Hardware, Reviews

Review: Seagate Central


Today we are taking a look at Seagate Central. Seagate Central is Seagate?s entry into the affordable consumer-grade home NAS market. It comes in three configurations: 2 TB at $169.99 (model STCG2000100), 3 TB at $189.99 (model STCG3000100), and 4 TB at $229.99 (model STCG4000100) (prices are as offered on Seagate.com).

The Seagate Central device has quite a nice look to it. The front is a good looking carbon color, and the rest of the device is covered in a black plastic mesh which helps keep it cool. It has a blue status light on the top, but due to the mesh grille, it is difficult to see unless looking straight down at Central, so it won?t bother users in the dark.

We received the 2 TB Central for review, specifications below:

Dimensions ? 8.5" x 5.7" x 1.7"

Weight ? 2.2 lbs.

Package Contents ?

  •         Seagate Central shared storage

  •         Ethernet cable

  •         Power supply

  •         Quick start guide

System Requirements ?

  •         Router with an available Ethernet port (Wi-Fi router required for wireless file access and backup)

  •         Windows® 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista®, or Windows XP

  •         Mac OS® X 10.5.8 or later

  •         Internet connection for activation and online file access and sharing

  •         Internet Explorer® 7, Firefox® 3.x, Chrome 4.x, Safari® 3, or later Web browsers

Supported Devices for the Seagate Media App ?

  •         iPad, iPhone, iPod touch running iOS 4 or later

  •         Tablets and smartphones running Android 2.2 or later

  •         Samsung Smart TV or Blu-ray Disc player with Smart Hub (2012 model or later)

Hardware Specifications ?

  •         Drive Capacity: 2TB, 3TB, or 4TB

  •         Drive Format: NTFS

  •         Network Connectivity: One 10/1000 Ethernet port

  •         USB Connectivity: One USB 2.0 port for connecting external storage devices to the Seagate Central device.

Installing Central is quite easy; one can just plug it into their router and be on their way. It can immediately be used to store files, stream video/music to DLNA playback devices, and set up automatic backups for computers using the Seagate Dashboard application for Windows or Time Machine for Mac OS X. Users can also take advantage of the USB port on Central in order to plug in additional storage, this also make transferring files from an external drive to/from Central much easier.

In order to fully take advantage of Central, one must create a user. This will allow them to do Facebook automatic backups, store/share private data (requiring a password to access), and to remotely access data. Creating a user is quite simple, just fill out the forms and the process is complete.

Accessing data remotely is also simple. The user can login using a mobile application, or onto the web application at https://remoteaccess.tappin.com/login and have access to all their files. Users can also share individual files or folders with family or friends by clicking share on the menu for that file and entering their email address, thereby sending them a direct link to that file/folder.

One downside of the current system is that remote access can only have 5 authenticated users with logins unless they pay for more ?seats?. Also, power users might be put off by the fact that there is no built in FTP or SFTP access. However, Central runs on a Linux base and one could easily set it up for FTP if they chose to by accessing Central remotely using the shell.

According to one savvy reviewer on Amazon, users can expect speeds of 45 MB/s over FTP and 1.5 MB/s for SSL enabled FTP (likely referring to sequential read speeds).

We tested Central over the network using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.2 64 bit and achieved sequential reads of 51 MB/s and writes of almost 42 MB/s.

Overall, we were quite pleased with Seagate Central. It provides a great and affordable home NAS, allowing users to backup their information and store and share data/content over their home network. It also adds value by providing remote access, though we would have preferred to see it available through SFTP rather than limited to mobile/web applications. However, we understand that Central is aimed at the mainstream consumer who would be more comfortable navigating a simple mobile/web application rather than remotely accessing their data through SFTP. At a street price of $159.99, 2 TB is quite reasonably priced for Ethernet based storage, and we happily recommend it to both consumers who need affordable and easy network storage as well as Linux/Unix savvy consumers who want to tinker with Central.

For this reason we would like to give Seagate Central our Mainstream Value award for providing great value and a useful, user friendly feature set.