Ingenious and compact wireless storage device
File access must be made through the Wi-Drive iOS app
$139 (32GB); $200 (64GB)
With the new iPad’s Retina display, developers are able to create apps that have more of a visual impact. However, apps that support higher-detailed graphics end up occupying more storage space – so you may find yourself running short.
iCloud is there to help and you can rely on other online storage services, but perhaps you don’t want to have to depend on an internet connection. You could consider an external storage device for your iPad, such as Kingston’s Wi-Drive.
The Wi-Drive is a small flash drive, available in 32GB ($139) and 64GB ($200) capacities. Roughly the same size as an iPhone 4, the Wi-Drive can be easily stashed in your pocket or bag. You’ll need to use a USB cable (included) to connect it to a Mac or PC and transfer files from the computer and to charge the Wi- Drive’s battery.
To load files on the Wi-Drive, you connect it to your computer via USB and drag-and-drop files onto it.
It is formatted using FAT32, so both Macs and Windows can read and write to it.
When you’ve finished copying files to the Wi-Drive, you must disconnect it before your iOS devices can access it. You also need to install the free Wi-Drive app on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.
As its name implies, the Wi-Drive is equipped with 802.11g/n wireless technology, which is used by your iOS device to connect to the drive. Kingston says the drive has a 10m range; we had no problems connecting and streaming videos from as far as 15m.
To connect to the Wi-Drive, you go into your iOS device’s Wi-Fi settings and find the Wi- Drive as an available network. By default, when you connect to the Wi-Drive, you won’t have internet access.
However, the Wi-Drive can be set up so that it essentially acts as a Wi-Fi extender of your router, in which case you can access the internet as well as the drive.
When you watch videos or listen to audio, the media streams smoothly to your iOS device. With photos, the app displays a set of thumbnails which you can tap on to see a larger image.
There’s one major limitation to the Wi-Drive: Files on it can only be accessed through the Wi-Drive app. There’s no way to, say, move a video from the Wi- Drive into Video in iOS so it can be used in iMovie for iOS. (You also can’t move a file from your iOS device to the Wi-Drive.)
There is a workaround you could use at a pinch: You can email files smaller than 10MB from within the Wi-Drive app, so you can email a file to yourself and hen save the attachment in the appropriate location on your iOS device.
Kingston’s Wi-Drive is a nice companion for your iOS device, especially if you are on a long trip and you’re unsure about internet access while on the road. The file transfer limitation may be frustrating for people who are using the iPad for content creation, but it works well for content consumption