Limitations in storage capacity on iOS devices have been rather crippling. This sentiment has been felt, ever since the first iPhone was launched, way back in 2007. The lack of expandable storage was quite a disappointment and this becomes apparent when one tends to record a lot of video in HD with a naturally high file size. Most Android users have it a little better as they have the option of adding a microSD card to expand storage, but sometimes this too isn't enough.
A new trend seems to be catching on with manufacturers who specialize in storage solutions that take the portable hard drive to a whole new playing field. Providing a viable option for a portable NAS solution, these new drives will help boost your iOS and Android device’s storage. Here’s a quick look at what’s available in India today.
The Kingston Wi-Drive is a solution designed for iOS devices, but Android owners can benefit from it, too. The drive is available in three capacities – 16, 32 and 64GB. Dressed in glossy black with a silver rim and ultra slim design, the Wi-Drive is aesthetically designed and made for easy portability. The app interface for the Wi-Drive is extremely easy to use. It features a dedicated media player, but supports only basic video formats, like MP4, H.264 and 3GP. That translates to you having to convert files to an iPhone/iPad acceptable format for playback on Android as well. However, in order to play video content that’s not standard to your handset, i.e. is not natively supported, you’ll need to get a third party player. Unfortunately only Android offers free options (MoboPlayer or Rockplayer). The GoFlex app will allow you to choose from the players you’ve installed for files you wish to access.
The drive also supports a bridge connection, allowing one to be paired with a Wi-Fi network for browsing and simultaneously for streaming data from the drive. The Wi-Drive supports up to three devices with playback of the same file simultaneously across all three. It does have a few noticeable restrictions, but is surely best ergonomically designed for portability.
Transcend StoreJet Cloud
Following in the footsteps of the Kingston drive, Transcend recently unveiled their StoreJet Cloud. When it comes to looks, it doesn’t do very well. It features a glossy black top panel, a matte black rear panel and a silver border. It features a USB 2.0 interface for transferring files to and from the drive to the PC.
To enable the drive on a smartphone, all one needs to do is download the StoreJet Cloud app via iTunes or the Google Play store, dump files onto the drive via a PC and just stream content off the drive. Like the Wi-Drive, the StoreJet Cloud also features bridge connectivity for simultaneous web and drive browsing capabilities. The interface is easy to use and in terms of features, the Transcend and the Kingston options are nearly identical. One advantage is that the StoreJet Cloud allows you to pair the device with up to five smartphones/tablets at the same time.
Transcend StoreJet Cloud
The app for the drive sports a built-in media player, allowing one to play videos and other media from within the app itself. There’s support for quite a few formats preloaded and for those that aren’t natively supported, once again a third party option will come to the rescue. The standard definition and high definition playback from the drive is decent in terms of streaming and copying files to and from the drive to your handset/tablet. The option to copy files is another trump card over the Wi-Drive that’s designed for streaming only.
Seagate GoFlex Satellite
The option from Seagate has similar qualities found on the other two devices with a few tweaks of its own. Where the other two models were completely pocketable solutions, this drive resembles a standard portable hard drive, meaning it’s not as light or small. When it comes to looks, it’s not the sleekest of the lot and in comparison comes off as quite bulky, but where the others max out at 64GB in storage, the Satellite comes with a total capacity of 500GB. On the other hand, it’s also quite a neat looking drive with its black gloss finish and gray border. With USB 3.0 support, transfers to the drive from your PC is a speedy process and naturally it’s backward compatible with 2.0.
Seagate GoFlex Satellite
Like the competition, the Satellite can be paired with either Android or iOS devices by using a dedicated app that can be downloaded from the respective app stores. The interface is really well-designed and the layout of the content is quite detailed. Like the models from Kingston and Transcend, this option, too has the ability to be paired with more than one handset. However, it supersedes its competitors by offering the option of pairing up to eight devices at a time.
The Wi-Fi range of the Satellite is really good and so is the video playback. iPad users are in luck. Instead of converting files for playback on the iOS device, you could use OPlayerHD Lite (Free edition with some constraints) to access the drive via net and play videos off it. For Android, any third party video app with multiple codec support will come to the rescue.
Here’s a quick look at all three devices and their specs and prices –
When it comes down to it, it’s only the Kingston Wi-Drive and the Transcend StoreJet Cloud that actually compete with each other, as both are pocketable options and are available in similar storage capacities. If price is taken into consideration, then the Wi-Drive narrowly edges ahead of the StoreJet by being priced slightly better. Another thing that's going for the Wi-Drive is that it’s available in a 16GB capacity, which gives users the option of a lower capacity, if 32GB or 64GB seems like too much.
The Seagate GoFlex Satellite is a category by itself, as it features a larger form factor and a much higher storage capacity. This model can be used as a portable drive as well, thus reducing the need to buy an external hard drive. With the new USB 3.0 interface becoming the standard choice for many PC manufacturers, the drive is futureproof as well.
The bottom line is that if you’re in the market for a portable media streaming solution slash storage booster for your iOS device and money is no constraint, irrespective of its dimensions, then we recommend you the Satellite. It’s a far more versatile device and is priced only slightly more than the highest (64GB) capacity options than the other two.
If size matters, then we’re recommending you opt for the Transcend StoreJet Cloud. Although it’s rather generic in design and more expensive than the Wi-Drive, the fact that its built-in player supports more codecs will make it ideal for iOS users who don’t wish to waste time with video conversion.
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