Seagate Ultra Mobile HDD for Budget Tablets Hands-On

seagate ultra mobile hdd thin 675403Save for a few outliers, the land of budget tablets is one filled with compromise. In an effort to give the space a much-needed boost, Seagate has created the Ultra Mobile HDD for Android devices. This 5 millimeter hard drive has a capacity of 500GB, a 16MB cache and spins at 5,400 rpm. Spinning hard disks relatively unheard of in the tablet market, but so is a 500GB storage capacity. The idea here is to empower OEMs to affordably produce budget slates with more storage without bearing down on performance, though no pricing has been announced.

During a demonstration of the Ultra Mobile HDD in a proof-of-concept enclosure, the drive was paired with an 8GB flash cache powered by Seagate’s Dynamic Data Driver Software for Android. This software enables the drive to offload its most frequently used data, or whatever is currently in use, to this cache. This allows the disk to enter a low-power state in which it doesn’t spin. The spinning starts again when a new batch of data is called up by the user opening a new app or downloading new content. 

MORE: Tablet Buyers’ Guide 2013: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy

The demo device called up a video and played it back, which visually depicted how the drive and cache inside were handling it. The red bars show what the power consumption would be without the cache, and the yellow bars displayed the actual consumption based on a percentage. When the video was first accessed, we saw a spike in the yellow bars, but as it continued to play, those bars shrunk to about half of that height. Of course, we’re told the actual consumption will depend on the content, but will always be lower than it would without a cache — and this software supports up to a 16GB cache.

seagate ultra mobile hdd demo 675403

The Ultra Mobile HDD’s second key feature is the zero-gravity sensors. Managed by the Dynamic Data Driver, these sensors will move the drive’s needle next to the track as soon as a free-fall is detected. On the screen, the sensors spiked when the enclosure was dropped on a table and immediately leveled out upon impact.

If adopted on a large enough scale, Seagate could visibly change the budget tablet space — its target market for this product — with the Ultra Mobile HDD. The key differentiator between value-priced tablets and the high end of the slate scene could be storage size, not the quality of components, come next year. Of course, this doesn’t do much for the oft-dismal display department, but the Ultra Mobile HDD could be a considerable step forward for $99 to $199 tablets.

AUTHOR BIO
Joe Osborne
Joe Osborne
Joe Osborne joined the Laptopmag.com staff in 2013, focused on improving LAPTOP’s already stellar review coverage and original benchmark tests. With a B.A. in Journalism from Temple University, Joe has covered the games and tech scenes through reviews, hands-on previews, news, interviews and more for outlets like PCMag and AOL’s Games.com.
Joe Osborne on
Twitter Google+
LEAVE A REPLY
Name*
Email* (will not be published)
Website
*Indicates required field
Comments*
Submit Comments

FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE