Attractive, compact and lightweight design; Expandable storage; Intuitive software; Long battery life
Short USB cable; No wireless interface with PCs; Slow transfer speeds
The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive lets you stream movies and music wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet, but struggles with more than one device.
If you have an iPhone, HTC One or another mobile device with non-removable storage, chances are you're stuck with the onboard memory for stashing music and movies. For the multimedia junkie on the move, the $99 SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive offers an extra 64GB of capacity (or $79.99 for 32GB) in a tiny package that iOS and Android device owners can access wirelessly through a free app. Read on to see whether your storage woes are over.
The Media Drive's power button, microUSB 2.0 port, SDHC/SDXC card (expandable by up to 256GB or higher on SDXC) slot and lights sit on its aluminum band. The device's green LEDs indicate its charge, when it's broadcasting Wi-Fi and when it allows access to the Internet via passthrough.
At just 2.6 x 2.6 x 0.52 inches and 2.8 ounces, the Media Drive can slip easily into your pocket, and is much more portable than the $199 Seagate Wireless Plus (5 x 3.5 x 0.78 inches, 9 ounces).
To charge the Media Drive, simply connect it to a PC or Mac using the included USB 2.0 cable or through an outlet using the USB-to-AC adapter that comes in the box. Unfortunately, we found the included USB cable to be on the short side and rather flimsy -- it popped out of the drive entirely too easily. This issue quickly grows annoying when you're trying to move files the old-fashioned way or simply charge the device.
In SanDisk's app, our content was no more than two taps away. Within the app are folders designated for music, movies and photos as well as a generic "Files" folder that houses everything else, such as Word documents and PDFs. However, whether you can actually play those files depends upon whether your device supports that format.
You can transfer and stream files securely to the Media Drive via WEP or WPA encryption. Better yet, you can connect your mobile device to the Internet through the Media Drive, so you can still get online while streaming files from the device itself.
While streaming the latest trailer for "Elysium" at 1280 x 720 to three Samsung Galaxy S4s, an LG Nexus 4 and an iPhone 5, video stuttered on a few devices, while the Nexus 4 got caught in multiple buffering choke points. Streaming 1080p trailers for "The Wolverine" and "Thor: The Dark World" to an iPhone 5 and a Samsung Galaxy S4 resulted in even worse playback, with several complete stops along the way.
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When it was playing, though, video quality was good, with no pixelation or artifacts.
Over USB 3.0, copying the same 4.97GB of multimedia files to the Media Drive took 13:56, a write speed of 6.08 MBps. That pales in comparison to the Seagate Wireless Plus's speed of 32.8 MBps. Copying those files off the Media Drive took 5:20, or 15.9 MBps. The Wireless Plus again came in with a much higher rate of 36.4 MBps.
SanDisk promises up to 8 hours of power from the Media Drive while streaming 720p video to a single device at 2 MBps. In our testing (streaming a 720p video to an iPhone 5), the Media Drive exceeded SanDisk's claim, lasting 10 hours and 9 minutes. This blows away Seagate Wireless Plus, which lasted 3:50 in a similar test.
|Network Connectivity||802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz|
|Size||2.6 x 2.6 x 0.52 inches|