Wireless Flash Drive
Previously I have looked at a direct physical connection using OTG (On the Go) USB linking. This method is fine if your mobile device supports the technology but not all such devices do so. SanDisk, with its expertise in the development of memory devices, has produced a solution that takes a different route. Rather than a physical linking of devices, SanDisk has opted for a wireless connection for its device to your smartphone or tablet enabling you to store, share and stream content between devices. This product is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Kindle Fire and Android devices plus PC and Mac computers.
While I have seen other products adopting a similar approach, the SanDisk Wireless Flash Drive is, by far, the most compact unit I have come across. As its title indicates, this product bears a remarkable similarity to a standard USB flash drive. This is not surprising considering that it is actually a flash drive with the added feature of wireless connectivity.
This black flash drive has dimensions of 80 x 27 x 13mm (H x W x D) and weighs 29g making it eminently portable as it can easily be slipped into a pocket. Rather than a removable cap, for protecting the USB connection, this flash drive has a collar which can be slid back to reveal the USB connector and then slid forward to protect it when the flash drive is not in use. This method does away with the problem of a lost cap.
As well as its storage capacity, 16GB in the case of my review unit although there are also 32 and 64GB versions, and wireless connectivity, the flash drive has its own built-in rechargeable battery pack. Once fully charged, which can take up to two hours, either by connecting to a computer or a mains power source with an appropriate adapter, you should get up to four hours of continuous streaming to a single device.
You can transfer content to the Wireless Flash Drive by using the standard conventions of your computer’s operating system into appropriate folders. Several sample files, covering documents, pictures, music and video, come pre-installed. The video samples are made up of three video tutorials covering different aspects of the flash drive’s functionality. These tutorials make use of the Apple version of the software you need to download from the appropriate store to those mobile devices you intent using with the Wireless Flash Drive. There is a slight difference in the layout used by the Apple app but this should not cause any inconvenience for Android/Kindle Fire users.
Linking your smartphone or tablet to the SanDisk device is just a matter of selecting the Wireless Flash Drive Wi-Fi option from your mobile device’s Settings menu. With the link established you can access the content as if it was present on the smartphone or tablet. According to SanDisk you can simultaneously connect up to 8 devices to this flash drive. Due to a lack of devices, I an unable to confirm this figure but I have been able to stream two different movies to a pair of devices. Initially I was streaming three videos to three devices but after about five minutes one of the streams froze with just an occasional snippet of audio getting through. There were no problems when just two devices were being used.
Usually with such devices that have their own Wi-Fi network, you loose your normal Internet access. The SanDisk device is no exception in this respect when in its original state. However one of the supplied video tutorials details how you can regain Internet access while still connected to the SanDisk unit. To achieve this state of affairs you do need to be in range of a Wi-Fi hotspot to which you have access rights. I have had some limited success with this feature but not on a regular basis.
Overall I am reasonable happy with the streaming capabilities of this device. I had no problems when streaming to a single or two devices even viewing different movies. This, after all, is what I would regard as a personal device and not one for large scale sharing of content. The intermittent Internet access is not something that weighs too heavily with me but you might think differently.
I am slightly concern regarding the pricing of this product are shown on the Amazon.co.uk website. The SanDisk Wireless Flash Drive is currently available in its three capacities. As reviewed, the 16GB version is priced at £41.90 with the 32GB version listed at £49.90. This is a price differential of £8.00 for an extra 16GB of storage. However the 64GB version of the product has a price tag of £87.90 – a jump of £38.00 for an additional 32GB of storage. Something does not seem quite right with this scale of pricing from Amazon.
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