Review: SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive
With every update, Apple makes it simpler to click pictures using an iPhone. With the ability to launch the camera without having to unlock the phone, it is now easier to click a picture than make a call. Inevitably iPhone users use the excellent camera and effortless launcher to click a ton of pictures, which poses a problem on the storage of the phone. Especially for users with 8/16GB smartphones, with no expandable storage options, the available memory vanishes sooner than expected.
SanDisk claims to offer an easy solution to this problem. Meet the iXpand Flash Drive; it’s portable and promises to help you easily shift files between devices, subsequently expanding the storage of your iPhone. The flash drive we checked out, costs Rs. 4,490 and provides 16GB of extra storage. Here we explore if it’s worth the money spent.
The SanDisk iXpand flash drive is a solid dual flash drive that comes with both, a USB 2.0 jack and a lighting connector. It is available in 16/32/64/128 GB variants, priced at Rs. 4,490/5,990/7,999/11,490 respectively. The drive is recognized easily on iPhones, iPads and desktops. To use the flash drive, you are also required to download a free app on your Apple device.
Design and Build Quality
Most parts of the device are covered in a solid encased brushed aluminium shell, which is complemented by a rubberised centre. The USB side of the flash drive is provided with a plastic cover. As a compact device, it is quite sturdy. You can easily dump it in your bag, without worrying about possible scratches.
While it looks solid, usability-wise, the design fails to work. The lightning port being stuck in the centre makes it an awkward device to use. If you latch your iPhone onto the flash drive and the USB onto your laptop at the same time, your smartphone is going to end up covering most part of your keyboard. Basically, the two devices cannot be accommodated at the same time, they need to be used separately. This also means that you can’t use it to charge your device, which is a shame.
After using the flash drive for a while, we also noticed that the lightning port, which is connected to the rubberised centre, got displaced and started sticking out of the device, making it prone to damage.
The iXpand App : To manage data, you need to install an app onto your App device. Downloading the App is fairly simple. When you connect the flash drive to your smartphone, it automatically opens up a message asking if you’d wish to download the app. In case the pop-up is missing, simply go to the App Store and download the ‘SanDisk iXpand Sync’. It’s sized 45.9MB, requires iOS 7.1 or later versions. While we have our problems with the design of the flash drive, the design of the iXpand app is quirky, clean and easy-to-use. With the app, you have an option of setting a mode which helps automatically sync the camera’s picture roll onto the SanDisk iXpand.
One of the super helpful features of the app is that with the use of a pie chart, it shows you exactly the amount of free or used space on your iPhone/iPad, as well as on the drive. And using colour codes, it illustrates the different things (Music, Photos, Videos etc.) taking up space on your flash drive.
Syncing pictures: By turning on the Camera Sync option, you can automatically sync files when the iXpand is plugged onto your iPhone. There is another option, which helps you delete photos and videos after sync, you can use it to conveniently free up space on your iPhone. This way you don’t have to go back and manually pick and delete files you’ve synced. In case you’re nervous you might delete the wrong pictures from your iPhone, remember they remain in the “Recently Deleted” album in your photos app for 30 days.
Speed Test: The SanDisk flash drive uses USB 3.0, and one of its major advantages is supposed to be its high transfer speed. It can give upto 640MBps but our speed test only gave us a maximum speed of 15.0 MB/s. We ran the same test on the USB 2.0 and the maximum speed we got was 4.5 MB/s. There is a considerable improvement in the speed, however it doesn’t utilise its true potential.
Watching Movies Using iXpand: Most Apple users have trouble admitting it, but iOS comes with several limitations. One of the major restrictions has been the tedious task to transfer videos/movies onto an ‘iDevice’. While Android users can transfer movies onto their phones with ease and watch them on-the-go, what do iPhone/iPad users need to do? First, Apple products support only certain kinds of formats, such as P4, M4V and MOV files. So videos are required to be converted to those format. Secondly, you need to install iTunes onto your laptop. Sure, there are third-party apps which cut short the procedure, but we need to admit, it is quite a hassle.
With the iXpand Flash Drive, all you need to do is dump the movie onto the drive and insert it into your smartphone and enjoy. Point to note: while you’re watching the movie, the iXpand drive might make the phone slightly uncomfortable to hold, but the drive is extremely sturdy and it really latches onto your phone. In case you’re shifting around, nudging the pen drive will not cause any damage to your movie. The app also has excellent playback speed; as soon as you tap on your video of choice, it plays it almost instantly.
Charging the Flash Drive: The iXpand flash drive requires charging. An LED light on the right side of the device reminds you if the drive needs to be plugged in for charging. This is so it doesn’t take any juice from your iPhone/iPad, when being used and it automatically charges itself when plugged onto a computer.
Overall, the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive is a convenient device to have around. If you’re looking to free up some space on your iPhone, it might be the simplest solution available. However, instead you could also invest in extra iCloud storage, that way your files remain online, and can be accessed any place and at any time. On the other hand, with the iXpand, you wouldn’t need an internet connection to retrieve your files. We would, without doubt, recommend the device for its ability to play videos/movies on the go.
You can pick up the device here:
- Sturdy build
- Excellent media playback speed
- User-friendly apps
- Supports all video formats
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- Awkaward design
- Slow speed
- High price