Sharing content wirelessly is something that is the norm in today's modern society. With our mobile devices, computers, and the cloud, everything is in sync and in a constant stream of access. But what happens if you do not have decent broadband internet access, or you are travelling – what do you do then? Well, you could load up one device with everything you need and bring some USB flash drives to pass around to share with others. Or you could look for a more intuitive solution.
Enter the SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive. This cool little device is a portable home entertainment system that can fit in your pocket and stream HD flicks to up to five devices simultaneously, for about eight hours on a single charge. The Wireless Media Drive uses MicroUSB to charge, which doubles as a way to connect the Media Drive to a computer to drag-and-drop files onto it – and it comes with an SD Card slot to instantly share photos.
How much does this SanDisk gadget cost? Well, there are only two models, a 32GB drive and a 64GB drive. The 32GB drive costs £65 ($80, which is around AU$103), and the 64GB drive is £80 ($109, which is around AU$155).
Maybe you are looking for something more traditional but with similar features. In that case, you may want to check out our review of the SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive.
Or maybe you want something that has longer battery life, and can stream music, photos, connect up to eight different devices at a time, and stream five 720p movies at the same time – in that case keep reading.
The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive reminds me of a smaller Apple TV. The dimensions of this flash drive are 2.6 x 2.6 x 0.52-inch (6.5 x 6.5 x 1.35cm). It is tiny and, as mentioned before, the only ports that this device has are a MicroUSB and a port for an SD Card. As for the battery, the Media Drive has a built-in Lithium Ion Battery which can be charged via USB or AC Adapter using the MicroUSB Cable, as we already mentioned.
The system requirements call for a USB 2.0 interface or higher in order to use the SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive via USB. In terms of software, this SanDisk drive works well with Mac OS X 10.6 or higher and Windows XP/Vista/7/8. Yes, it actually works with Windows XP so if you are still using Microsoft's aged OS you are in luck.
The Media Drive lets the user set an optional password for Wi-Fi, but it only allows a WEP-based key or a WPA-based key.
The Connect Wireless Media Drive works with most mobile devices to share files to or from. It supports all iOS devices that are on iOS 6 or better, and Android devices on Android version 2.3 and higher. To connect you just go to your App Store and download the SanDisk Media Drive app.
This SanDisk offering is a nifty device. You can upload to and from it wirelessly from either the web interface or the mobile app. You can stream movies from the SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive seamlessly – it's very slick in this respect.
I uploaded a bunch of movies to it and streamed them to my iPad, iPhone, and Samsung Galaxy S4 simultaneously and there was no stutter in the video or audio. I originally connected all my devices to the Wireless Media Drive in its standalone Wi-Fi mode. But after a while I connected the SanDisk drive to my Wi-Fi network, and I was able to walk around the apartment, which was nice.
To give an example for upload speeds, I uploaded a 690MB file via Wi-Fi which clocked in at 5 minutes 53 seconds. Not bad. Multiple uploads slow the device a little bit, but it is a portable device so that is to be expected.
You can upload music, too, via the web, USB or Wi-Fi, which is smart. To play back, the app streams it to your device, and for computers you can stream music via a Flash-enabled browser.
The mobile app is really beautiful, compared to the basicness of Media Drive's cousin, the SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive, and it is intuitive and very simple to navigate. The app has four main options – Videos, Music, Photos, Files – and from there you just navigate and select files from your device, and upload to the folders on the SanDisk Media Drive.