It’s great when accessories can perform more than one job. The MemoriesCable from PhotoFast can charge an iPad or iPhone, add additional storage for multimedia or work files, and even back up their contents.
It’s available in capacities from 32GB to 128GB, with prices starting at $90.
Build and Design
The MemoriesCable has a simple design, with an Apple lightning plug on one end and a standard USB Type-A plug on the other.
PhotoFast went for portability rather than cable length on this accessory, so it’s just 5.1 inches long. That’s long enough to charge your tablet or phone with it sitting next to a laptop or an external battery, but plugging the iOS device into a wall socket might require a USB extension cable.
There is a clip on the cable that allows the MemoriesCable to be bent into a ‘C’ shape for easier storage/portability. Weighing in at less than half a ounce, it is small and light enough to go easily into a backpack, briefcase, gear bag, or purse. Just be careful with it because neither the Lightning connector nor the USB jack has any kind of protection.
The external storage is built into the apparatus next to the USB jack, and there is a small green LED that blinks to indicate when data is being transferred — never unplug it when this is blinking.
All that’s necessary to access the storage in a PhotoFast MemoriesCable with a PC or Mac is to plug it into a USB port. The accessory will appear as a removable drive, and its contents can be accessed with the file manager. The USB 3.0 versions can read data at up to 90MB/s or write it at up to 22MB/s, while the USB 2.0 versions offer up to 24MB/s reading and 17MB/s writing.
Accessing the files on an iPad or iPhone is a little more complicated because the MemoriesCable needs an iOS application called i-FlashDrive ONE. This is the same software used by PhotoFast’s i-FlashDrive MAX and the Strontium iDrive, two other options for adding storage to an iOS device.
The application includes a file manager to see the contents of this accessory, just like on a PC or Mac. Files can be moved around, copied, and even ZIPped.
A wide variety of file types like images, PDFs, and Office documents can be viewed directly by PhotoFast’s software, or they can be sent to another application via the iOS “Open In” function for editing. For example, Word documents can be stored on the MemoriesCable and then copied to Microsoft Word to be worked on. Support for iCloud Drive is not available at this time.
“Open In” is also how files are transferred from other iOS applications to the MemoriesCable.
When transferring data to and from an iOS device over the Lightning connector, the USB 3.0 version of the MemoriesCable can read data at up to 30MB/s or write it at up to 20MB/s. The USB 2.0 versions offer up to 5MB/s reading and 5MB/s writing
i-FlashDrive ONE has video and music players built in, so users can store their movies and MP3s on this accessory and not take up valuable room on their tablet or phone. The music app can shuffle songs but it does not support playlists.
This software has security built into it. Users can password lock individual files and whole folders. When they are locked they can only be unlocked on an iOS device, not a PC or MAC. The i-FlashDrive ONE app itself can be locked so it can only be opened with a password or Touch ID. It would be nice if files and folders could also be unlocked with Touch ID, but they can’t at this time.
The PhotoFast application can also connect to Dropbox and Google Drive, so files can be easily moved between these cloud storage services and this accessory.
A limitation of the i-FlashDrive ONE is that it does not support landscape mode: it is always in portrait mode, which is irritating to those who have their tablet connected to a keyboard.
Another limitation is that this app can not rename files stored on the MemoriesCable. They need to be moved to the application’s memory on the phone or tablet, where they can be renamed and then moved back.
And just be aware, the iOS device and the laptop can’t both be accessing the MemoriesCable’s storage simultaneously, so it should be plugged first into the device that’s going to access the drive.
PhotoFast’s developers built in the ability to easily copy items stored on an iPad or iPhone to the MemoriesCable. A backup of the contacts, address book, and pictures can be made with just the press of a button for each one. These can be easily restored if something happens to the iOS device.
In addition, the i-FlashDrive ONE software can download and store the contents of the user’s Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr photo albums at the push of a button.
To charge an iPad, it’s best to plug the MemoriesCable into the tablet before the laptop. Otherwise the accessory will mount as a drive on the laptop and it won’t charge the iPad at its full rate, though it will ‘trickle’ charge it.
It’s not necessary to run the i-FlashDrive ONE software to charge the device, but PhotoFast’s marketing for this accessory points out that this would be a good opportunity to back up the iPad’s or iPhone’s contacts, address book, and pictures onto the MemoriesCable.
The PhotoFast MemoriesCable offers a unique combination of features, being able to not only expand the storage capacity of an Apple tablet or phone, but also act as a charging cable. Add in its abilities to easily back up the users data and photos help makes this is a very handy accessory.
The design is quite simple and portable, though the cable might have been longer and the Lightning jack could be better protected.
The 32GB/USB 3.0 version of the MemoriesCable is $130, the 64GB/USB 3.0 one is $160, and the 128GB/USB 3.0 is $230. Those who can accept slower USB 2.0 speeds can get the 32GB version for $90 or the 128GB one for $120.
There are no other Lightning charging cables that also offer additional storage, but there are other flash drives for the iPad and iPhone. Among these is the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive, with a 32GB version that costs $80 and a 64GB version at $120. This drive uses USB 2.0.
Another option is the Strontium iDrive USB 3.0, with a 16GB model selling for $75, a 32 GB version priced at $90, and the 64 GB version at $95.
PhotoFast’s own i-FlashDrive MAX with USB 3.0 costs $99.99 for 32GB of storage, $129.99 for the 64 GB version, and $159.99 for the 128GB one. There are USB 2.0 versions for $59.99 for 32GB or $69.99 for 64GB.
This makes the MemoriesCable competitively priced, though not always the best value, especially when the cost of a travel Lightning cable is factored in.