With the multiples of mobile devices each of us has, there comes a time we may need to backup or offload that data to a secondary storage solution. This is especially true for those who have purchased devices that lack additional expansion. Thankfully, many manufacturers now offer mobile storage solutions, and we can add one more to the list: LaCie.
The LaCie FUEL carries a rather unique design concept, which reminds me of the old metal FUEL cans, or jerry cans if you will. Internally, the device houses a 2.5" 1TB hard drive, alongside a battery that is said to last a full ten hours. In addition to the storage capacity, the FUEL features the ability to connect to, and broadcast on, the 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n bands. Five users can connect to the device simultaneously, while three can stream HD video from the device at the same time.
Compatibility of the unit extends to iOS 5.1+, Mac OS X 10.6+, Android 2.3, and Kindle Fire. On the Windows side, we have Vista, 7, and 8. The MSRP of the LaCie FUEL is set at $199.99, with a two-year warranty.
The scope of delivery for the FUEL includes the wall charger, and the USB 3.0 cable, along with a quick installation guide.
On the front of the FUEL we have the power button, with LEDs flanking the right side. The first is for power, and second is for wireless connectivity.
On the side of the FUEL, you will find the USB 3.0 connection, with the reset button next to it.
Internally, we found the FUEL uses a Samsung Momentus 1TB hard drive, which is mounted to the chassis with rubber.
Above, we have the battery at 2725 mAh and it is manufactured by Samsung.
The LaCie FUEL is powered by the Seagate Media app. After connecting and launching the application, we were greeted with a setup assistant, as seen above.
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After running through a few of the setup menus, the assistant allows you to play a quick video to confirm you are able to stream video.
The setup assistant continues on to help you setup internet access through the FUEL.
After finishing the setup assistant, you are ready to use the device.
With this being my first experience with the Seagate Media application, I found the layout was easy to navigate. Here, we have landed on the video menu, which shows some of the preloaded content on the FUEL.
The settings menu on the right allows you to setup many of the features, including networking and power saving features, along with the ability to manage your dropbox account.
While there are many devices on the market that offer the same level of features as the FUEL, LaCie has always taken things to a higher level, and this time around, they have done so with the FUEL. The enclosure of the FUEL has a rugged feel to it that exudes durability, though one does have to question the use of spinning media in a device meant for mobility. What happens if you, or perhaps your children, are streaming media from the drive, and it gets dropped? To test this I launched one of the preloaded videos on my iPad, and set the device up to fall off of my table; about three feet onto a hardwood floor. Much to my surprise, the drive took it without a skip, and there was no interruption in video playback.
Over on the performance side, much of the enjoyment from the LaCie FUEL will come via the Seagate Media app. I must say, after having used many apps from every vendor: this is one of the best, well rounded solutions. While we didn't chart any benchmarks for this review, I can tell you that the internal drive is capable of 110 MB/s read and 105 MB/s write; this gives you plenty of performance for quickly transferring your media to the FUEL while preparing for your next holiday.
The LaCie FUEL carries a MSRP of $199.99, with availability of the unit being quite slim at the moment. However, availability should ramp up as units are shipped to qualifying retailers. The FUEL carries a two-year warranty.