Where would we be without data storage? Where would we put all those pics of the family, the music, the videos of Gran on the beach? And no matter how much space we have on our computers or devices, it’s never enough is it? Not only that but we don’t want the hassle of moving our content from one place to another with wires, we want it wireless, fast and easy. Fussy, aren’t we?
The good people at Kingston have heard our pleas and come up with a neat little product called the Kingston Wi Drive, which is a slim and elegant solid state drive with varying capacities. Its main claim to fame is the fact that it connects to other devices using its own WiFi connect, instead of using a traditional Bluetooth connection. This means the data transmission is very fast, and also robust enough to cope with streaming video or music, as well as smaller and less complex files.
The downside it it’s fiddly to set up and you also have to bridge your own home network in order to maintain both WiFi connections at the same time. Not exactly suitable for non-geek types. We found it a little glitchy in practice, until we got used to it.
The box comes with just a USB cable, the drive and a bit of documentation, so there’s not much to the set up. First thing is to charge the unit, which can take a few hours, during which time you can go ahead and download either the iPhone or Android app from their respective markets if you’re going to use your phone to access the drive.
Once you’re charged up, it’s just a matter of switching it on by pushing the power button, and then connecting to the drive just as you would your home WiFi. Select ‘Wi Drive‘ from the list of available networks, then press the Connect button. Then be patient, because it can take a minute or so to connect properly, after which you can access the drive via the phone app, or by using your browser and entering in http://192.168.200.254 (early models of the product will need to update the firmware in order to get this feature running).
The data transfer once connected is impressive, with the drive having no problem streaming video and audio to a smartphone. The advantages of WiFi really come into play here. You’ll need to go into the app settings to set up a network bridge if you want to keep your home WiFi connection alive at the same time as you connect to the Kingston product, but thankfully it’s not very difficult, just select your usual home network name (SSID) and hit the connect button.
Overall we like this drive a lot. It’s small enough to fit into your pocket and not be noticeable, and most importantly multiple phones or devices can all connect to it at the same time, which means you can share data and content really easily in a family or work setting. This multi-user ease of use is really crucial and overcomes our niggles with the set up and syncing.
We can imagine a family taking this drive on vacation and using it as a central store for their group camera phone photos and videos, both as a backup and to free up extra space on the phone’s microSD card. And that’s just one application we can think of.
Pros: Super portable, fast and great for linking/streaming with multiple devices on the go.
Cons: The WiFi set up and syncing is definitely a bit fiddly until you get used to it.