Lately, we’ve seen Seagate try to make external storage drives a little more interesting with branding partnerships and drives marketed for specific uses. So far, we’ve seen a lot of that from their partnership with Microsoft, resulting in special edition drives for new games, plus an external HDD and an external SSD built for the Xbox One. At the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas last weekend, Seagate announced a new partnership with DJI, plus a new drive just for drone enthusiasts — the Fly Drive.
It’s a bit difficult to justify drives made for specific devices when you dive into specs and features — with some small exceptions, a drive’s as good for one device as it is for anything else. For the most part, the Fly Drive is no different — it’s an external HDD with up to 2 TB of storage. In the milieu, it’s one of the better ones thanks to a USB 3.1 Type-C port that lets users take advantage of the Type-C Thunderbolt connectors that we’ve been seeing on new laptops like the refreshed MacBook Pro.
But, if you’re going to make a drone-friendly drive, you need it to be ready to take on the outdoors. The Fly Drive fits the bill — the entire drive is encased by a large rubber bumper. That’s really important for hard drives, which have moving parts that are particularly susceptible to damage from drops. And, as many of us have learned the hard way at some point, there’s not much to do with a damaged drive than to write off all your files as lost.
If there’s a drone-specific feature on the Fly Drive, it’s the microSD card slot. It’s compatible with UHS-II microSD cards, which have higher transfer speeds. It’s a minor feature, but it’s a nice one — if you’re taking 4K video with your drone, chances are that video is going to be data-heavy enough to necessitate the transfer speeds of a UHS-II card to make sure the video can be properly recorded. If you’ve already got UHS-II cards anyway, you might as well have a drive that can take advantage of those speeds, too. And, considering how many laptops (like that new MacBook Pro) lack microSD card slots altogether, anything that does have a card slot is more than welcome.
The idea is that drone pilots can record 4K data on a microSD card, then swap that card into their drive for backup or to start editing their video while they’re out. That’s a big reason why Seagate has thrown in two free months of Adobe Premiere Pro CC, some pretty heavy duty editing software.
While the Fly Drive won’t be doing any flying itself (hopefully), it does seem pretty well suited to the needs of drone pilots who like to get their video into sharing shape ASAP. The Fly Drive will be available sometime this summer starting at $120.