Portable hard drives allow you to free up space from your tablet or smartphone as you can keep all your files safe and carry them with you wherever you go. Cloud storage services are another popular option to stream your media content. However, many people prefer the convenience of hard drives as they can make their files easily accessible and because there are no subscription costs. The Kingston Wi-Drive is a well established portable hard drive, which includes a rechargeable battery and that lets you connect to internet and use the hard drive at the same time. The Kingston Wi-Drive stands out for its portability and flash memory technology but in terms of storage capacity it falls behind other options. You can get between 16GB and 64GB, which could be enough for many people but in general, it is still unsatisfactory considering that there are other drives that offer up to 2TB. That being said, the Kingston Wi-Drive can be a suitable choice for anyone that is looking for a practical and affordable hard drive that can stream media content through Wi-Fi.
Design and Settings
A compact, lightweight design is what makes the Wi-Drive a convenient option. It resembles a smartphone so you can easily carry it in your pocket or your handbag without adding too much bulk or weight. The fact that it uses flash memory also makes it efficient when it comes to data transfers and more resistant than a platter hard drive. The power button indicates the battery level using different colours. If the battery is low, the button will glow red, if it’ medium, it will glow orange and when the battery is fully charged or close to it, it will glow green. The mini USB port to transfer files between your PC and the drive and that also allows you to charge the battery is located at the edge of the device. Once you connect the drive to a computer using a USB connection, you will be able to view, organize and transfer your files. As we mentioned, the battery can be charged using the USB port but you will not be able to establish a wireless connection while the drive is connected. However, you will also get an AC adapter that you can use if you need to recharge the battery while you continue using the Wi-Drive.
In order to access the files transferred to your drive from your tablet you can wirelessly connect the two devices. You just need to connect to the Wi-Drive from the Wi-Fi connections available in your mobile device. The Wi-Drive will appear listed along other Wi-Fi access points and once you have connected to it, the next step will be to download the Wi-Drive app, which is available for free from Google Play Store, Amazon and Apple’s App store. The app’s interface is user-friendly and allows you to navigate through your photos, music and videos easily. When you select the video you want to watch, it will start playing almost instantly and there are multiple formats supported, including MP4, MOV and M-JPEG. You can stream content o up to three devices simultaneously. It is possible to modify the wireless channel and use password protection for the wireless access to enhance its security. Additionally, you can stay connected to internet as you are still using the Wi-Drive.
Performance and Battery life
The transfer speed for files from a PC to the Wi-Drive varies according to the size and type of the file but in general, the rates are decent (you could transfer a full movie in just over one minute) but not impressive, specially since other hard drives allow you to transfer large video files in only a few seconds. Accessing internet through Wi-Drive; Bridge mode will reduce the download speed when compared to direct wireless connection to an access point but only slightly so in light to moderate internet browsing you will not experience major issues. The streaming quality was good, even though you may experience a few hiccups and the player does not allow you to skip video chapters.
The battery offers over 4 hours of life when you use the drive to stream a full movie to a mobile device, using the Wi-Fi drive. This is not as good as other portable hard drive options but considering the slim design and small size, this is a good amount of time that will be enough to enjoy two movies while you are on the go. The app responsiveness could be improved but in general, you will not experience major delays to play or access your files.
Just like the SanDisk Connect, the Wi-Drive from Kingston offers a compact and practical option to extend the capacity of files that you can access from your tablet without adding a great deal of weight or bulkiness. However the storage capacity is limited but at $35 (for the 32GB) it appears as an affordable option. You can get higher capacity for slightly more money. Still, it fits conveniently in your pocket, allows you to stream your media content and share your files and if you do not have high storage requirements, the Wi-Drive could be a good option.