You know that old proverb don’t spoil the ship for ha’penny of tar, that really sums up the Kingston Wi-Drive.
In many ways it is a fabulous concept – A great looking Wi-Fi enabled hard drive that you can access from your mobile devices (in this case iPhones and iPad) which also acts as a Wi-Fi bridge/repeater. I should explain this last point…
The way the Wi-Drive works is to set up its own Wi-Fi network that your device then connects to. Your device can then see the data on the drive. All well and good but it would be a right pain if when you then wanted to say browse the internet you had to switch your device over to another Wi-Fi network. Fortunately Kingston have thought of this and the Wi-Drive will allow you, through a configuration page, to set up a connection from it to your own Wi-Fi. Any device connected to the Wi-Drives Wi-Fi will also have access to the other Wi-Fi network.
Given the very convenient size of the Wi-Drive, this should be a road warriors dream. Imagine using this device to connect to a hotel’s Wi-Fi and sharing that connection with your mobile devices. This is where we come to a serious design flaw. In our testing the Wi-Drive would only appear on Wi-Fi if not on charge. To charge the Wi-Drive you connect it to a PC USB-Port but as soon as you do that Wi-Fi turns off. You can access the files on the drive as though any normal USB drive but that isn’t really the point. The battery life in our tests was only about 2 hours and that is just too restrictive.
The other flaw here is you cannot access the Wi-Drive from a PC without connecting it. That is to say you can not easily copy files to the Wi-Drive over the network from a PC. When I’m sharing files to my iOS devices this is something I would find really convenient to be able to do.
Other reviews have criticised the software on iPhone and iPad for not being more tightly integrated into the OS. In particularly not allowing access to the files on the Wi-Drive from inside other iPhone/iPad Apps. I have to say this is not Kingston’s fault – any like device would have the same issues due to the way Apple restricts access on iOS. I do actually quite like the Wi-Drive software. Whilst it won’t play most Microsoft formats it will happily play video in mp4 format from the drive and has quite a pleasant, if not really attention grabbing, interface.
It is a real shame. Kingston almost have a fabulous must have device on their hands but they spoilt it with a few missteps. Quick someone go and get them a ha’penny of tar.