Review: Seagate Personal Cloud

While Seagate Technology is better known for direct-attached hard drives over network-attached storage, it has a history of producing robust solutions for business. It’s Seagate BlackArmor NAS range has been protecting small businesses for many years, while the current Seagate NAS lines are available in both desktop and rack-mounted form factors. A Windows Server Essentials solution, the Seagate WSS NAS was released earlier in the year.

While the company strangely declined to send out that latter model to us for review – make your own conclusions – they did invite us to take a look at their new consumer NAS solution, Seagate Personal Cloud. It’s available in a choice of one or two-bay formats and positioned squarely at users with growing home media libraries. Available in capacities from a single-bay, 3 TB option ($189.99) through to our 8 TB ($579.99) review device, the Seagate Personal Cloud is a compact network storage device that connects to a wide variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, computers, connected TVs, media players and games consoles.

The idea is simple and well-trodden – load up your music, movies and photos and enjoy them wherever you are in the home – on any device. But Seagate are hoping combination of a well-known, trusted brand, big-box store distribution, great-looking hardware and a simple user experience will unlock purses in the millions of households that clearly have need of a high-capacity, network storage device.

What’s in the Box?

Seagate refreshed their brand design recently and their updated packaging will certainly look great on-shelf. The Personal Cloud package includes:

  • Seagate Personal Cloud
  • Power Adapter
  • Ethernet Cable
  • Quick Start Guide

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The device itself is clad in a combination of matte and glossy plastics (the top face being susceptible to fingerprints) but is very sleek with subtle, asymmetric angles offering a touch of modernity. While not as premium as the QNAP HS-251, the design concept is the same – a compact storage device that won’t look out of place amongst high-end AV equipment. With svelte dimensions (9.21″/234 mm (l) x 9.25″/235.15 mm (w) x 1.89″/48 mm (h) it’ll tuck into an AV cabinet with ease. (As an aside, long-time readers will remember the HP MediaSmart Receiver, which I was reminded of when I saw the Seagate Personal Cloud for the first time).

 

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The front face of the Seagate Personal Cloud is blank, apart from some subtle branding – only a small, white power indicator on the top of the device is visible. So, if you do place the Personal Cloud under the TV, it won’t distract you from your entertainment. A side-mounted USB 3.0 port is a little awkward for connecting peripherals – if you do place the device in a cabinet – but I’m sure that was a design requirement to keep that front face clean.

Around the back, you’ll find a small, triangular power button, power input, Ethernet port, a secondary USB 2.0 socket and a recessed reset button.

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Flip the Personal Cloud over and you’ll see the result of a fun afternoon for an industrial designer at Seagate. They’re the craziest air vents I’ve seen on a storage device, but I’m all about form and function so it’s brilliant to see the care and attention taken over elements that may not be visible. Also note the “Personal Cloud Pro” branding on the device, which isn’t mentioned elsewhere.

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The Seagate Personal Cloud – to all intents and purposes – is a sealed unit and can’t be expanded. I’m sure the curious could crack open the device with a little care, but it’s not a job for regular users. So, to save you looking, I can share that the 8TB unit is equipped with twin 4 TB Seagate NAS hard drives (ST4000VN000-1H4168).

Overall, it’s a minimalist look, but one that works – I love it. It’s exactly the kind of stylish, yet unobtrusive design we should see in network storage devices.

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