We take Lacie's Fuel for a test drive.
Lacie today unveiled its new Fuel wireless storage device for iPad. As we all know, choosing a storage capacity for a media device can be tricky, especially when that device doesn't have the option to expand storage via MicroSD. The iPad is one of the most popular tablets available today, and users are stuck with the storage capacity they selected at check out. However, Lacie is hoping to solve that problem with the Fuel.
The Fuel is a wireless drive for your iPad. The idea behind it is to wirelessly expand the storage of your iPad without the muss or fuss of cables. We went hands on with the Fuel last night at Pepcom's Digital Experience and were pretty impressed with the experience. The device connects via a dedicated application and can handle up to five connections at once (though you're limited to just three connections for HD video streaming). We were told that not all of these connected devices have to be iPads or iPhones and that Android devices were supported. The apps UI was clear and well laid out, making it easy to select pictures and video for viewing or streaming. We didn't get a chance to try streaming to multiple devices at once, so we can't say what that experience is like.
It's a USB 3.0 drive and it uses WiFi 802.11 b/g/n for interfacing with the connected devices. It has a range of about 150 feet. The Fuel measures 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.9 inches and is quite light at 9.7 ounces, though the plastic casing makes it feel a bit too much like a router for our liking. Light is good, but too light a device can start to feel cheap. The Fuel is just on the right side of that line, but only just.
If you're looking to connect your device to this, you'll need Windows Vista or higher, Android 2.3 or higher, a Kindle Fire, iOS 5.1.1 or higher or Mac OS X 10.6 or higher.
Availability for the Fuel is coming very soon; the device costs $199.99.