I recently purchased the Kingston Wi-Drive Portable Storage when it was available from Amazon for just $49 and thought of doing an in-depth review of this product on Technofriends. Kingston Wi-Drive (mine is 32GB) is a portable wireless hard disk which works very well with your iOS and Android Devices (and that was the reason i had decided to buy this product, at the very first place). All my iOS Devices (iPad 1st generation, iPhone 4S, iPad 3, iPad mini) are 16gb storage devices and therefore i do find myself locked in situations where i am moving stuff to either Dropbox or Box or some other cloud based storage and this is at times a pain (especially with files > 100 mb) when am traveling. I was on the lookout for a solution to this peculiar problem of mine, when i came across a deal alert from Amazon wherein Kingston Wi-Drive was available for just $49 (32 gb edition) as against its actual price of $83 and i was to be very honest, quick to grab the deal (*wink*).
Data access works through an app that you download on your device (Android or iOS Device only).
In order to get started you need to follow the steps below
a. First charge your wireless drive. The power indicator shown above in the picture is a green led which will blink when the device is charging. Once the Wi-Drive is fully charged, this green light will stop blinking.
When i first got the Kingston Wi-Drive, i directly plugged it to my computer and found that the computer was not recognizing the drive. It was because the drive had no charge, so i had to put it up for charging and then only it was recognized by the computer. Therefore, as a first step its important that you charge the drive completely.
b.Once you have charged the drive, you can connect it to your computer using the mini USB cable which comes with the drive. Your computer should recognize the drive as “Wi Drive” or “KINGSTON” (in my case it was KINGSTON, however the manual says it should be Wi Drive”) in Finder or Explorer. This is the drive in which you should copy your data. (see image below)
c. Now that you have your data on the Wi-Drive, you should download and install the Wi-Drive App from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. (do a search for Wi-Drive on your relevant store and you should be able to get the app link for downloading and installing on the device). I have got the iOS App installed on my iPhone (and iPad).
d. Switch on the drive. When you switch it on (which you can do by pressing the power indicator for a few seconds), it will start underlying Apache server (which is the web server to which the app connects). When the drive is ready to share data, you will see the Wireless (Wifi) indicator on the drive blinking. (see image below)
The way this whole mechanism of extended data storage works is – Kingston has a small Apache server installed on the drive. Apache automatically starts whenever the drive is started. The app (on your iOS / Android device) talks to this apache server to expose the files stored and thereby allows for sharing.
e. Next you need to connect your phone to the wireless network of the Wi-Drive. On your iOS Device, you need to go to Settings –> Wi-Fi . Under Choose a Network, select Wi-Drive (see image below).
f. Next start the app that you downloaded in step c. You will see that the app lists down your Wi-Drive and the IP Address associated with it. (if you don’t see the Wi-Drive listed, ensure that you have followed all the instructions upto this point in the right order and that your Wi-Drive has the green led for wireless network “on”)
Tapping on the Wi-Drive listing above, you will be taken to the next screen which has sections for listing down your pictures, videos and music. The default tab is to all the files.
There is also a settings icon on the screen and if you tap on that you will see the screen as depicted in the image below. There are options to configure your Wi-Drive settings and network settings and an option to upgrade the firmware of the Drive.
Lets start by going through the various settings available under Wi-Drive settings menu. Using the Wi-Drive settings screen, you can do the following
- Set a Device name – this will be the name shown on your Wifi settings screen (on your phone) as specified in step e above.
- Visibility Status – this will broadcast the SSID to other devices. If this is set to Off, you will not see the SSID listed on your phone in step e above.
- Security – you can set a WEP / WPA key to login to the wireless network. If this is set, any wireless connection to the drive, will require you to login to the network (default is off and i have let it like that for now).
Next up, let’s talk about the Network Connection menu – this is an important menu and you should definitely configure it. If this is left un-configured, you will not be able to access internet while connected to this drive. The way it works is – your drive will connect to the Wifi network of your choice (which you configure) and act as a proxy for the internet traffic. Your phone or tablet will still be connected to the Wi-Drive, but all requests which require internet connection will be forwarded to the wireless router you configure in this section. Therefore, i would suggest definitely configuring this section.
Do note – that if you are connecting to a wireless network which requires a password, you will be presented with another screen to enter the password in order to join the network.
Key Features of Kingston Wi-Drive that make my purchase worth every penny
1. Allows you to virtually extend storage of your iOS device by adding a 32 / 64/ 128 GB wireless storage, which can be used to store your music, movies, pdf’s etc.
2. Kingston Wi-Drive is just 4.8 x 2.4 x 0.4 inches and weighs just 4 ounces, which makes it a perfect travel companion. Its thin and compact.
3. Battery is obviously rechargeable. Though, the charge does dissipate soon.
4. It allows upto 3 users simultaneously to access data stored. These users can be on any platform (iOS or Android only supported as per my knowledge at the time of writing this article).
5. The way to push data to the drive is by connecting the miniUSB to USB cable which comes included with the pack to the computer and then transferring the data.
6. You can also access the Internet by connecting the device with the outbound wireless network ( as already explained above)
Some features, I hope Kingston really works and Improves upon
a. The battery life – though advertised 4 hours, i have always got only around 3 hours max from this device.
b. I cannot write to the disc wirelessly from my iOS Device. I can only read from the Drive wirelessly.I wish there was some file explorer kind of interface which allowed me to read and write to the disc without needing an app.
c. Data transfer speed from my computer to the drive was quite slow.
d. I also found that the device gets very hot while in use. So ensure you have a well ventilated room / environment when using the drive.
What’s in the Box, Pricing and Warranty
At the time of writing this article, Kingston Wi-Drive is available for $89.99 from Amazon (US). You get the following as part of the box
- Kingston 32GB Wi-Drive Flash Storage for Apple iDevices
- mini USB to USB Cable
Kingston Wi-Drive comes with a 1-Year Limited Warranty.
Overall I am very pleased with the Kingston Wi-drive and use it on a daily basis. I have my audiobooks, my photos, some of my videos and other files on the drive. If you are in the market to buy a portable storage for your iOS or Android device, I will suggest you definitely give Kingston Wi-drive a serious thought.
Follow me on Twitter at @vaibhav1981 Kingston, Kingston Wi-Drive, Portable Storage, Review