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Features - more

Now on to the Android screen. Armed with my iOS knowledge I should be able to figure out Android right? Maybe. Here's the screen.

Seagate Media App Android Screen

Seagate Media App Android Screen

On Android, you click a circle with a check in it to upload. I guess they are in the same general area on the screen, but that's it. No upload wording, no consistent icons. I don't like it. I wouldn't have found the upload function if it weren't for the FAQs.

But that's the Seagate Media App, designed to be used with the Seagate Central, it's not the Central. For what it is, the Seagate Central works well. The features are sparse, but it's a "family NAS" aimed at being economical and easy to operate. On that feature list we have Remote Access, which lets you access the NAS files from anywhere using a web browser, without router configuration. You can see that in the image below.

There is also Seagate Media, which is basically the same thing, but with the Seagate Media app I mentioned above. Then there's also a DLNA server and an iTunes server. The Central also works with AirPlay. A nice set of features for the price.

Seagate Central Services Screen showing features

Seagate Central Services Screen showing features

What you don't get are the plethora of features you see on many other NASes and you also don't get much of an administration screen to see what's going. You can't see drive or enclosure temperature. It's also sort of confusing on how to get drive usage status. For example, in the next image you can see the drive information that is provided.

Seagate Central Disk Information Screen

Seagate Central Disk Information Screen

It took me awhile to realize that the pill shaped box next to the globe on the upper right was not a search box, but instead a bar graph of disk usage. The average home user may not even check disk usage status anyway.

Performance

The Seagate Central is not a screamer when it comes to performance, but then again, it's not designed to be. The benchmark summary below shows the key indicators of the Seagate Central performance. It was tested with firmware version 2013.0321.0162 using our standard NAS test process.

Seagate Central Benchmark Summary

Seagate Central Benchmark Summary

Write and read speeds are not evenly matched, with reads running about 2X write. The Windows File Copy benchmark produced 18 MB/s write and 34 MB/s read, while the Intel NASPT Filecopy benches came back with 18 MB/s write and 55 MB/s read.

For a competitive look, I used the NAS Finder to generate a custom comparison of a few single-drive diskful NASes we have in the Charts database.

I simply compared it to the other 1-bay NASes we have in the Finder, namely the WD My Book Live, Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive, Cloud Edition and Buffalo CloudStor Solo.

Seagate Central File Copy Comparisons

Seagate Central File Copy Comparisons

The Central clearly trends toward the bottom of the comparison. The interesting thing about this group of NASes is that they all use different processors. The Seagate uses a 700 MHz Cavium Econa CNS3420, the Buffalo, a 600 MHz Marvell Kirkwood 88F6281, the Iomega a 600 MHz dual-core Oxford 7820 and the WD a 1 GHz Applied Micro APM82181.

Closing Thoughts

The Seagate Central is a good little device for simple centralized file storage, sharing and media serving. Current prices on Amazon get you the 2TB Central for $159 and free shipping. Upgrading to 3TB costs you just $10. Going to 4 TB costs $209, with free shipping. For the home user who isn't a power user, that is a very reasonable price. The features are sparse, but what is there works well. The Remote Access features with no router configuration are a big win.

The Seagate Media App still frustrates me, mostly from the lack of consistent interface, but it's workable as is. The Seagate Dashboard is a very big download that either needs to lose some weight or come with the Central, I'd vote for the former.

If you want more features, you're better served with something like a QNAP TS112. But, it also has a bigger price tag. You'll pay about the same price for a diskless TS112 as you do for 2 TB Seagate Central. If you want to stay below $150 for 2 TB of storage, you might look at the WD My Book Live, currently about $135. Note, however, that the WD has no USB port. It can, however, back up entire snapshots of its contents on a scheduled basis to any network share.

For the home user who just wants to stream media, back up their devices and maybe access some files remotely every now and then, the Seagate Central is worth a look.

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