Review: LaCie Fuel Gives You and Your Devices More Data Flexibility
The LaCie Fuel is a small, compact external drive that gives you the ability to simultaneously expand the storage capacity of multiple devices, including your smartphone, tablet, and computer. The device creates its own WiFi network, just like your home router, allowing up to 5 devices to access its storage at the same time. You will even be able to stream an HD movie to up to 3 devices at the same time.
It’s also worth noting that the LaCie Fuel doesn’t require an Internet connection to work, however, it can be connected to any WiFi network and provide Internet access for up to 4 devices (keep in mind the more devices using an Internet connection, the more possible it is you may experience some network congestion). The device also has a battery so you can use it even when you don’t have access to a power outlet. Plus, it features an eco-mode to help preserve battery life throughout the day (you should be able to eek out around 10 hours of “normal” usage).
But it isn’t just the Fuel’s ability to create its own WiFi network and allow multiple connected devices that makes it a great choice, the LaCie Fuel also works with the Seagate Media app (Seagate owns LaCie) making it easier to manage and access all your files on the drive. Additionally, there is a web version of the app that for the most part functions just like its Android and iOS counterpart. But perhaps my two favorite features of the Fuel are the built-in AirPlay and Dropbox support.
Seagate Media App
The Seagate Media app does it’s job (lets you manage and access your data on the LaCie Fuel), but isn’t without its flaws. For starters, this app doesn’t feel like it would be acceptable if it was created by LaCie themselves. The user interface is a bit bulky and unintuitive and even left me thinking to myself at times, “if I press this button what will happen?” Honestly, the whole app could use an interface overhaul. Nonetheless, it does work. I was able to access my files on the drive, view them, play music/videos, etc on all my devices.
One nice feature of the app is that it offers the ability to take files on your smartphone and/or tablet and copy them over to the external drive wirelessly. It’s fast and simple. I liked that a lot.
The web app sports the same look and feel as the Seagate Media app, so not much is different on that front. In order to access it, you need to connect to the WiFi network created by the LaCie Fuel (which is a little annoying) and then go LaCieFuel.com. Once there you will be presented with the same interface you are accustomed to in the app on your smartphone/tablet. I’ve found that while the web app works, it may be more practical (when on a computer) to manage the Fuel via Finder on OS X or Windows Explorer on Windows (like you would with a normal external drive). It will be easier to copy files to (by drag and drop) that way, and just easier for maintenance purposes overall.
The Dropbox integration with the LaCie Fuel is pretty awesome, basically you enter your Dropbox information and the Fuel will start syncing all the data in your Dropbox to itself, therefore making it available to you even if you don’t have Internet access. Plus, it continually keeps all your data up-to-date with what is on Dropbox. This feature I found to be super useful.
So you are watching a movie on your iPad that is streaming from your LaCie Fuel and you want to beam it to your big screen HDTV? No problem, if you have an Apple TV you can do just that with a single tap on the AirPlay icon.
Pricing and Conclusion
The LaCie Fuel rings in at $199 and comes in just one model, 1TB — it also sports USB 3 and supports 802.11b/g/n. The small and compact form factor make it ideal for travel and its plastic outer shell just reinforces that–definitely something you can put in your bag and go. If you are in the market for additional storage that can be easily shared with your growing number of devices, the LaCie Fuel is a great solution.