Patriot Gauntlet 320 Wireless Portable Hard Drive
Tablets and smartphones are great entertainment devices, but are often limited by their lack of storage. Yes, there are a lot of cloud-based services that allow you to stream your music, videos and photos, but there are enough situations where you might be without a network connection, that local storage is necessary. This is where the Patriot Gauntlet 320 steps in. It’s a wireless portable hard drive with 320GB of storage, accessible by iOS and Android devices, as well as PCs, Macs and the Kindle Fire.
- Easy configuration
- Good streaming performance
- Tons of storage
- Supports iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire
- Stream to five devices simultaneously
- Upload and download files from devices
- No playlist support on Android devices
- Internet pass-through doesn’t support hidden networks
DESIGN & FEATURES
At first glance, the Gauntlet 320 looks like your run-of-the-mill portable hard drive. The plastic enclosure uses a fan-less design and is slightly larger than your typical portable hard drive. The top lid has three LED indicators: charging, Wi-Fi, and drive activity.
On one of the sides, there’s also a battery meter. The rear of the drive has a USB 3.0 port, a power button, and a DC in port. In the box, you get the drive, a USB 3.0 cable, and a USB power cable with wall charger.
The enclosure can be opened and the 320GB internal 2.5-inch drive replaced with another 2.5-inch hard disk or SSD drive. Once you remove the screws underneath the rubber feet, you pop off the lid and unplug the drive from the SATA cable. You’ll also need to reuse the specialized anti-vibration mounts for the new drive.
Media on the Gauntlet 320 can be accessed from an iOS or Android device, as well as Macs, PCs and the Kindle Fire. On Macs and PCs, the drive shows up as a network drive once you’ve connected to the Gauntlet’s Wi-Fi network. For mobile devices, you just download the Gauntlet Connect app from the appropriate app store then connect to the Gauntlet’s Wi-Fi network. Eight devices can connect to the drive, but only five of them can stream at the same time. The app also allows you to change the settings on the Gauntlet, like the SAMBA login credentials, Wi-Fi security, and Internet pass-through.
The Internet pass-through feature allows you to connect the Gauntlet to your wireless router so your device can still access the Internet while connected to the Gauntlet. Another feature worth mentioning is the ability to transfer files to and from the Gauntlet –– turning it into a wireless NAS of sorts.
The Gauntlet 320 worked very well at streaming music and videos without any buffering or connectivity hiccups. I was able to simultaneously stream to an Galaxy Nexus smartphone, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and a Kindle Fire without any problems. Unfortunately, the Android version of the Gauntlet Connect app doesn’t support playlists, though the iOS version does. However, due to the Gauntlet 320 system being based on SAMBA, you can access files on the Gauntlet 320 with other media players that have network support, like BSPlayer, Buzz Player, and OPlayer. You can even use something like, ES File Explorer, to access the file system and launch media files.
Setting up Internet pass-through was pretty straight-forward, once I figured out that the Gauntlet’s Wi-Fi client was not the one that’s printed on the bottom of the drive. Since I set up all my routers with MAC filtering, I needed the correct address to add to the allow list. When I checked the router logs, I realized that the client MAC address was different. Once I added the correct address, the Gauntlet 320 immediately connected to the router. Network performance was significantly slower when using the Gauntlet as a bridge, but was sufficient enough to check email, receive Twitter and Facebook alerts and for light web surfing.
Copying files to the Gauntlet 320 from my PC was nice and fast. I tested the transfer rate of the Gauntlet 320 as a USB 3.0 drive with CrystalDiskMark and got a reasonably speedy sequential transfer rate of 93 MB/s read and 92 MB/s write. The hard disk inside is a 5400 RPM, SATA II (3.0Gb/s) Toshiba drive, which should be plenty fast and reliable for its purpose inside the Gauntlet. Of course, if you want to improve performance, you can always throw in an SSD drive instead and repurpose the Toshiba drive. Or, if you want to forgo the internal disk altogether, you have the option of picking up just the enclosure. The Gauntlet Node is the enclosure-only version of the Gauntlet 320.
The internal lithium-ion battery is rated at 5.5 hours, but will vary depending on how you use the Gauntlet. I suspect that using the Internet pass-through will drain the battery quicker, but you can conveniently charge the drive via USB. You can also use the Gauntlet 320 while plugged into a wall outlet (but not while plugged into a PC).
The Patriot Gauntlet 320 has a lot going for it. For smartphone and tablet users, it expands available storage to an amount that would be impossible to have otherwise. The apps could use some maturing to really make the Gauntlet a killer device, but the fact that you can access it with so many devices and apps, gives the user a lot of flexibility. If you want to access a huge amount of music and videos, especially while you’re traveling, the Gauntlet 320 is a one-stop storage solution for your devices.
Available from Amazon.com.
* Review unit provided by Patriot