There’s no way to directly expand the storage capacity of a tablet that doesn’t have a memory card slot, but the SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive offers an indirect method.
Those who have a device with a microSD slot can store music, pictures, and video on removable cards, so these don’t take up all the tablet’s internal storage. SamDisk’s accessory is a workaround, allowing iPad and Android users to access the contents of SD cards, as well as some additional storage built into the wireless drive.
Build and Design
There are a number of somewhat similar accessories on the market, but none of them look anywhere near as good as this one. Its combination of black plastic with metal trim looks professional enough that it could be set on the table during a meeting of a board of directors.
On one side is a slot for SD cards. This allows you to add up to 64GB of additional capacity, or directly access the contents of a card used in a camera.
Unlike some rivals, there’s no slot for plugging in USB thumb drives. On the other hand, none of those rivals have any built-in storage themselves. SanDisk offers two versions, one with 32GB of internal capacity, one with 64GB.
A micro-USB slot is there to charge the Media Drive, as well as to load content onto it from your desktop or laptop.
Naturally there’s a Power button, as well as a collection of LEDs to indicate the status of this device: charging, connected, etc.
SanDisk designed the Connect WMD and its associated software to store and stream video, music, and images to your tablet or phone. User-created images and video can also be uploaded.
The tablet connects to this accessory over Wi-Fi… as if the device was a hotspot. An app on the tablet then gives users access to the files stored on the media drive.
This media drive is capable of streaming video to five different users simultaneously, and up to 8 people can be connected if they are doing something less bandwidth intensive.
There are versions of the necessary software for iOS and Android. Windows devices can access the contents of the Connect WMD by going to http://192.168.11.1 on a web browser.
For iPad users, the software allows users to directly play the audio and video formats that are natively supported by iOS. At this point, it does not support “Open in…”
This accessory can be connected to a desktop or laptop via a USB cable where it appears as a removable drive. This allows media files to be loaded or deleted. That said, the connection is USB 2.0, so it’s a bit slow.
This accessory goes beyond just letting users enjoy video and audio — those who have recorded video and taken pictures on a trip can wirelessly upload these to the WMD via the iOS or Android app and open up additional space on their tablet. This is a feature that’s very useful on a long vacation.
Some of the rival wireless card readers do a better job of handling non-media files. Those who are looking for a way to store large numbers of Microsoft Word documents or ePub files might be happier with the Kingston MobileLite Wireless.
Although the tablet needs to be connected to this accessory by Wi-Fi, it can connect to a Wi-Fi network and pass this connection along to the tablet. This does significantly impact download speeds, however.
SanDisk says that its media drive is good for up to eight hours of video streaming on a single charge. In TPCR tests, the battery life is actually better than that, as it lasted that long with two devices watching video simultaneously. And the accessory can be used when charging, and it comes with an easily-portable charger.
Many tablets users could get along with a device with just 16GB of internal storage except for the need to store video and music files, which can quickly eat up many gigabytes. The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive deals with this issue, as it allows users to store up to 128GB of media files.
The 64GB version costs $100 and the 32GB one is $80. Adding additional internal storage capacity to a tablet is generally quite expensive — for an iPad it’s $100. That makes this media drive a good deal when its ability to be used by multiple devices simultaneously is factored in.