The concept for Kingston’s 64GB Wi-Drive is a little difficult to communicate to most people, but we’ve decided the best analogy is real estate.
Pretend you live in Tokyo or Manhattan and your $850,000 condo is just 700 square feet. What do you do with all your crap? Get a storage unit.
That’s precisely how Kingston’s clever little Wi-Drive works. Coming in sizes of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, the Wi-Drive lets you offload video, images, and music onto a diminutive battery-powered device. To access the files, you simply connect your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to the Wi-Drive via Wi-Fi. Even better, the Wi-Drive allows up to three simultaneous users so it essentially operates as a personal media server. For storage-limited devices such as the Kindle Fire or small-capacity iPads, the Wi-Drive lets you live large with media.
The Wi-Drive works as a small, battery-powered media server.
We found the device’s range to be pretty fair. It’s ample enough to let you watch videos stored on it while your friend or family member also watches from their seat 10 rows behind you on the plane. Adding files is as simple as plugging the device into your PC, where it’s recognized as a USB mass storage device.
On your Android or iOS device, you need to install a small client available from each platform’s application store. On Android units, the app lets you pick your media player of choice, so we had no problems consuming the different video formats; iOS was pickier.
In places where you have Wi-Fi, you can configure the Wi-Drive to work as an access point, too. It supports WEP, WPA, and WPA2 on 802.11g/n. For the security-conscious folks, you’ll want to enable encryption. By default, the device runs wide open, which could be quite embarrassing, as anyone on your flight could connect to and view your files. So unless you’re Kim Kardashian, you should probably lock down the device.
The Wi-Drive is almost too easy to use, but we did have a couple of issues, such as the use of a Mini USB charger. What is this, freaking 2008? Getting it to run on external power is also tricky. You can’t turn on the unit when it’s plugged into a charger. What you have to do is unplug it, turn it on, and then plug it back into the charger. Unplugging the charger also kicks off power, oddly. As is, the unit will give you about three to four hours of streaming before the onboard battery goes. We think that’s short, but honestly, most of the devices you’ll be using to watch the videos will probably be dead, too.
As we mentioned, we’re also confused by the use of a Mini USB port instead of Micro USB.
These are fairly tiny annoyances, though, in what is otherwise a pretty solid product. What could make it better? Perhaps a microSD slot to add additional storage and a heftier battery pack for longer flights. It would also be cool to be able to drop videos on the unit once it’s been mounted on your network, but that’s probably making it far too complicated. As is, the Wi-Drive works pretty damn well.