SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive review

5 out of 5
From £40

For

Easy to use, microSD means capacity can be updated, can connect to eight devices at a time, media streaming to three devices at a time

Against

Four hour battery life limitation, can't stream when plugged in and used as a USB drive

With more and more of us owning multiple devices, remembering what content is on which device can be a problem. So SanDisk has come up with what it believes is the ideal solution: the Connect Wireless Flash Drive.

Although it may look much like a normal USB key, the Connected Wireless Flash Drive is far more interesting. Used as a central storage device it can wirelessly share and stream content among your devices without the need for an internet connection.

Sounds clever, but is the SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive the answer to your content issues?

The premise

The Connect Wireless Flash Drive comes in three capacities: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. The largest capacity costs around £70, while the lowest can be picked up for around £40. But it's not built-in, it's an included microSD card - so if you want to upgrade later then it's just a case of switching the card.

If you have a Windows PC, Apple tablet and Android smartphone then that's no problem. The flash drive allows you to wirelessly stream movies, photos, music, and documents throughout all the common platforms - iOS, Android, Windows and Mac - without the need for an internet connection. For Mac and PC there is a browser intervention, but it still works.

You can wirelessly connect up to eight devices to access shared content, although it's only possible to stream media to three of those at any one time.

That's immediately appealing for work or play. For us the ability to quickly share files between colleagues while out in the field is a primary work-related positive, while on a more entertainment focus, having a grouped collection of movies for the kids to watch via separate tablets in the back of the car is great.

Design

The SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive is akin to a USB thumb drive in shape and size. It's small and discreet making it easily lost in a bag or comfortably slotted into a jeans pocket when you are on the go.

The top of the device features a slide-down outer jacket to reveal a USB male connector, while a silver on/off button is found half way down the shaft. There are a couple of status lights to inform you what's going on too.

That USB can be used for transferring files in double fast time, but also doubles as the charging mechanism because the Connect Wireless Flash Drive needs power to operate. There's a built-in battery to keep things chugging along, which lasts for about four hours at a time when not plugged in. Using multiple devices at the same time doesn't seem to affect the battery life either.

In practice

After you've downloaded the dedicated app for your phone or tablet you then go through a simple setup procedure that lets you setup the SanDisk device. It's all fairly straightforward stuff and then that's it - off you go.

The dedicated app allows you to access movies, photos, music, and documents, and the app supports most of the standard media formats in use today. It also allows you to upload photos and other content from your phone to the drive to be shared with other devices, although if you are accessing through a web browser you can't upload files.

Look ma, no internet

Where the SanDisk device really succeeds is that you won't need an internet connection for it to work. As long as your devices are Wi-Fi capable and have the dedicated SanDisk app installed (for phone and tablet users anyway) then the Wireless Flash Drive creates its own local signal and operates using that.

That means you can continue to use your devices data plans as normal while locally sourcing content from the SanDisk at the same time. Handy if you are in a car, on a plane, or somewhere where connection isn't great.

Playback in all cases is instant, you can continue to use the drive while it's charging, and it comes with a range of around 50-metres. However, we have found that you can't stream if you've got it plugged into a computer and accessed as a drive.

Verdict

If you are looking to expand storage capacities on your mobile devices then the SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive is a great way to do it.

It works across multiple platforms and the benefit of only having one copy of your favourite movies in the one place is an obvious benefit. No need to worry about syncing all your devices together. We especially like the ability to keep the kids happy in the back of the car with one depository of movies rather than wondering which iPad has which film on it.

For work and play, the SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive isn't just another boring USB device. This little stick elevates streaming and sharing capabilities and has changed how we consume content when on the go and without an internet connection.