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Just last week I mentioned many of the changes happening at Corsair. The company has been busy making very interesting strategic moves. New business level acquisitions will see the company peppered with a new line of audio devices, undoubtedly. Continuing to branch out into uncharted territory, Corsair has sent us their Voyager Air media hub. It’s a 1Tb media drive that works tethered via USB and Gigabit Ethernet. But it also functions as a wireless WiFi external storage drive for streaming media and packing in data and files for remote use.
We’ve seen a of couple of other similar drives from Seagate. The Wireless Plus 1Tb and Backup Plus 1TB are both fantastic products that proved themselves to be reliable, speedy and simple to use. The Voyager Air from Corsair takes things to the next level. It’s a USB 3.0-capable high speed external drive like the Backup Plus. It does wireless streaming over desktop PC, tablets, and smartphones (via Android or iOS app) like the Wireless Plus. But it can also connect directly to your router via Gigabit Ethernet cable. So the drive contents and media can be shared with everyone simultaneously on your home network.
The Voyager Air goes the distance with their package bundle, as well. You get the main Voyager Air media drive unit, DC power-USB cable, USB 3.0 cable, USB car adapter, accessory pouch, wall adapter and connecting plug piece for US/Canada. Corsair is not kidding about the mobile implications the Voyager Air puts forth. It’s probably the first of its kind to offer such a complete storage solution.
Connected, the Voyager Air connects directly to your home network via Ethernet cable. Now you can access the drive’s media content from any playback device connected to the network. This includes Smart TVs, Blu-Ray players, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, DVR devices and any other streaming-capable device connected to the network. The functionality is incredibly welcomed. I can set the entire family up with their favorite movies, music, pictures and work files all on a separate storage solution. It’s handy and frees up valuable space on the given tablets, PCs and laptops in the house.
It also shows no favoritism toward OSs or mobile devices. The Corsair Voyager Air works with Mac, Android, Windows and iOS. A companion app is needed for Android and iOS Smartphones and tablets. But the device can stream up to five HD quality movies simultaneously across five different devices. Unfortunately the free app shares the same limitations as the free app for the similar Seagate Wireless Plus drive. It’s favorite file format is Mpeg 4 This is less of an issue when playing or streaming to a desktop where codecs are either embedded in your video player or easily acquired from the internet.
The Corsair-born app looks the same across all OS. It’s intuitive and very straightforward. I applaud the ease of use but Seagate offered a snazzier design and interface. But it’s a rather moot point for serious media munchers. If you want to stream media that uses other codecs and file formats such .avi, mkv, wmv and many others then a different playback app is needed. A great one is GoodPlayer; it will easily play a variety of formats including VI, Xvid, Divx, DAT, VOB, FLV, WMV , MKV, MP4, RM,RMVB, HTTP,HTTPS, FTP, RTSP, MMS, SFTP, SMB, MMSH, MMST ,RTP, UPnP and UDP.
The Voyager Air wears many hats and is quite multifaceted. But it’s also a pretty speedy drive. Over USB 3.0, I was able to transfer 2.6gb of media in about 30 seconds. The media transferred was just shy of 4 hours of movies. This is even sweeter than Corsair’s own claim of 2 hours of media transferred in less than 30 sec. Good stuff!
Creating a playlist of 10-straight hours of video playback, I counted approx 6+ hours of continuous streaming. That’s not phenomenal and is bested by Seagate’s near 10hrs.* But honestly the Corsair Voyager Air is much more deserving of the mobile moniker. It comes ready to plug the battery life gap with a bevy of charging options and accessories mentioned above.
Corsair has a winner in the Voyager Air portable media hub. It holds 1TB of storage capacity that can be enjoyed while tethered via USB 3.0 or Ethernet or wireless via WiFi to iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone and nearly all Android tablets and smartphones. Battery life is sufficient if not immense in duration, the unit weighs about 2lbs and comes with everything you need for remote media enjoyment.
*Update: No matter how many times I try, I can’t seem to recreate the usage scenario, which permitted 10hrs of batt-life for the Seagate Wireless Plus.
Bottom Line: Corsair’s Voyager Air 1tb wireless media hub is one of the best wireless external drives we’ve tested. It takes aim at all manners of media playback across USB 3.0, as part of a network or wireless via WiFi connection.
The Corsair Voyager Air 1TB media hub is available at Amazon for $219.99
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