iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






External Storage Drives for iOS Devices

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iOS Applications

All corresponding iOS applications are quite similar in functionality and design, so let's take a look at all three at once.

The Kingston and Seagate applications have names matching those of the storage drives. The PQI's application is named S+ Flash. All are file managers which let you sort files by type and import them from the external drive to your Apple mobile device (although you can't add content right to the media library). S+ Flash can also delete files from the PQI Air Drive but can't export them to other applications (e.g., iBooks).

In turn, Kingston's application can export but can't delete. Go figure.

As mentioned above, audio and video content is streamed from the external drive to the Apple mobile device.

All three applications let you protect their Wi-Fi hotspots with a password.

Final Thoughts

Apple has surely revitalized the wireless external storage market. Such devices seems to be the only way to extend the storage capacity of the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch without the Internet. Obviously, you can use these drives with other operating systems as well (at least via a browser).

Speaking of drawbacks, one is heavier load on phone's battery because of streaming. Say, even if Seagate promises up to 7 hours of operation for its device, the phone's battery might die first anyway.

Tasks being the same, the three devices are still quite different. The Kingston Wi-Drive is essentially a flash drive. Buying it and a 16GB iPad should be cheaper than going for a 32GB iPad, for example.

The PQI Air Drive is a wireless card reader that comes with a 16GB or 32GB SDHC card. This solution is quite flexible, considering that you can take along multiple SD cards, use those you have in your camera, and such.

Finally, the Seagate GoFlex Satellite Mobile Wireless Storage is most substantial device of the three, being a 500GB hard drive and all. This seems like the best choice for you, iPad cinephiles. Moreover, this capacious storage device supports USB 3.0. One drawback though is the price: this Wi-Fi-equipped model costs twice as much as a regular Seagate GoFlex of the same capacity.

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