Sunday, 21 December 2014

SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive 32GB

SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive 32GB

Mark reviews a storage device that confronts all his expectations

It's not often that this gnarled reviewer finds a device that I'd almost class as magical. But the SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive is almost that, and threw many of my initial expectations out of the window in short order.

Handling it for the first time it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to deduct that this is a nicely made, slightly large by modern standards, USB flash memory device.

The review model has a 32GB capacity, but that's easily modifiable, because the Connect is actually a mobile caddy for a micro-SD card that you can easily remove and replace, should you want more space.

Inside the Connect, SanDisk used one of its micro-SD Ultra SDHC chips, which isn't the fastest storage it makes.

My testing concludes that putting a quicker one in there would have been a waste, because the Connect only uses USB 2.0, limiting the potential performance available.

Read speeds of 17.5MB/S and write performance of 8MB/s dictate that filling the Connect with files can take some time. If you're short of time, removingthe micro-SD and putting it in a USB 3.0 reader will speed up writing by about 50%.

I'm forced to conclude, that as a USB flash storage device, the Connect is a bit disappointing, but that's not the whole story.

The Raison d'etre of the Connect is that it can be connected to wirelessly, using either a web interface or a SanDisk-designed iOS/ Android application.

Initially I was confused by why you would do this, because surely it would be easier to talk to the PC in which the Connect was inserted?

However, what I'd not considered was that a device as small as this could have an internal battery and use it to operate entirely independently.

It does, and it even supports three wirelessly connected clients simultaneously.

After a two-hour charge, you can expea approximately four hours of use, depending on aaivity and client numbers. Longer would be better, and you do need a PC to charge it up again, but that you can do this at all is quite something.

While many people have larger music colleaions, 32GB is sufficient space to get a boatload of MP3s on the Connea or a few TV show seasons.

SanDisk offers a bigger 64GB model that costs about £79 or a smaller 16GB version that can be found for about £35. The 64GB model includes an SDXC chip with exFAT large file support.

That option hints at some very obvious improvements that SanDisk could make, not least supporting 128GB SDHX and higher performance transfers through USB 3.0. But as a first stab, the Connect has much to recommend it for.

I wish it was cheaper, but considering how much a wireless enabled external hard drive costs, it's not exorbitantly expensive. Mark Pickavance

A battery-powered wi-fi sharing memory stick

Form Factor: USB flash drive Charging: USB port
Available capacities: 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB wi-fi standards: 802.11 a/b/g/n
Security: Optional wi-fi password protection
Dimensions: 76 mm x 25 mm x 12mm
Operating temperature: 0° - 45° C
Storage temperature: 20° - 70° C
Support: Two-year warranty in EMEA and APAC