Today we are looking at the Kingston Wi-Drive. This portable device can be used to wirelessly transmit and share content with up to three tablets or smartphones simultaneously. Photos, videos and music can be shared with iOS and Android devices. Simply download a free Wi-Drive application, or access directly through a web browser. We have already reviewed similar devices, such as the ADATA DashDrive Air AE400 and the Patriot Gauntlet. How does the Kingston Wi-Drive compare?
The ADATA DashDrive Air AE400 was a useful product and it scored well in our review in March this year. It had no storage onboard, but you could pair it up with an SD card. The Kingston Wi-Drive is different as there are 32GB, 64GB and 128GB flash memory options available. Today we are looking at the 64GB version, which is available for around £75 inc vat.
Many smartphones and tablets are supplied without expansion slots. This makes media storage rather difficult especially if you have a small capacity Nexus device for instance. The battery powered Kingston Wi-Drive is designed to solve this problem.
Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Dimensions: 121.5mm x 61.8mm x 9.8mm
Wireless Network Interface: Wi-Fi 802.11g/n with wireless security (WPA/WEP)
Rechargeable battery: up to four hours of continuous use
Local storage: wirelessly transfer files to and from the Wi-Drive app and the Wi-Drive hardware
Camera Roll support: Allows users to move photos from an iOS device to Wi-Drive in order to free up space
Cable: MiniUSB to USB cable included, users can upload files and content from their PC/Mac to the Wi-Drive using the USB cable
Operating Temperature: 32°F to 122°F (0°C to 50°C)
Storage Temperature: 14°F to 158°F (-10°C to 70°C)
Convenient: pocket-sized for ease of transport
Guaranteed: one-year warranty, free technical support
Customisable device name (SSID): User-selectable Wi-Fi priority list when multiple APN/keys are available
File support: Wi-Drive can store any file type, but playback and viewing are Based on the files supported by the mobile device.
General file format support:
Audio: MP3, WAV
Video: m4V, mp4 (H. 264 video codec)
Image: jpg, tif
The Kingston Wi-Drive 64GB ships in a small, light weight box with details and an image on the front. The capacity is listed top right.
Inside the box, is a user manual, USB cable and the drive, protected inside a soft felt bag.
The drive is very slim and around the size of a smartphone. The Kingston company logo is featured in grey at the top of the chassis, alongside the product name underneath. We love the appearance of the unit, the glossy piano black finish is very attractive, although it does attract finger prints easily.
iPad, iPad 2, iPad (3rd Gen), iPad (4 Gen)
(3G is limited to iOS 5.1.1+)
Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD
Android (2.2 and up)
As we mentioned earlier in the review, the Wi-Drive is battery powered. It is charged via the USB port and a direct connection to a computer (works with PC and Macintosh).
It can be difficult to relate to the size of a device via an image on a website, so we took a picture next to a Kingston DT Ultimate 64GB USB 3.0 Flash drive. The Wi-Drive measures 121.5mm x 61.8 mm x 9.8 mm.
The Kingston Wi-Drive works by creating a local Wi-Fi network and three Android or iOS devices can connect to it. It can also create a bridge between the Wi-Fi router and tablet/phone, allowing the internet to be used directly via the Wi-Drive’s network.
The drive battery takes around 2 hours to charge from flat. The green light will flash when it is charging. When fully charged it will stop flashing and stay lit. We tested the drive with both an Intel based Apple Macintosh running OSX 10.8 and an Intel Windows 7 64 bit system. No problems copying and handling file transfers with either system.
When connected via the supplied USB cable, the device will automatically turn on and charge and the drive will appear in both operating systems. Larger files will take a little time to copy over, as the Wi-Drive is not USB 3.0 capable.
We paired the Kingston Wi-Drive 64GB Drive with an Apple iPad 3 and a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, both running fully updated operating systems.
When the Wi-Drive is first turned on, and not connected to a computer – there are two small blue LED lights which will activate after a minute or two. One is a transmission indicator and the other is the internet access icon. Battery life is indicated from green for 51% and above. It will turn amber for battery life ranging between 25% and 50%. It will then turn red for less than 25%.
First, download the Wi-Drive software for iOS or Android. Windows 8 is not yet supported.
We simply searched for ‘Kingston’ on both iOS and Android App Stores to locate the software. This is a free download and is very small and quick to install.
The Kingston Wi-Drive will become visible a couple of minutes after it is turned on. There is no password needed by default and we had no problems connecting to the network with the iPad 3.
If you have the Kingston Wi-Drive enabled and it is transmitting the Wi-Fi signal it will appear as a ‘Wi-Drive’ in the Kingston application as shown above. Simply press this to view all the files on the Wi-Drive.
We were able to play the .mov file and view JPG files easily enough, but the MKV file didn’t seem to be supported on the iPad. Pressing the file did nothing.
We also tested with a plethora of MP3 files, and experienced no problems.
We had no problems linking the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 to the Kingston Wi-Drive either. No password, and a good speed, even with a wall between the Galaxy Note 10.1 and Wi-Drive. There is no point in detailed reporting on long distance tests, as the Wi-Drive is designed to be carried in a pocket close to the devices you pair with it.
We did find the tablets would lose the signal after a 55 foot distance, although this is actually very impressive.
The Wi-Drive software works identically on both iOS and Android platforms. All files appeared instantly in the submenu as shown above.
The JPG files and MOV files opened without a hitch. Additionally, when we tried to play the MKV file on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 it worked, however it did initially pop up a warning that it would need third party software. Intelligently, it passed over the playback to an MKV supported software package we had installed outside the Kingston application, which was very impressive.
We managed to stream high quality 720p video successfully to 3 mobile devices without any sign of stuttering or playback issues.
Overall, I found the experience better on the Android tablet, as I could get a huge variety of movie files to play easily. The iPad did not handle MKV and some other video formats, no matter what I tried.
Battery life is around 4 hours and 45 minutes, when constantly streaming media content to either iOS or Android devices. This is really quite impressive, considering. After several hours of playback the Kingston Wi-Drive does get rather warm to touch, although it didn’t seem to have a negative impact on the device at all over the course of a week.
The Kingston Wi-Drive 64GB is a genuinely useful little gadget that I have used regularly for the last week. It looks fantastic and transmits a very strong signal within a 40 foot radius, more than enough for its intended purpose … which is pairing up with a smartphone or tablet.
I actually rate the Kingston Wi-Drive at a higher level than either the ADATA DashDrive or the Patriot Gauntlet which we reviewed several months ago. The Kingston Wi-Drive ships with 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage and is very thin, lightweight and easy to carry around. It charges from flat within a couple of hours, and the battery life lasts around 5 hours under normal use.
As our test results show earlier in the review, the setup is very straightforward and we didn’t run into many design concerns either. The only problems I encountered were getting specific video formats to play back on the Apple iPad. I couldn’t get MKV to engage, however MKV playback was flawless on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 as the application passed the decoding over to external applications.
If you have an Android tablet, this is the device you want to get. I only have around 7GB of free space left on my Galaxy Note 10.1, so adding another 64GB for media playback and PDF documents is genuinely beneficial.
Playing back a variety of MP3’s, viewing JPG files and .mov files was easy enough on all the smartphones and tablets we had, although there is absolutely no support yet for Windows 8 devices, which is a little disappointing.
If you have an Android tablet, then I unreservedly recommend the Wi-Drive 64GB. It is very versatile and works flawlessly. If you have an iPad or Apple smartphone and don’t need MKV playback then it is also a good choice, but I found that due to the more locked down nature of the Apple devices that successfully getting some files to play back was difficult.
- Nice looking device and very portable due to slimline design and light weight.
- Strong transmitter.
- OSX and Windows desktop support.
- handled 720p video to 3 devices at the same time in our tests.
- 5 hour battery life before recharge.
- with third party Android player, device supported a huge variety of files.
- excellent value for money.
- gets very warm after a couple of hours.
- shiny piano black finish can get messy quickly.
- couldn’t get some video file formats to play on Apple iPad.
- Not USB 3.0.
- No Windows 8 support.
Kitguru says: A very useful device at a very competitive price point. One not to miss, especially on Android.