A tiny yet versatile Wi-Fi storage device

A tiny yet versatile Wi-Fi storage device


The good: The miniature SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive offers long battery life, a robust mobile app, and a standard SD card slot that provides a new level of flexibility in mobile storage space, media sharing, and entertainment.

The bad: The device is very slow when working as a portable storage device via its USB 2.0 port and it comes with just a one-year warranty.

The bottom line: The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive makes up for its slow USB speed by offering an excellent feature set and an SD card slot that will make most casual mobile users happy, especially photographers.

The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive is very tiny considering all the components it has, including a battery, up to 64GB of storage, a Wi-Fi network, and a SD card slot.

The new device is the latest member to join the long list of battery-operated Wi-Fi storage devices and is the first from SanDisk, a major maker of flash-based storage devices, and comes with up to 64GB of built-in flash memory. However, users can expand its capacity to up to 192GB thanks to its built-in standard SD card slot. The card slot also means that you can quickly view or share photos/videos shot by a digital camera, to up to eight Wi-Fi devices at a time.

The new device worked well in my testing as a mobile media streaming/backup server, but as a USB-connected portable drive it was very slow. However, at just $100 (or $82 if you get the 32GB version), it still makes a great accessories for tablet, smartphone owners or photographers who want to carry some extra content on the go and have the ability to back up, preview, and share content as well as hot spot Internet while traveling. For alternatives that offer better performance, and much larger storage space, check out those on this list.

Compact and versatile

The Media Drive is a tiny square box that's only 2.6 inches wide and 0.52 inch tall. And it's quite amazing what it has packed inside: a battery that offers some 8 hours of usage, up to 64GB of built-in storage space, and a 802.11n Wi-Fi network. Best of all, it comes with a built-in SD card slot, which means you can add more storage to it. Since SD cards now offer up to 128GB, you can pack an impressive amount of data into this tiny device.


With a built-in SD card slot, the Connect Wireless Media drive offers a flexible and convenient way of increasing its storage space or sharing digital photos.

Well-designed mobile app that's Internet-sharing-ready
Like other Wi-Fi storage devices, the Media Drive is designed to work via mobile app. It comes with a free SanDisk Media Drive app that is available for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire devices. This app worked very well in my testing. It automatically organized content into four categories: Videos, Photos, Music, and Files, regardless of the location you copy the file to, be it the Media Drive's internal storage or the connected SD card. The drive scans for new media files in real time; this process took a very short time in my trial. For example, just about a second after I had inserted an SD card, movies and photos stored on the card are already appeared in the respective category.

Alternatively, you can also access the drive's storage via folders and subfolders.

You can swipe through a photo album or folder quite conveniently. You can also play file or an album automatically, or add the file to the mobile device to playback later. When viewing a photo, you also have options to share it via social media or e-mail. All of these options are tightly integrated. With music, background playing is supported, meaning the music will stay on when you close the app to open another app. This is a great feature if you want to listen to music and check your e-mail at the same time.


The SanDisk Media Drive app works very well and offers a lot of features, including the ability to relay Internet access from another Wi-Fi network.

And you can totally do that with the Media Drive since, using the app, you can change its settings and set the drive to connect to another Wi-Fi network. After that, it will relay the Internet access of the other Wi-Fi network and share that connection with the rest of the devices connected to its own Wi-Fi network. This feature is very useful in case you want to share a Wi-Fi hot spot while traveling. It helps only save money -- since you only need to pay for one device, and time, because you don't need to manually connect multiple devices to a new Wi-Fi network.

The addition of an SD card slot means more than just storage expansion. You now can quickly share or preview digital content, be it movies or photos taken with a digital camera, on a screen larger than that of the camera itself, while saving the camera's battery. I tried it with my Nikon D5100 and this worked out very well.

Other than working as a battery-operated mobile storage device, the Media Drive can also work with a computer via its Micro-USB 2.0 port. When connected to a computer using a standard USB cable (one is included), the device appears to the computer as a portable external drive that you can drag and drop data onto. The device is preformatted using the exFAT file system, which means it will work with both Macs and Windows computers without any restriction. When plugged in, the device will also charge its internal battery. You can also choose to charge via an included power adapter.

Source : CNET​