Three Up, Three Down: The Kingston Wi-Drive

Brian  

I’m kicking off a new series of reviews here: Three Up, Three Down.

First up is the Kingston Wi-Drive, a portable wireless hard drive for iOS devices.

Wi-Drive Box

Leading Off

I’ve been using Kingston’s Wi-Drive for the last month. It’s a small, lightweight wireless hard drive for use with iOS devices. The model I’ve been using is 16GB. To connect, you use the Wi-Drive app (free in the App Store). Estimated battery life is 4 hours, which I found to be accurate. It comes nicely packaged, with a nod to Cupertino.

Cupertino comparison

Three Up

  1. Everything about it is fast. Using the app, setting up the connection, and accessing content on the Wi-Drive is fast. After about five minutes to set up the app and connect to the drive, I was streaming Batman Begins. Once I selected the movie in the app, it was playing in less than three seconds. And scrubbing forward and back in the movie was instant. Zero delays. Very fast. It also remembered where I left off in the movie I was watching.
  2. It’s light and small. It’s slightly thinner than an iPhone 4s and can easily fit in any pocket, purse or backpack for easy portability (thought I don’t recommend it for reasons outlined below).
  3. You can share the connection. Up to three users can connect simultaneously, allowing up to three people to access the media on the drive wirelessly. I experienced no issues accessing the same content on multiple devices at the same time.

Wi App Interface

Three Down

  1. You can only connect via WiFi. This is limiting, because you have to disconnect from your regular WiFi network to use the device. You can use the app’s wireless network function to connect the Wi-Drive to a wireless network, but it’s not perfect. For instance, I couldn’t type in a network that wasn’t broadcasting its SSID. Also, if you leave the car or hotel room, your device may not reconnect to the Wi-Drive automatically. Having to connect to its WiFi network, then open the app, then find your media every time can become rather annoying. I’d rather just have the media on my device. Finally, you can’t use iPhone tethering while you’re using the Wi-Drive.
  2. It’s expensive. When I received the drive, it was priced at $129 and $179 for the 16GB and 32GB models, respectively. Currently prices have dropped to $69 and $99 on Amazon, which is much better.
  3. It gets hot when it’s being used. Really hot. Scorching hot. Not good. While it’s built for portability, you can’t keep this in a pocket, a laptop bag or even resting near a piece of paper, for fear it might catch on fire or burn up the drive.

Wi-Drive Closeup

The Final Score

I can see this device being useful for someone with an 8GB iOS device, families on a road trip or a long plane ride, or possibly small teams during a business meeting. Outside of those scenarios, it’s doubtful that you’ll get much use out of a Wi-Drive, and the heat is a major concern. For the money, you’d be better off upgrading to a larger capacity device or upgrading your Dropbox account.

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