The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive (32GB) ($79.99 list) is a wireless storage accessory for your digital devices that gives you just a bit more storage. Whether you have a 16GB Galaxy S4 that’s filling up rapidly or a 64GB iPad with too many pictures on it, the SanDisk Connect can help you serve videos, music, and photos to keep your kin occupied on a long road trip. It’s also a quick repository so you can offload the photos and videos you keep shooting on your iPhone. The SanDisk Connect is a pocketable flash-based wireless media drive that we can recommend for quick trips and jaunts away from reliable cellular-based Internet access. There is also a 64GB model available for $99.99.
Design and Features
The SanDisk Connect measures a very small 2.6 by 2.6 by 0.52 inches (HWD) and weighs less than three ounces. It has a metal ring around its circumference and black plastic top and bottom. The top panel has a molded lattice weave, while the bottom has a soft surface. The metal ring has a microUSB 2.0 port, SD card slot, power button, and status lights cut into its surface. The lights tell you about power/battery status, internal W-Fi activity, and external Internet connectivity.
Just charge the SanDisk Connect for a few hours or start by connecting the drive up to your PC or Mac. The drive is formatted to ExFAT, so it works fine with both Windows PCs and Macs, and supports files over 4.3GB, which is a plus over wireless drives that are formatted FAT32, like the Kingston Wi-Drive and HP Pocket Playlist. When hooked up to your laptop or desktop via USB 2.0, it appears like any other external drive, and you can manually drag files to it.
The drive comes with folders marked music, photos, and videos, but these are for your benefit, as the drive will automatically read and present media files wherever they are stored on the drive. The Seagate Wireless Plus comes with a Windows/Mac companion app that automatically searches your computer for media files and copies them over. The SanDisk Connect drive makes you manage your files manually, which is less convenient.
Android and iOS Compatibility
The SanDisk Media Drive app is available from Apple iTunes (iOS), Amazon (Android/Kindle Fire), and Google Play (Android), and both versions of the app work equally well to serve you your media, as well as upload files to the SanDisk Connect’s storage. The app reports how much space is free on the device and whatever SD card you install (SDHC/SDXC cards are supported). This gives you the ability to pop the card out of your camera, pop it in the SanDisk Connect, and review the files on the larger screen of your iPad or Samsung Galaxy Note tablet. The storage capacity also lets you upload pictures and videos from your iPhone or Galaxy S4 to free up space. Uploaded files get shunted to their own Media Drive Upload folder, so it can be easily found when you hook the SanDisk Connect back up to a PC. Speaking of PCs and Macs, you can connect to the SanDisk Connect via a web browser, in case you need to transfer files or look at pictures when you’ve left the USB cord at home.
Copying files through the USB cable run at USB 2.0 speeds, which are slow, though USB is still a bit faster than Wi-Fi. Since the drive we reviewed has a 32GB capacity, waiting isn’t that much of a chore, but syncing 1TB as you can on the Seagate Wireless Plus would be unbearable via either method. SanDisk claims that you can stream 720p HD to up to five devices, and I had no trouble connecting a variety of devices and viewing 1080p HD on a laptop, music on an iPad, and various videos in varying resolutions on a few iPhones simultaneously. I noticed that the app sometimes paused while the drive caught up and served new media, but it wasn’t anything that a streaming video user would find objectionable.
The Connect Wireless Media Drive allows Internet pass-through, using either a home-based wireless router or mobile hotspot. The extra hop slowed Internet throughput speed tests by a few Mbps, but on the whole the experience was seamless and worked well. The device claims an eight-hour battery life, and we corroborated that, streaming to various devices over several days’ testing. The Connect Wireless Media Drive comes with a one-year warranty.
The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive looks good, particularly when compared with its primary competition, namely the Kingtson Wi-Drive and HP Pocket Playlist. All three are light, tiny flash-based drives that have built-in Wi-Fi adapters for use with tablets, smartphones, and laptops. The drive trumps the other two with ExFAT formatting, a more polished app, SD card expandability, and a more compact enclosure. It’s not quite the best available wireless media drive, as the Seagate Wireless Plus, our Editors’ Choice for wireless media drives, has a much higher capacity, USB 3.0, adapter compatibility with Thunderbolt, and a sync utility that’s easy to use.
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||32 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc