having a media server without backup is worthless.
Seagate Central 4TB comes in a very basic design. There is no power button on the front side. A simple enclosure is locked with internal hard drive. We are not really sure whether it uses a single 4TB drive or dual 2TB hard drive. The drive features a horizontal design. You can place it well near your Smart TV or near the router. In terms of weight it seems a bit heavy. The upper part is covered with plastic enclosure and ample of air ventilation. There is a light indicator on the corner. The led indicator is the only thing on the drive that tells you about connectivity. It turns green once it is detected on the network. At the backside there is a power cable, USB 3.0 port and Ethernet adapter. And there is nothing else on the body. I was expecting more stuff here. Like a proper set of led lights on the front side which can tell us about usage activity. At a time you can connect as many devices as you want, because things are operated through router or LAN switch. The hard drive itself is not having any kind of WIFI support, which specifies that it is dedicated to storage and streaming only. Due to lack of power button you have to turn it off manually or it remains on all the time.
The body features a complete black design. That is less attractive. Once placed properly near to your pc or smart TV it is hardly noticeable. Loaded with a performance drive, the output depends on the drive specification. When turned on you can feel the vibration in your hand that reflect a regular internet hard disk used inside it. I tried to locate the specification of the same, but WD has not officially listed anything about it. I hope there is a nice 7200rpm or higher hard drive used inside. A regular internal hard disk when used by more than 5 to 6 devices can cause performance issue. Result can be poor for the transfer speed. I had tested with 3 devices. Among which one was Tablet, second one was a Smartphone and third was a PC. I started to copy 50GB data in the hard drive and on the same time I was streaming a 1GB HD video on both the devices. It worked fine. The drive inside heats up which can be felt by touching the upper part of the enclosure.
There are two tools available by which you can use the hard drive. The first one is Seagate Central Dashboard which is a kind of web access panel that allows you to control everything about the drive. This page lies inside the hard disk. You can find that in the Public folder inside Network Places. The second application is Seagate Dashboard 2.0. which is a desktop utility that lets you add password, share files and save photos/videos from facebook. We will concentrate more on the first one – The web access panel of Central 4TB. Check the below screenshot. This page can also be accessed by typing the IP address of hard drive.
Here you begin with adding a user. If you want to limit the usage of hard disk you can create User Account. When you create a user account there is a separate folder created inside the hard drive. Whatever things are copied will be accessible only after typing the password. You can see those folders in the images below. There is a public folder here which remains open by default. Whatever copied in it, will be accessible through all via network or via Media App. Data copy is extremely simple. You just need to select your files and manually copy paste them in the hard drive. The transfer speed in the drive is great. It lacks an automatic sync feature. Automatic Sync here helps you to migrate your media library to the hard drive automatically. There are third party tools for that but I do not think that will be helpful. I was expecting this in the dashboard itself. A simple utility that can scan the entire hard drive for movies and music and sync them directly in the storage. For every user or folder created you can separately configure remote access. A separate password can be applied for those. We will check that later on.
There is a separate section available under Social Tab. Under this part you can add your facebook account. The drive automatically downloads all photos from your Facebook and locks it inside a folder. This is a bit effective for those who want to keep their photos uploaded at a single place. I do not think this feature is really great here. It only works with Facebook. Creating archive of all your photos uploaded on Facebook allows you to preserve your memories. You can access them whenever you want. To use it, you have to allow the Seagate app on Facebook page to access your profile info. It downloads everything on the basis of album and creates separate folders. There is no date available but the folders are saved on the base of album id created on facebook. Right now it works only with facebook. There are no other social networking platform that it supports.
Through Services you can enable and disable ample of options. You can see those in images below. If you do not want to access it through remote connection then you can disable it by clicking on Remote access. You can do the same for Seagate Media. Once turned off, video streaming via Seagate Media App will stop working. No content can be streamed on mobile phone. You can also turn off DLAN server and iTunes access through the same. Only iTunes settings here allows you to turn off settings. This can be good for professional usage.
The last section of Settings allows you to go with drive maintenance settings. You can update the firmware or simply restart the drive services as per your need. The settings column is very simple. It is not having any advance option. You can find the drive’s ip address or simply upgrade the firmware from here. I found the dashboard really basic. Keeping minimum settings, Seagate has kept everything straight forward. So as you can see Central 4TB features a very basic dashboard. It is designed with PHP and basic password protection. Somehow I did not find it much secure to keep your private data safe. Although it is enough to copy video file and create a kind of media server. It works fine with it.
MOBILE ACCESS :
One of the best features here is that you can use many devices on the same at a single time. The output on mobile and Smartphone is quite great. Remember that Seagate Media App is just a mobile dashboard. It does not come with integrated media player. Your device must have all codecs software installed to run different video format. For Android MX Player, it is one of the best choices. I had copied a huge amount of movies on it. They were mixed format consisting avi, mp4, divx, etc. The Media App displays everything but as I said it is just the access panel. You cannot play videos on it. This is one of the biggest problems with apple devices. Due to lack of good media player ample of video format does not work. You will need to update your system with required media players.
Seagate Media App comes with simple interface. Separate categories are provided on the top side. Files are sorted on the basis of Videos, Photos, Music and Documents. You can also find out the amount of space left. This is a basic application viewer which just acts as an explorer. Nothing special here. You cannot directly share your photos on social networking platforms. But there is an option available to download that photo from the Central 4TB to your phone or tablet. The transfer speed here depends on the internet connection. If you are on wifi then the speed is much better. At the top right you can see a tick mark button. Just tap on it and select different files. There is also a small download icon on the top menu. The files are downloaded inside Seagate Media folder created in the phone storage. Files are saved in different folders on the basis of file type.
There is one more application called as Global Access. First you will have to register on remoteaccess.tappin.com. The login details here can be later on used on the app to modify your drive settings and also to share files. You can directly upload something to the hard drive through this. It offers you a cloud storage type of feature. It does not matter whether your device is on the same wifi network or not. It works through internet. This is a bit effective solution here to backup files and photos whenever needed. Through Global Access you remain connected to the hard drive from any part of the world.
If you are looking for an extremely simple solution for media streaming or a kind of free media cloud server then have a look on the features of Seagate Central 4TB. To use the drive you need a network infrastructure. It is not on the go type of device. It is a fixed type of storage solution. If you own a smart TV then this can be an ideal chose for media streaming. Instead of spending separately on HTPC you can hook up Central 4TB and copy everything in that. It saves a lot of time and money. Compared to this Seagate also sells some portable hard drive with internal wifi chip. But device connectivity is limited on them. Seagate Central comes in 3 different storage sizes. They are 4TB, 3TB and 2TB. The cost of Seagate Central is Rs.17,449.00. That makes it a costly solution for a home theater system.
- Large Storage Space
- Easy to setup
- Media App for Android and iOS
- Remote accessibility
- Ideal for HTPC
- No Power On/Off Button
- Limited Dashboard feature
- Heats up quickly if used for long time with multiple devices.