Kingston Wi-Drive Review
The storage on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch is never enough! There is nothing worse then having to delete your favorite pictures, songs, or apps just to make enough room for a movie or TV show. The Kingston Wi-Drive is the ultimate solution to expanding your mobile storage needs! Think of the Wi-Drive as the expandable memory slot that your iOS device is lacking. Not only can the Kingston Wi-Drive add an extra 16GB to 32GB to your iDevice (or Android), but it’s completely wireless and can be used by multiple devices at once.
What’s in the Box
-Mini-USB Wall Adapter
The Kingston Wi-Drive is an ultra sleek device. It’s a bit thinner than an iPhone 4 and a lot lighter. It’s made of a glossy black plastic and has some very smooth edges. It’s an ideal size to slip into any pocket including a shirt pocket. The only button is an on/off toggle. This LED backlit button also functions as a battery indicator, switching between green, orange and red. There’s also a Wi-Fi and status LED. Wi-Drive uses a Mini-USB interface to charge and connect to a computer.
For now, Kingston produces Wi-Drive in 16GB and 32GB varieties. Kingston Technology is the king of memory, so you can count on the internal solid state drive to be of the highest quality. When you connect Wi-Drive to any Windows or Mac computer with the included Mini-USB cable, it shows up like a regular flash drive. You can add any type of file as it’s a regular storage device. To interface with your mobile devices, it uses 802.11 g/n Wi-Fi with the option to turn on wireless security (WPA/WEP). The Wi-Fi range is 30 feet.
There’s a free iOS app called Wi-Drive for all iOS devices that support iOS 4.2.1 and higher. There is even a dedicated iPad app. A “beta” Android app is also available as is an app for the Kindle Fire, though this is not widely publicized. A device will play any file format that it can natively open. For instance, iOS can play M4V files but can’t play WMA files, this remains true when interfacing with the Kingston Wi-Drive.
The battery is rechargeable and lasts about four hours. It can connect up to three devices at once and all devices can simultaneously access the same file or different files. In the settings you can have Wi-Drive connect to an existing Wi-Fi network so your mobile device can still use Wi-Fi internet. The Wi-Drive can broadcast while it’s charging with the wall charger, but not while it’s connected to a computer.
The Kingston Wi-Drive happens to work really well. It couldn’t be easier to get data on to the device since it’s recognized as a regular flash drive and requires no extra software. Over USB 2.0, it took about 65 seconds to add a gigabyte of music (140 songs), which was nice and fast. Over the Wi-Drive Wi-Fi it only took about 2-3 seconds to transfer a song to my phone. For the entire gigabyte it took just over 6 minutes. We were very happy with the wireless speeds. Even with three devices all accessing the same video file, the video streams flawlessly with no jitters. Streaming begins almost immediately
Considering it’s a relatively new product, the app is pretty solid. The app is currently in a state of simplicity; there aren’t a ton of options, but it helps keep things easy-to-use. You can save any file from the Wi-Drive to your local storage. On iOS, these saved local files can only be accessed from the app. Since Android is a little more open with file system access you can save files anywhere. Also, Android has the option of uploading any file from local storage to the Wi-Drive. iOS devices can only upload a file from the Wi-Drive app local storage. This means iOS users can’t save their camera roll with this version of the Wi-Drive app (22.214.171.124). Apparently there are 3rd party apps that let you use the Wi-Drive as a web server to upload your camera roll or other local files. Strangely enough, you can’t save picture files to your camera roll either.
We discovered that any device, including a computer, can access the Kingston Wi-Drive by navigating to “http://Wi-Drive/” in their browser, after connecting to the Wi-Drive WiFi network. As of yet, there’s no support to use the Wi-Drive as a regular wireless hard drive, though we’re sure there is a way.
Overall, the Kingston Wi-Drive is really easy to use and extremely handy. The app is simple (for better or for worse), but when it comes down to it, the Wi-Drive is the easiest way to expand on your current storage. One of the best uses for Wi-Drive is to dedicate it as a video storage device. Most users don’t rewatch videos on their mobile devices, so there is no sense in having them take up all the storage space. Save your internal storage for music, pictures, apps, and music. Using Wi-Drive is also a lot quicker than syncing with iTunes every time you want to add or play a video (or anything else) to your device.
Families with more than one mobile device or tablet will find the Wi-Drive is the quintessential companion for traveling and road trips. Say goodbye to syncing videos to multiple devices and/or upgrading your devices just for more storage. Right now there is a 16GB and 32GB Wi-Drive available, but knowing Kingston we imagine larger units are sure to follow. The Wi-Drive is extreme portability and it’s a safe bet storing your data on flash storage as opposed to a spinning hard drive. The Kingston Wi-Drive can be purchased from Amazon and is actually pretty affordable at $49.99 for the 16GB model and $89.99 for the 32GB model.
The Good: Portable, Sleek, Light, Handy, Can Use as Flash Drive, Mac and PC Compatible (No Software Required), Wirelessly Connects with iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and Kindle Fire, Connects to Ad-Hoc Network to Preserve Internet Access, Mini-USB Interface, Affordable, Can Connect to Multiple Devices, Can Use While Charging, AirPlay Compatible
The Bad: Gets Hot, Can’t Use While Connected to Computer, App Could Have More Features, Can’t Save Wi-Drive Pictures to Camera Roll or Vice Versa, Data Won’t Work on Connected Device Unless Connected to Ad-Hoc Network through Wi-Drive