While Apple’s iPad certainly has millions of fans, few are thrilled that it lacks expandable memory. And there are several Android models with the same limitation. Fortunately, there are numerous accessories that can give these tablets access to the contents of memory cards, like the Connect Wireless Flash Drive from SanDisk.
It’s been designed to make it easy for users to store videos, music, pictures, and documents on a microSD memory card and access them when on the go, so there’s no need for users to fill up their tablets’ internal storage.
Build & Design
This handy little item looks a lot like a regular USB flash drive: it’s about the size of a thumb and has a full-size USB plug on one end. But this is no ordinary thumbdrive.
The Connect WFD has no built-in storage. Instead, there’s a microUSB slot on one side. SanDisk sells this accessory in a range of storage capacities — 16GB to 64GB — with each bundled with a microSD card of the appropriate size. The 16GB and 32GB versions support microSDHC so they cannot be used with 64GB or larger cards, while the 64GB model can be used with microSD cards of any size because it supports microSDXC.
Those who are looking for a similar device that does have internal storage, as well as a full-size SD card slot, should read our SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive Review.
The microSD slot on the Connect WFD is covered by a hard plastic door to protect both the slot and any card inserted into it, and the USB plug is protected with a sliding cover intended to keep it from bending or denting.
There’s a large silver button that powers up the wireless functions of this accessory, and deactivates them, too.
SanDisk clearly put a lot of effort into the appearance of this product. Although the casing is only black plastic, there’s a pattern on the top that not only gives the Connect WFD a very professional look, it also makes it less slippery.
SanDisk designed the Connect WFD so that content can be easily transferred to it from a PC or Mac — it just needs to be plugged into a USB port and it will appear as a removable drive. This accessory only supports USB 2.0, however, so files won’t transfer as quickly as they could over USB 3.0.
Users also have the option to directly upload files over a direct Wi-Fi connection from their tablet through the SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive app, available for both iOS and Android. The iPad version allows files to be copied into any folder on the drive, but the Android one offers only a single choice, a folder called “Uploaded from Android”.
The iOS version lets users view all the document and multimedia file types that are native to the iOS. Thanks to the “Open in…” function, files in non-supported formats can be transferred to other apps for viewing or editing. The Android version gives users a pop-up list of apps they can open files in for viewing or editing.
But keep in mind, this app is not a full file manager. It doesn’t support moving files between folders, or renaming them. Files can be deleted, however, and new folders created.
The Connect WFD can serve as a video or music hub for a group, as up to eight devices can be connected to it simultaneously. Users can even watch the same video at the same time. It’s not necessary for all these users to have SanDisk’s app installed, as the contents of the drive can also be accessed through a web browser.
This can put a strain on its battery though, which is only good for a few hours of continuous use. Fortunately, there are a couple of solutions: this accessory can be used while it is plugged in and charging, or files can be downloaded to a tablet or phone and played from there, and the Connect WFD turned off.
Just keep in mind, file transfers aren’t particularly fast: moving a 50MB file from the card to the tablet via WiFi takes about 2.5 minutes.
The SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive offers what many are looking for: a relatively-inexpensive external hard drive for an iPad, iPhone, or Android device… or even a number of external hard drives, as users can easily swap between multiple microSD cards.
Files can be transferred from the card to the iPad for viewing and/or editing, and then transferred back when necessary. Doing this is harder with rival tablets because the Android app sharply limits where files can be uploaded to.
The top-of-the-line Connect WFD 64GB has a suggested price of $99.99, but can be found online for less. Considering the high cost of tablets with large amounts of internal storage, this is a bargain.