Small, lightweight, portable, available up to 128GB, automatic backup of photos and videos, fast transfer of files, direct connection more secure and simpler than WiFi connection
Blocks 2nd USB port when connected to computer, storage not expandable, will not work with older iOS devices (those without lightning connector)
Overall, the iXpand is a great portable storage device for Lightning enabled iOS devices. It is a fast, secure way to back up photos and videos, and allows you to create space on your iOS device by storing photos, videos and music on the iXpand instead of on your device.
Running out of space on your iPhone or iPad is a common complaint and using a portable storage device is a way to alleviate this problem. SanDisk make several portable storage solutions for iOS devices including the iXpand Flash drive, and the SanDisk Connect Media Drive, which we have previously reviewed.
The iXpand is a small, portable, lightweight flash drive available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB versions. I tested the 64GB model, it is approximately 2.5″ x 1.5″ x 0.5″ and weighs approximately 1oz. The iXpand can be used to transfer photos and videos between your iOS devices or between iOS devices and your computer. You can also load videos and music onto the flash drive from your computer and play them on your iOS device.
It has a USB connector and a lightning connector which allows it to connect directly to your iOS device, rather than via WiFi as the SanDisk Connect Media Drive and most other portable storage solutions do. This makes it both simpler and more secure. The iXpand is powered by a rechargeable battery, which charges when plugged into a computer. It is compatible with iPhones and iPads with lightning connectors, i.e. iPhone 5 & newer, iPad 4 & newer and all versions of iPad Mini. I tested it with an iPhone5, iPad Air 2 and MacBook Pro. The lightning connector is on a flexible arm which lets it connect easily even when you have a bulky case on your device- it worked fine even with an Otterbox defender on my iPad Air2. I did find that when plugged into my MacBook Pro the iXpand was wide enough that it blocked my 2nd USB port, which was was a pain if I needed to use another USB port at the same time as the iXpand.
Photos and Videos
It is a great way to back up your iPhone/ iPad photos and videos and you can set it to automatically back up all your new photos and videos every time you connect the flash drive. The backup and transfer are very quick.
You can choose to view your folders and files in either a grid or list format, and you can quickly switch back and forth between the 2. You can also choose to sort by file type, alphabetical order or date added. I like this flexibility especially when looking at my photos and I use the list alphabetically to find a particular album (folder), then switch to the grid view where I can see all the picture thumbnails side by side, to pick out the individual photo I’m looking for.
I have loaded several of my kids favorite movies on to the drive, so that I have them easily at hand when we have an unexpected long wait at a doctors office or other appointment. In the list view it is easy to choose the right movie as they display both the title and thumbnail. The movies play seamlessly, going to fullscreen after a few seconds playing. You can also download them onto your device for later viewing if you wish. Downloaded movies are stored in the iXpand app rather than the movie app of the iPad/ iPhone.
N.B You cannot play iTunes protected movies using this player, this is an issue with Apple and affects all similar products.
I love to listen to music from my iPhone, I learned pretty early on that I can only store a fraction of my music collection on my phone or I end up with no space for anything else. The iXpand is a great alternative way for me to carry my music collection with me and listen to it from my phone without eating up my storage space. I usually just play the music directly from the iXpand but you can also download music from the iXpand to your iOS device, where it is stored in the iXpand app. You can not upload music from your iOS device to the iXpand.
Overall, the iXpand is a great portable storage device for Lightning enabled iOS devices. It is a fast, secure way to back up photos and videos, and allows you to create space on your iOS device by storing photos, videos and music on the iXpand instead of on your device. The one feature that the SanDisk Media Player has that this does not is is the ability to add additional storage by changing the micro-SD card.
The iXpand app works well, it is very easy to create folders within the app, and move or copy files from one folder to another. I like being able to quickly switch between list and grid views. The app is well organized and a nice additional feature is that it tells you what % of storage is left on the iPad/ iPhone and on the iXpand plus what % charge the battery has left. I found uploading and downloading to the app very fast, on a recent backup I had 660 photos to copy and they loaded onto the iXpand in 8 minutes, and I downloaded a full length movie in under 2 minutes.
The lightning connector works well even when the iPad or iPhone is in a bulky case, I like having it connect directly rather than via WiFi as it is simpler and more secure. The downside is that you can not charge your iOS device whilst using the iXpand, but because it is self-powered at least the iXpand is not itself using your iPhone/iPad battery.
The iXpand is available from Amazon and many other retailers
iXpand Synch app iTunes link: SanDisk iXpand™ Sync – SanDisk
SanDisk iXpand™ Sync
Category: Productivity, Utilities
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 91.39 MB
Screenshots (Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad (Click to enlarge)
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.
It is summer again and for my family and many others that means time to go on summer vacation! I have always loved traveling and before kids I visited many places around the world. Since having kids my travel is not quite so footloose and fancy free, but we still love to travel as a family. Every year we go on transatlantic flights to visit my family back in the UK and Ireland, and closer to home we also love to go camping and spend days at the pool, beach or lake.
In this article I want to share some of my favorite travel products that make my life easier every time I travel, including products I use in the car, on the plane, camping and at pool, beach or lake.
1. Back up Battery
On long plane journeys and other times when electricity isn’t readily available a good back up battery is essential for keeping everything charged. I find this especially important for keeping the kids iPads charged during our 10 hour plus transatlantic flights and for keeping my phone charged during our camping trips. There are many back up batteries on the market and features I look for include: keeping their charge for long periods when not in use, multiple outlets so I can charge more than 1 device at once, powerful enough that I can use for an iPad when needed and not too bulky or heavy. A good choice is the RazorMax from myCharge it is a 6000mAH battery, with 2 USB ports a combined 2.4A output, and is quite slim and light for it’s output. It is 4.4 in x 2.6 in x 0.5 in and weighs 0.38 lbs. Available from myCharge RRP $69.99
2. External Storage for my iOS Devices
During long car or plane journeys a great way to keep the kids happy and entertained is to bring along their favorite movies and even some ones they’ve never seen before. Movies can quickly fill up your iPad storage so I load them onto an external storage device. For movie watching and streaming my favorite storage device is the SanDisk Connect Media Drive. It 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. It is available with 32GB or 62GB memory. Available from Amazon.com and other retailers from $69.99 for 32GB version. Read my full review.
3. Car Charger
Another must-have is a way to keep my iPhone and other tech charged whilst on the road and I’ve found the RIBBN car charger from TYLT
is a great choice. It delivers 4.8 Amps – making it powerful enough to charge 2 tablets at once. It has a built-in charging cable and a separate USB charging port. I use the lightning version – it has a built-in lightning cable that I use with my iPhone, iPad Mini or iPad Air (a version with a Micro-USB cable is also available.) The charging cable is flat and tough and never gets tangled. I use the 2nd USB charging slot with my own cables to charge a variety of other electronics. Available from TYLT.com
4. Mobile Hot Spot
When I’m away from home I find a mobile hot spot is the best way to ensure I have a reliable internet connection. I have AT&T phone service and find the NETGEAR Unite Hot Spot a great choice as I can add it to my mobile phone service. But if a hot spot is not something you use year around getting one on contract may not be the best option for you. The Around Town from NETGEAR is a great option in this situation as not only does it not require a contract but there is an option to buy data for it that never expires! The Around Town is a 4G LTE mobile hotspot that allows you to securely connect up to 10 devices and its battery lasts up to 10 hours, it uses the Sprint network. It comes with 1GB of data, additional data can be purchased. Available from Amazon and other retailers for US$199.99
For the sake of my sanity I always make sure to pack several pairs of headphones when traveling with the kids. That way each of them can watch their own movies or play their games without me having to listen to them! It also means that I can chill out and relax to my own music in the evenings after they have gone to sleep. A current favorite in our family are the iB37 Color Changing Headphones from iHome. They are adjustable enough that they fit my 8 year-old daughter and yet are comfortable for me to wear too, do a good job of blocking out external noise and sound good. A fun extra (that we don’t use in the car or on the plane) is the color changing option. Coming soon from iHome RRP US$49.99
6. Solar Powered Light
I recently discovered the Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern and it is a great addition to our family camping equipment. It has 10 bright LEDs and requires no batteries as it runs entirely on its own solar panels. It makes a great backpacking light as it weighs only 4 oz and folds to 1 inch thick. It takes a few seconds to inflate to lantern mode or it can be kept folded to use as a flashlight. Available from Amazon, Big 5 and other retailers for US$14.99
7. Wet Electronics Rescue Pouch
One product I carry with me when I go to the lake, beach or pool, but hope never to have to use is the Evap Wet Electronics Pouch from Kensington. If your mobile phone accidentally goes for a swim the Evap pouch can be a lifesaver (or at least a phone saver!) It contains a drying agent that is 700% more effective than using rice at removing moisture. You simply remove your phone battery and Sim card, wipe off any surface moisture and place in the pouch between to 2 pouches, seal and wait 24 hours or until the moisture indicator shows it is ready. Available from Kensington.com and other retailers RRP US$14.99.
8. Rugged, Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker
Where ever you go it is fun to be able to listen to music even when you are away from a power source. My favorite “take it anywhere” speaker is the iBN6 Rugged Waterproof Bluetooth Rechargeable Speaker from iHome. It has an IPX7 waterproof rating, which means you can even submerge it in water. It has a rubberized exterior to help it withstand knocks and as it is dust and waterproof it is a great choice for a camping trip or day out at the beach, pool or lake. Its rechargeable battery lasts up to 14 hours and it will even recharge your smartphone too! Just in case you get thirsty it has a carabiner with a built-in bottle opener too. Available from iHome, Amazon and other retailers RRP US$99
9. Added Peace of Mind at the Pool, Beach or Lake
My 3 kids love to play in water, but as a parent I can find it very stressful, especially as I have 1 non-swimmer. A product which helps to give me peace of mind is iSwimband. It does not replace proper adult supervision around water, but is designed to give you an extra early warning system should your non-swimmer fall in the water or your swimmer stay submerged too long. iSwimband is a wearable sensor that works in conjunction with a smartphone app. In can be attached via a wrist strap for non-swimmers (such as toddlers) and a headband/google strap for swimmers. Available from iSwimband.com, Amazon and other retailers RRP $59.99.Read my full review
10. Smartphone Mount for the Car
When traveling by car I often use my cellphone as a GPS navigation system, and to do that I need it securely mounted where I can see it without taking my eyes off the road. The Universal Car Mount from Kensington is a great solution for this, and is really flexible, working with different vehicles and phones.It mounts in 2 ways- either via a 12 inch long flexible arm attached to a powerful suction cup, or via a vent clip. The mount works in both portrait and landscape mode, and releases with a touch of a button. I love that it is really easy to adjust and will work with lots of different size smartphones up to and including the iPhone6+. Read my full review. Available from Kensington.com for US $29.99.
Of course you need a great navigation app to go with your smartphone, and my favorite navigation apps are the CoPilot series by ALK Technologies
. They are available for US and Canada
as well as many other countries, you can read my review of the UK and Ireland
version here. I love that they can be used off-line, saving precious data (especially important with international data roaming charges!) They are regularly updated, have clear directions, alternative route options and you can also get live traffic updates.
These are some of my travel “must-haves”, what are yours? I’d love to hear about how you like to spend your summer, and what products you have found most useful on your travels.
Note: Some of the products included in this article were supplied by the companies for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received. Their inclusion was the decision of the author, all opinions stated in the article are those of the author and have been offered honestly.
Mother’s Day is coming up fast and The iMums have come up with some cool gift ideas that are bound to be popular with the women in your life. They are definitely gifts we’d love to receive this Mother’s Day! From a stylish bag through fitness, mobile storage, iPhoneography and home accessories we have gifts to suit all tastes.
Poppy Cross-Body Satchel from Mia Tui
iBridge Mobile Memory from LEEF
Every woman needs a good bag and Mia Tui make great bags! These are the most organized, practical bags on the market. The Poppy is a great bag for the woman who wants the signature Mia Tui organization, but in a more compact package than bags like the Grace, Sofia and Olivia Mia Tui bags we have previously reviewed. You will still find the unique pink Mia Tui interior, with an interior pocket for the included clutch bag, key clip, pen and smartphone holders, and a zip pocket on the back of the bag. A full-sized iPad will fit in the main part of the bag or an iPad mini will fit in the interior pocket.
Available from Mia Tui USA, in Pink, Pewter, Brown or Black for US$53. Get a 20% Mother’s Day discount on any bag from Mia Tui USA with code imum
Many moms struggle with having enough memory in their iPhone or iPad and the iBridge from LEEF is a tiny solution to a big problem. It is small and light enough to keep in her purse at all times, weighs only 10 grams (less than 1/2oz) and measures 63 x 19 x 18mm- that’s about 2.5″ x 0.7″ x 0.7″. Many portable memory solutions rely on Bluetooth or wireless connections to connect to your iOS device but the iBridge simply plugs in to the lightning connector. It will store music, photos and videos and you can even take photos directly onto the iBridge by-passing the iPhone’s storage completely. – this is a lifesaver when you need to take a photo but your iPhone is full. Read our full review. Available from Amazon or LEEFco.com from US$59.99
Screenguardz Pure® with the Crown™ Premium Glass Screen Protector iPhone case from BodyGuardz
The Crown™ is a solution designed to protect the curved edges of your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6+ with an aluminum rim combined with a Screen Guardz Pure protector which offers edge to edge protection for your device in case of drops, collection of dust and debris (which can get in under the protector). The Pure and Crown provide coverage for the entire screen and all four corners of the device adding very little “bulk” to your iPhone 6. This ensures that your phone is protected, even when your kids use it or if you have greasy or sticky fingers touching your device.
Available from Amazon, BodyGuardz for US$25.00 – $39.99
iPro Trio iPhone Lens Kit from Schneider Optics
The iPro Trio Lens Kit from Schneider Optics, is a great gift for the iPhoneographer mum. It provides a good selection of high quality add-on lenses including a macro, wide angle and 2x zoom, plus an iPhone Case, lens cap and handle. The handle is both a really useful accessory and a great way to store and carry the lenses. This kit is currently available for the iPhone4/4S, iPhone5/5S, iPhone 6, iPhone6+ and Galaxy S4. Read our full review. Available from Schneider optics, Amazon and other suppliers RRP $229
[EXPOSE] Smart Video Light for iPhone from KNOG
The [expose] from KNOG is a great gift for the mom who loves to take photos and videos with her iPhone, but is unhappy with the results when she takes pictures at night. The [expose] a tiny iPhone Flash that packs a lot of light. It has 9 LEDs and a total output of up to 130 lumens which is 6x as powerful as the iPhone’s built-in flash. The [expose] has a built-in rechargeable battery, so it won’t run down her iPhone battery and can be used for both video and still photography. Available in Black or White RRP $59.99 from Knog.com and other retailers.
Mpow iSnap X One-piece U-Shape Selfie Stick
Do you love taking photos but find as a mom that you are often not in any of them because you are taking them of your kids? The iSnap allows you to attach your smartphone or tablet to a “selfie stick” which then allows you to take photos of your family and include you as mom! It connects to your device via Bluetooth with a switch on the tripod which allows you to actuate your photos without having to touch your device. Available from Amazon for US$20
Mio Link Heart Rate Monitor from Mio Global
For moms who like to work out the Mio Link is a great gift idea. To get the most benefit from exercising it is recommended that you monitor your heart rate so that you can stay “in the zone”. The Mio Link is a really comfortable, easy to use heart rate monitor that you wear on your wrist, eliminating the need for uncomfortable chest straps. The Mio Link uses a series of color coded lights to let you know what “zone” you are in, and you can also view your exact heart rate on your iPhone. Read our full review. Available from the Mio Global website, RRP $99
Fitbug Orb Activity and Sleep Tracker
For the mom who wants to improve her fitness using a fitness tracker can be a first step on in providing an incentive to exercise more. The Fitbug Orb from Fitbug is a small, versatile tracker that tracks both activity and sleep and can be worn in a number of ways. It comes with both a wrist strap and a clip, so you can choose different ways to wear it. It comes with a watch-style battery that lasts approximately 6 months so you don’t need to recharge it. You can track your fitness data both via an iOS app and online and can also enter your food intake to track calories and join the Fitbug online community for support. Available from Amazon and other retailers RRP US$49.99
Pulse Dimmable LED Light with Wireless Bluetooth Speakers, Powered by JBL
Pulse Dimmable LED Light with Wireless Bluetooth Speakers (Pair), Powered by JBL from Sengled The Sengled Pulse is a smart lightbulb which includes an LED light with an embedded JBL Bluetooth speaker which allows you to control both the speaker and the light from your Smartphone. I loved how easy it was to stream music and turn up or down my kitchen lights while cooking dinner. You can install the Pulse into any standard light socket, and adjust light and sound from a Bluetooth enabled device without needing wires, cords or a remote. Available from Amazon for US$156
Withings Aura Smart Sleep System
What better gift is there for a busy mom than a good nights sleep? With Aura Smart Sleep from Withings is a system that not only tracks her sleep in detail but also provides tool to help her fall asleep and wake up better both from a night’s sleep and from a nap. It includes an under the mattress sensor that measures movement, heart rate and breathing to analyze her sleep. This connects to the bedside unit and includes a smart light, speaker, clock and USB charging port. The system works to lull her to sleep with soothing sounds and red light, and gradually bring mom to her light sleep phase in the morning before waking her with blue lights and gentle wake up sounds. Available from Amazon and other retailers RRP US$299
For additional gift ideas check out Gorgeous iPod, iPhone & iPad Accessories for Women.
We haven’t personally tested all of these products but they are from reputable companies that we trust and recommend. Products may have been received from companies for review purposes, no other compensation was received.
What we love…
Small, portable, long battery life, huge capacity and expandable using SD cards, can stream 5 movies at once
What we’d love to see…
More organization of photos
SanDisk Connect Media Drive is a great portable way to stream movies, music and photos to your tablet or smartphone. A must-have travel accessory for families on the go, and it is very reasonably priced and I love how you can add even more storage capacity using SD cards. Highly recommended.
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 – SanDisk
SanDisk Connect™ Wireless Media Drive HD
Enjoy the freedom to wirelessly share and stream high definition content across iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, smartphones and tablets with the SanDisk Connect™ Wireless Media Drive.
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.