Like many other iPad and iPhone users I am constantly running out of space on my iOS devices. The SanDisk Connect Media Drive is a solution to this problem. It is a small portable device that allows you to store and stream your videos, photos and music, and thus free up space on your device. I tested it with iPad 3. iPad Mini, iPad air 2, iPhone 5 and the LG G3 Android phone.
The media player is small: 2.6” x 2.6” x .52” (65 mm x 65 mm x 13.5 mm) and weighs only 2.7oz. It connects to your iOS or Android device via WiFi and uses a free app. To load content to and from your computer you connect it to the computer’s USB port via a microUSB-USB cable.
I tested out the Media Drive on a recent vacation to Ireland and it was a lifesaver! Before the trip I loaded it with about 30 different feature films from my home DVD collection and also added some TV shows and music. We had a lot of traveling time on the trip with 2 transatlantic flights and many long car rides. It was so easy to let the kids watch their favorite movies on their iPads streaming from the Media Drive. Videos are represented by thumbnails and titles so it is quite easy to find the right video.
By getting them to use headphones with their iPads, all 3 children could watch different movies at once. The streaming worked really well, and the WiFi signal was strong enough that my iPad even picked it up in a downstairs room when the Media Drive was upstairs charging. My younger son has Autism and often after a busy day sightseeing he really needed some downtime, so this was a perfect solution letting him watch his favorite movies on his iPad on the car drive home or in a restaurant. I loved how small and portable the Drive is and the long battery life – I just carried it in my bag every day knowing it would be on hand if needed.
N.B. If your iPad or iPhone is on iOS 8 or later you won’t be able to play videos purchased via iTunes using the Media drive – this is a problem with Apple not enabling Safari based DRM decryption, and affects all similar players not just SanDisk. I overcame this by using copies of my home DVD collection rather than movies from my iTunes account.
I also used it as a way to back up my photos from the trip taken with 3 different mobile phones. This was really useful as it allowed me to remove them from the phones to make space for more photos. By the end of the trip I had 3,000+ photos on it!
It was a very easy way to store and transfer photos, but I would like to see some improvements in the photo section of the app. Once it has a lot of photos on the drive the thumbnails can be slow to load, and it can be quite hard to find the photos you are looking for. You can create albums but none are automatically created. I’d love to see photos automatically sorted by date as they are in the iPhoto app on the iPhone, as this would make it much easier to find photos from a specific event.
A nice additional feature is the Drive has an SD card slot, allowing you to easily view and share photos from your DLSR’s SD card.
To store music on the Media Drive you copy music files from your music library on your computer. On the Media drive app you can view them by Artist, Album, Songs, Genres or Playlists. You can switch between these views using tabs at the top of the page. Albums are represented by their cover art. The music section of the app is very well-organized and easy to use. Similarly to the native iOS music app, you can have music playing in the background whilst you use other apps, send email, surf the web or view your photos. You can stream to multiple devices at once.
Battery Life and Storage Capacity
San Disk reports a battery life of up to 8 hours, streaming to one device. I was often using it with multiple devices and over several hours each day, I recharged it each evening and had no problems with running out of power.
The Media Drive comes in 32 and 64GB versions, I tested the 64GB version, I loved how much storage this provided and what makes it even better is you can easily add additional storage by using SD cards. Before my trip I bought a couple of extra SanDisk Ultra SD cards so I could expand by memory if I needed to and I didn’t even need them. You can buy an extra 62GB of memory for around $30 on Amazon which is a really cheap way to get extra storage SanDisk Ultra 64GB Class 10 SDXC Memory Card Up To 40MB/s-SDSDUN-064G-G46 [Newest Version]
Another nice feature is that within the Media Drive app you can see what % battery charge you have left, as well as how much free storage space on the Media Drive, and how much free space on any SD card you have added.
SanDisk Connect Media Drive is a great portable way to stream movies, music and photos to your tablet or smartphone. The Media Drive streams up to 8hrs, connects to up to 8 devices at once and can stream 5 different movies simultaneously. For me it is a must-have travel accessory for families on the go, and it is very reasonably priced for the amount of extra storage you get. I especially love how you can add even more storage capacity very economically using SD cards. Highly recommended.
It is available with 32GB or 62GB memory and it has a SD card slot to expand capacity. Available from Amazon.com and many other retailers from $69.99 for 32GB version.
SanDisk Connect™ Wireless Media Drive HD
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.