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Videos and music make long flights and arduous commutes bearable. But if there’s just not enough room on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad for everything you want to hear or see, the Kingston Wi-Drive tacks on an extra 32GB by streaming directly to your iOS device.
The pocket-sized Wi-Drive is roughly the size, shape, and weight of an iPod touch. A tiny power button on the side flashes red when charging and green when streaming, and additional indicator lights let you know when the Wi-Fi is on and the drive is in use. It connects to your Mac via a mini USB cable (great, another cable to tote around), and comes ready to use right out of the box—there’s no formatting required and it works interchangeably between Macs and PCs.
More space for media, without taking up much space itself.
True, 32GB may not seem like enough space for your media, especially compared to other streaming hard drives like the 500GB Seagate GoFlex Satellite (3.5 stars, Sep/11). But the idea behind the Wi-Drive is that it’s a supplement to your primary mobile device, and that it’s quicker to drag and drop files to the Wi-Drive than using iTunes. Of course, this means that the Wi-Drive is basically nothing more than a glorified flash drive, and you’ll still have to transfer media from your Mac to the device over the USB 2.0 connection, but at least there’s no conversion or compression needed.
The Wi-Drive’s major selling point is its spectacular Wi-Fi abilities—it uses an 802.11n connection that can simultaneously stream to your iOS device and allow you to surf with mobile Safari by connecting to a shared Wi-Fi network. Other streaming drives force you to choose between surfing the web or media streaming, but Kingston enabled the Wi-Drive to do both, if you tweak a setting in the free, companion Wi-Drive iOS app. The app also displays the content streaming from the drive, and lets you update the firmware, easily navigate your stored media, and log on to the shared Wi-Fi network. The Wi-Drive supports any file type that iOS allows, and you can scrub video forward and back without any buffering. You can also stream content to up to three iOS devices at a time.
The bottom line. If you can stomach the low-capacity disk space, the Kingston Wi-Drive is worth it for its ultra-portability and Wi-Fi functionalities. At $174.99 for 32GB, it’s a little pricey, considering the previously reviewed Seagate GoFlex Satellite is $199.99 for 500GB, but we appreciate the surf-n-stream flexibility.
USB 2.0, Wi-Drive app (free)
Connects to shared Wi-Fi network to allow you to stream media and surf the web simultaneously. Flash storage means fewer worries of disk failure.
Small capacity. A bit pricey for what you’re getting. Can’t stream while it’s charging.