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Kingston Wi-Drive 32 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive

Have you ever found yourself wishing you could extend the storage of your smartphone or tablet? Specifically your iPad or iPhone. If so, Kingston has just the thing. The Wi-Drive is a wireless storage solution for your device and its rock solid. The Wi-Drive eliminates cables and is definitely a step forward for memory maker Kingston, which aims to allow users to share content using a single portable device, practically eliminating the need to cough up extra money for a 64GB iPad or 32GB Android table. The Wi-Drive allows users to stream content to multiple devices simultaneously over WiFi.

The 32GB Wi-Drive (Currently $89.99, price as of 7/10/2012) is probably one of the slimiest portable hard drives on the market. In fact, it’s about comparable in size to a standard SSD. So lets take a closer look. PRODUCT FEATURES 

  • Wireless Network Interface – Wi-Fi 802.11g/n with wireless security (WPA/WEP)
  • Rechargeable Battery – up to four hours of continuous use
  • Cable – miniUSB to USB cable included. User can upload files and content from their PC/Mac to the Wi-Drive using the USB cable.
  • App – downloadable at Apple’s App Store
  • Compatible with iPad, iPhone 3G/3GS/4, iPod touch (3G is limited to iOS4.2.1+)
  • Configurable APN (access point name) and Key functions to connect to Wireless Access Point (Internet Connection)
  • Guaranteed – one year warranty
  • Supported File Formats: Audio: AAC, MP3, WAV Video: m4v, mov, Motion JPEG (M-JPEG), AVI Image: jpg, bmp,
  • Supported File Formats: tiff Document: pdf, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, txt, rtf, xls

TECHNICAL DETAILS

  • Brand Name: Kingston
  • Model: WID/32GBZ
  • Hard Disk Size: 32 GB
  • Hard Disk Description: Portable
  • Weight: 1.00 pounds

IN THE BOX

The Wi-Drive comes with a Getting Started guide, a fairly slim wall plug for charging, and a USB cable. DESIGN

This shiny, streamlined black box is about the size of half a deck of cards. This flash-based USB storage device comes in 16GB and 32GB sizes (We received the 32GB Version). Since it uses flash memory, rather than a mechanical drive, the Wi-Drive is incredibly slim and light. So it can go wherever your phone goes.

The exterior is made out of a glossy piano black plastic that looks great, but attracts a fair amount of fingerprints. At the top of the Wi-Drive is a standard mini-USB port for connecting it to a computer, but please note if you are trying to use this while charging, it may get very tricky. You actually have to turn it on first connect to it and then charge it. If you start charging it first it will not connect.

Despite the thin plastic material for the housing, its a pretty well-made. Although I wish there where some case covers or at least something to prevent figure prints.

 

Kingston believes that a local device like the Wi-Drive is better on the quality front, as media isn’t held hostage to Wi-fi hot spots and 3G/4G connections, nor is it served up in a buffered stream beamed out from a distant host provider. Instead, the Kingston Wi-Drive disguises itself as a local attached storage and even allows up to three simultaneous connections.

That said, how does the rechargeable battery handle three streams at the same time? Kingston didn’t really specify, only reporting that the battery has a standby time of up to 25 hours and a continuous video streaming time of up to 5 hours.

SETUP 
Setting up the Wi-Drive is pretty simple and involves just three steps:
1. Connect the Wi-Drive to a computer and transfer files over
2. Install the free Wi-Drive app
3. Connect your device to the Wi-Drive over Wi-Fi.

EXPERIENCE

We plugged the Wi-Drive into a PC’s USB 2.0 port, and transferred a few gigabytes worth of movies, photos and music to the drive. Although we’ve seen faster USB 2.0 drives, the transfer still went quickly. Even without its wireless capabilities, the Wi-Drive functions well as a plugged-in external drive. Although, it would have been nicer if it where a USB 3.0 Drive.

Once we transferred the chosen content, it was time to set the drive free. Unplugging it from my PC, we removed its USB connecting cable and turned it on. Connecting a Wi-Fi device and the Wi-Drive is the same as connecting an iPad or laptop to any Wi-Fi network. It’s a simple matter of selecting Wi-Drive from the list of available Wi-Fi connections. Its wireless connection is supposed to reach 30 feet, but we found that 20-25 feet is a more realistic maximum before connectivity became spotty.

Once connected via Wi-Fi, you can open  your Wi-Drive app any Mobile device, and the Wi-Drive interface appears, showing the contents of the drive. Select a movie, and within about five seconds, it begins to play. We were able to play videos with surprising smoothness from two iPads and a Samsung Galaxy Note at the same time.

There’s a downside: That Wi-Fi connection is used to communicate with the drive, so that meant we couldn’t access the Internet at the same time. Not…The next nice feature is the ability of the drive to connect to another WiFi network, which you also configure in the setting button icon. For example, if you’re with the family at Starbucks and connect the Wi-Drive to the free Starbucks WiFi using the iOS or Android app. The Wi-Drive reboots, connects to Starbucks network and now every one of your 3 other devices can access streaming media files on the Wi-Drive and also access the Internet using the Starbucks connection. Remember, you have to connect your device to the Wi-Drive network to use your files, but this network setting still allows you to retain internet access at the same time.

While we found the iPad’s file incompatibility an annoyance, that’s not Kingstons’s fault. The company’s built a unique product that works well. If you watch lots of movies on the road, and don’t have enough disk space to give yourself a wide-enough selection, this $89.99 Wi-Fi drive is a unique way to solve that problem.

CONCLUSION

In short, the Wi-Drive is a very useful portable hard drive with 32GB of space, the drive is a good investment for users who want to watch multimedia content on the move and share it at the same time. Although there is WPA2 security to help ensure WiFi transmissions are not intercepted. If the device should be lost, there is nothing to prevent data being accessed over USB, unless users take precautions. The Best part about the Kingston Wi-Drive is that it is dead simple to set up and even easier to use. The form factor keeps the drive conveniently portable for use on the go. If you’re looking to add storage to your smartphone or tablet, the Wi-Drive is one of the easiest and coolest ways to do it. Which is why we award the Wi-Drive a 10 out of 10 earning it our Editors choice award for portable storage.

What It’s Good For:

Now you can wirelessly stream movies, listen to music and view photos with up to three Wi-Fi devices at the same time. Without loosing your internet functionality.

Who It’s Good For:

Anyone who travels with any WiFi enabled mobile device, and families with kids in the car who’d like to pass the time with photos, music and movies.

Limitations: Many movie formats must be converted before they’ll play on the iPad (as usual), or you must install an app that can play those files.

Bottom Line: If you like to watch movies, suddenly you can access an additional 32GB of them from your iPad or iPhone — or any laptop, smartphone or tablet that can connect to a Wi-Fi network.

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