Do you live in a mixed-device household? Maybe you have an iPad, an Android smartphone, and Windows laptop. There’s a handy little accessory that makes moving files between all these computers a snap: the i-FlashDrive from PhotoFast.
This is a USB drive (some call them thumbdrives) that can be plugged into a wide variety of devices, including tablets, phones, and PCs. It comes in 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities.
Build and Design
The i-FlashDrive starts out as a flattened white rectangle with a micro-USB card plug on one side and Apple’s classic 30-pin port on the other. Included in the box are adapters so this accessory can use Apple’s Lightning port as well as full-size USB ports.
All these plugs make it wonderfully flexible. Unlike most thumbdrives, it can go right into your Windows tablet’s micro-USB port. Add an adapter and plug it into your iPad Air, then take it off and it goes into your iPhone 4S.
But be careful which version you are buying: PhotoFast sells these in a variety of designs, some simpler, some more complex. For example, there are versions that skip the micro-USB plug and just have a full-size one, while some leave off the older 30-pin plug and have a built-in Lightning plug instead.
When you insert the i-FlashDrive into a Windows PC or tablet, or a Mac, it acts like any other USB drive, allowing you to copy files onto it or off.
This accessory needs something extra when plugged into an iPad (or iPhone) though: the free i-FlashDrive HD app. This gives access to the contents of cards, allowing you to do just about anything you need.
First off, the app can view the contents of files in a wide array of formats. This runs the gamut from Office documents to videos and music.
Or you can export these files to apps on the tablet where you can edit them thanks to iOS’s “Open in…” feature.
When it comes to moving files onto the i-FlashDrive, you can export a file that comes in as email directly to this mini drive, or you can export files from Apple’s iWork suite to it. And it doesn’t stop there — files can be transferred from any app that supports “Open in…”.
Transfering from the drive to the iPad is a bit slow, about 2.3 MB/s for downloads , and 0.7 MB/s uploads. This is no big deal for a majority of file types, but transferring video requires a bit of patience. On the other hand, downloading files from the drive to a Windows computer moves at about 18GB/s, while uploading goes at roughly 5GB/s.
PhotoFast also built in a connection to Dropbox, so you can easily transfer files from this cloud-storage service to the i-FlashDrive and back.
PhotoFast’s app can make a backup of all the contacts stored on the tablet and save this as a VCF file. Users can then archive this file in case of disaster, in which case the contacts can be restored with the push of a button.
This app even has a built-in voice recorder, with recordings saved on the removable drive as AAC files.
In a world with free cloud-based storage systems, some might question the need for the PhotoFast i-FlashDrive, but others will see the value in its simplicity: it makes swapping files between devices quick and easy.
And security shouldn’t be overlooked. At no point are your files ever handed over to someone else for safe-keeping, and they don’t have to travel over the Internet.
The i-FlashDrive is convenient and secure but it’s also one more thing: expensive. The most-affordable 8GB version is $100, while the top-of-the-line 64GB one is $330. The various versions of this accessory can be found for less than these suggested prices online, but this is still a pricey option.