LaCie Fuel 1 TB Review
The LaCie Fuel 1 TB is the all-new wireless storage hard drive with a maximum capacity of 1 TB and an 802.11 Wi-Fi. It runs via a 3.0 USB port and is one of the most efficient hard drives available on the market.
It has the ability to increase Apple iPad’s storage, that too without the need for any kind of wires or internet supply. It can also share several files in various formats with a total of 5 devices through a mobile application. Lastly, it can connect to Apple TV and other devices that have the option of AirPlay, thus providing more ease to you in terms of file and data transfer.
Since Seagate and LaCie collaborated after Seagate’s takeover of LaCie, the LaCie Fuel is its first product. It’s mobile and portable which makes it convenient to use and is also integrated with Wi-Fi. This means that it has its personal Wi-Fi network which helps transfer content to Macs or other Apple devices.
Wi-Fi hard drives are the new trend now, and we have been seeing a lot of those lately. Seagate has manufactured two Wi-Fi hard drives already, but LaCie has made it more advanced by integrating iOS compatibility into it, thus making it Apple-centric.
Let us go over some of its main specifications first. The item number by which you refer this hard drive is 9000436U. Its battery lasts a total of 10 hours with constant usage. Its interface, which is a Wi-Fi 802.11, has a great range of 150 feet which is around 45 meters.
It can allow a connection with a maximum of 5 devices at the same time. Out of these 5, 3 can be used for streaming videos in HD quality. It’s not bulky and aesthetically displeasing with its dimensions being 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.19 inches. It’s not heavy at all, which makes it increasingly portable; it weighs only 0.3 kg.
Inside the box, you’ll find, alongside the LaCie Fuel, a 3.0 USB cable, a USB charger, and a guide on how to use the LaCie Fuel. It comes with a 2-year limited warranty, which means that if anything goes wrong, you have 2 years to get it fixed absolutely free of cost.
Design and Build
The body is made of plastic and even though that isn’t very high quality or premium plastic, it doesn’t come off as cheap looking. The plastic is ABS and similar to its aluminum products, its appearance is sufficiently good. It won’t feel like the quality is poor while you are handling it. Its color is charcoal and its design is extremely stylish which makes up for the material it is made up of. The general consensus regarding the drive is that it is quite attractive.
The LaCie Fuel is formatted in exFAT. This makes it highly convenient to use as it is compatible with Apple devices as well as PCs. After you turn the device on, you are supposed to wait till the blue light on it remains lit for a while before searching for the wireless connection on your phone or the computer. You wouldn’t have a problem looking for the name as it is going to be pretty obvious. You can also change it later to a name of your liking.
A feature of LaCie that surprises a number of users is the fact that the first step of the setup doesn’t require you to set a password. This means that anyone who’s getting signals from your connection can connect to it, upload files on it, and download data from it as well. This is a huge inherent flaw with the device that LaCie has admitted to and should be fixed as soon as possible. The first step of any hard drive should be making its content secure for its users.
Talking about the application, there is a huge menu to choose from on the home screen. There is a list of different media types that makes the application highly simple to navigate. This option enables the users to choose between videos, docs, photos and so on. There is also a folder view option that allows the user to choose between the media that is on the user’s other devices such as their Apple or Android device or the LaCie Fuel. There is also an option to navigate and categorize through thumbnails, year, genre and so on. The iPhone has a full-screen menu, while the iPad has a drop-down menu which is at the top of the screen.
You can use the Wi-Fi or the browser to upload files or download content. However, if you want a fast transferring speed, it’s recommendable that you use the 3.0 USB cable. After being connected, the LaCie Fuel will be a permanent drive on your device where you can drag and drop files or folders. Folders are very easy to create as well.
The application on its browser is very similar to the application on the tablet, but the smartphone application is slightly different and has more menus. The different features and the multiple ways of viewing a file would be found in the top-right corner. The Wi-Fi settings are there as well, and all you have to do is tap on the wireless icon and click on the name that you want to in order to connect to the wireless network.
You can also sort your data by categorizing it name-wise, date-wise, size-wise or type-wise. The list mode offers the same facility in a more detailed manner.
The cog option is for the settings. You can manage every drive-related setting there, which is very simple to navigate. If you want to change the language of the system or your device’s name, you’re supposed to click on general settings. For other settings-related options, such as rebooting the system or shutting it down, system settings are where you should go. It is the same for factory settings.
You also have the option to modify the power setting according to your usage. The LaCie Fuel boasts a 10-hour battery life that should be enough as a fully-charged iPad runs for 10 hours as well. However, the battery life of a hard drive is highly dependent on its usage. Therefore, if you want it to last a total of 10 hours, it is recommended that you turn your smart power option on. This will lead to the device running in Eco mode. This mode turns off options that are needed only when the device is at home. This way, it saves a considerable amount of battery and makes it lasts exactly 10 hours.
Since the LaCie Fuel is so Apple-centric, there is also a Dropbox settings option in it, providing convenience to users who are regular users of Dropbox as their standard cloud service. By clicking on the Dropbox option, users can easily connect to their Dropbox profile which will then be available on the LaCie drive in the form of a folder.
Lastly, there is a network settings option. This shows the number of users connected to the drive at any one point. As mentioned before, the LaCie Fuel allows a maximum of 5 users at the same time. However, users have filed complaints and voiced negative opinions regarding this. It has been found that LaCie doesn’t work well with too many users connected at once and results in lagging with certain features. These features mostly include thumbnails and sometimes when you want to refresh a folder. However, this isn’t a flaw limited to LaCie. It’s a very common issue with most hard drives, and a lot of users don’t mind it since a compromise has to be reached if so many users want to connect at the same time. The network settings option also enables password protection.
The competitors of LaCie Fuel that I will be using in this performance review are the Seagate Wireless Plus 1 TB and the Corsair Voyager Air 1 TB.
Both of these devices offer the same capacity as the LaCie Fuel and cost around the same too. Before reading the test results, users should know that these tests were run with 3.0 USB ports and the results were dependent on a multitude of external, unchangeable factors.
First, 2 MB sequential speeds were measured. The LaCie Fuel showed around the same speed as the Seagate Wireless Plus. The former gave a read speed of 98.3 MB/s and a write speed of 109.1 MB/s, with the latter giving a slightly higher read speed of 115.5 MB/s and a write speed of 114.42 MB/s. The Corsair Voyager Air clocked in a read speed of 105.14 MB/s and a write speed of 104.77 MB/s.
2 MB random transfer speeds were also tested. The LaCie Fuel clocked in a read speed of 71.2 MB/s and a write speed of 79.7 MB/s. On the other hand, the Wireless Plus gave a speed of 47.28 MB/s read and 47.63 MB/s write and the Corsair Voyager gave a read speed of 69 MB/s and a write speed of 50.02 MB/s. Clearly, the LaCie Fuel came on top with a large margin.
The first and foremost pro that a lot of people really liked was the integration of the Dropbox facility. It is highly Apple-oriented, and the vast number of iOS integration features that it offers provides ease to Apple users. Another benefit is its attractive design and stylish build. Even though made of a cheap plastic, it manages to look classy. Lastly, it allows up to 5 users to connect to it at the same time, which is a brilliant feature for a hard drive.
The one and only con of this great hard drive is that its apps look too outdated and old-fashioned. A more modern-looking user interface would be nice for its apps.
The Lacie Fuel will provide to you just what you want. Yes, it’s not cheap to purchase, but the investment is definitely a wise decision to make. For $200 only, you’ll get a great, long-lasting, attractive and durable hard drive which allows you to store data in such a compact device. Since it is so small and doesn’t weigh much, it can easily fit into any small bag.
The LaCie Fuel also provides to its users a portable file server that is ideal for people who are out of their office without an internet connection. It is also useful in times of poor phone data connections. Users can easily gain access to their drive content in such situations. Its signal is strong and reliable as well. Being left in the office switched on for a week, it did not deny a request to any device (either iOS and Android devices or PCs and Macs).