After years of collecting music, pictures, and videos you soon outgrow your iPod and you’re on the search for a bigger iPod with more storage space. That can get very expensive so Kingston looks to solve this problem with their new product, the “Wi-Drive”. This wireless storage solution fills a much needed space adding either 16 or 32 Gigs of flash storage to your iOS or Android devices and even the Kindle Fire. You don’t have to worry about losing the contents of your Wi-Drive when you drop it or keeping it in your pocket while moving.
Hardware. Opening the box of the Wi-Drive you are first presented the Wi-Drive wrapped in plastic. After removing this plastic you are presented with a beautiful shiny black device that is surprisingly lightweight. Comparing the size of the device to my iPod touch (4thGeneration) the Wi-Drive stood just shy of a half inch bigger than the iPod touch and about 2 times thicker than the touch. Don’t get me wrong, this device isn’t big, but it is larger than the iPod touch. Looking at the sides of the device you discover two buttons, one is recessed inside of the device which is the reset button, and the second is a small protruding power button that changes colors based on the battery life. The top of the device features a mini USB port which is used to charge and load files on to the Wi-Drive. On the front of the device you can see two small icons and blue LED’s that represent internet connectivity and the other representing wireless activity. The lights of the two icons turn blue and flicker to let you know they are working. The sleek little device easily fits in your pocket. The battery life of the Wi-Drive is about four hours depending on how many devices are connected and you can easily see the status of the battery by looking at the power button, this button is solid green when the battery life is 75% to 100%, Amber when the battery life is 25% to 74%, and Red when less than 24%
Software. The first thing you’re going to do is plug in the device to your computer to load up some files so just plug in the mini USB cable that is provided and that’s it, start dragging and dropping your files on to the Wi-Drive and you’re ready to go. Remember that the device can hold any file type the file may not show up if your device cannot support that file type. Although I made folders to keep it organized, it’s not necessary.
Kingston has also created a free iPhone application that gives you a better view of the files on the Wi-Drive. You simply run the application and choose your device and you’re presented with a home page which shows the directory of the drive. You can use the buttons at the bottom of the screen to look at your pictures, videos, and music. This is the reason why I said making folders isn’t necessary. Simply tap on what you want and your media starts streaming instantly. Tap on the settings button and you can setup your wireless network, rename your device, and even upgrade the firmware.
This is not the only way to access your media files. The Wi-Drive also supports web browsers. The Wi-Drive is the first device that works with ALL Android devices, not many devices can say this, but the Wi-Drive can. You open up the browser of your choice and navigate to 192.168.200.254 and BAM! All your files are there waiting and ready to be streamed.
Connecting to the Wi-Drive. The first part I found a little weird was how you connect your iDevice to the Wi-Drive. You go into your settings and connect to your Wi-Drive by choosing it in the Wi-Fi networks. Don’t worry though; you will be able to connect to the internet when you connect to your Wi-Drive because the device offers a Wi-Fi pass-through option. When you finish connecting to the Wi-Drive network you can launch the app and set up the Wi-Drive to connect to your wireless network
Does it work? Yes, yes it does. After loading the Wi-Drive up with some music, a few pictures, and one video file I was able to select and start streaming the media almost instantly. Songs started up just as fast as they would if I was browsing the music library directly on my iPod. Turning the Wi-Drive on and getting the device online is the only part that took any amount of time worth talking about. The Wi-Drive takes about 15-20 seconds to boot up and to be usable. But once that is done then there’s barely any waiting at all. Even streaming HD videos didn’t take more than 3 or 4 seconds to start and scrolling to any part of the video only took 3 seconds to start playing from the new location. The Wi-Drive says you can share your media with up to 3 users and I tested out this with my iPod touch and two separate iPads and all played the same video file at the same time without any problems.
Going to PAX East 2012 I wasn’t expecting to see any IOS accessories except for the Icade but boy am I glad I saw the Wi-Drive. The Device worked flawlessly even on the show floor with over 30 Wi-Fi networks running at once there was no problems with performance. The Wi-Drive is a sleek and solid piece of hardware that allows you to bring all your media with you. If you own an Idevice you owe it to yourself to snag one of these. You can pick up a Wi-Drive on Amazon for $45 for the 16 GB version or $90 for the 32GB (as of 4/9/2012)
Note: This device was provided to me by Kingston.