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Kingston Wi-Drive

4 Stars- Techdad Review

Kingston Wi-Drive

Have you ever found yourself wishing you could extend the storage of your smartphone or tablet? If so, Kingston has stepped up to provide you with a solution. The Wi-Drive is a wireless storage solution for your device––and it’s a good one.

PROS

  • Easy to set up
  • Supports all native iOS file types
  • Android support coming in November ’11
  • Acts as a bridge to extend Wi-Fi connection
  • Connectivity for up to three devices
  • Small and sleek design

CONS

  • Bridge mode currently doesn’t support unadvertised Wi-Fi networks
  • Can get pretty warm

IN THE BOX

Wi-Drive box Wi-Drive charger

The Wi-Drive comes with a Getting Started guide, a wall plug for charging, and a USB cable

DESIGN

The Wi-Drive is basically a flash-based USB storage device that comes in 16GB and 32GB sizes. Since it uses flash memory, rather than a mechanical drive, the Wi-Drive is incredibly slim and light.

Wi-Drive top

The exterior is made out of a glossy plastic that looks great, but attracts a fair amount of dust and fingerprints.

Wi-Drive charging port

At the top of the Wi-Drive is a standard mini-USB port for connecting it to a computer and for charging.

Wi-Drive side

On the right side is a small power button and a pinhole reset button.

Despite the thin plastic material for the housing, the Wi-Drive feels pretty well-made. It does creak a bit though, if you put pressure on the plastic housing. I also wish it had non-skid feet on the backside to keep it from sliding around.

SETUP

Setting up the Wi-Drive is pretty simple and involves just three steps: 1. Connect the Wi-Drive to a computer and transfer files over 2. Install the free Wi-Drive app 3. Connect your device to the Wi-Drive over Wi-Fi.

The Wi-Drive can be connected to a Windows XP computer and higher, Mac OS 10.5 and higher, and Linux 2.6 and higher. No drivers are needed as the Wi-Drive just shows up as an external USB drive. For maximum compatibility, the drive is formatted in FAT32. When I connected the 16GB model, it showed a formatted capacity of 14.3GB.

Wi-Drive capacity

Once connected, I transferred over some music, photos, video files and documents to the Wi-Drive.

After transferring the files over, I downloaded the free Wi-Drive app from the App Store. The Wi-Drive only supports iOS devices currently, but I’m told that Android support is coming in November. Out of the box, the Wi-Drive is configured as an open Wi-Fi network. I went into the iPad’s network settings and the drive showed up in the network list as “Wi-Drive.”

Wi-Drive settings

If you want to keep the contents of your Wi-Drive private, you can change the device name (SSID), disable advertising (visibility), and set a password using WPA2. You can also set up bridge mode so that you can connect to the Wi-Drive and a Wi-Fi network at the same time. Without configuring bridge mode, you’ll only be connect to the Wi-Drive itself, but not the Internet. Unfortunately, the firmware in the Wi-Drive doesn’t support unadvertised networks yet, but I’m told that it’s in the works.

Wi-Drive network settings

 

USAGE

The Wi-Drive is very easy to use. First, you connect to the Wi-Drive over your device’s Wi-Fi connection, then launch the Wi-Drive app and browse the drive for media. Tap on the media you want to view or hear and that’s pretty much it. You can even transfer files from the Wi-Drive to your device, if you feel like keeping something locally.

Wi-Drive media list

I had no problems with music, videos, photos, or documents. All the streaming content was smooth and free from lag or stuttering. If you want something that just works, the Wi-Drive is it. The only issue I had was that the drive does get a little warm so you might not want to store it in your pants pocket while it’s in use.

Battery life is rated at 4 hours and the power button doubles as a battery indicator. A green LED indicates 51-100% battery life remaining. An orange LED indicates 25-50% remaining and a red LED indicates less than 25% charge remaining.

CONCLUSION

The Kingston Wi-Drive is dead simple to set up and even easier to use. The form factor keeps the drive conveniently portable for use on the go and with an Android app coming soon, the popularity of the Wi-Drive is bound to go up. If you’re looking to add storage to your smartphone or tablet, the Wi-Drive is one of the easiest and coolest ways to do it.

Available from Amazon.com.

Review unit provided by Kingston.

Ed Rhee

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ed is an IT veteran turned stay-at-home-dad of two girls. He's contributed how-to's for CNET and reviews any gadget he can get his hands on.


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  1. Ron Basmajian
    December 28th, 2012 at 13:35 | #1

    Have heard that the Kingston Wi Drive limits the amount of data you can load from any one file. Is this true? If so, will this limitation be corrected or eliminated? If so, this little unit will be a great addition to carry data libraries with you on long trips, etc. Anyone out there have an answer?

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