This all started when someone posted on G+ about the Sandisk Wifi USB Stick, 64 gb on sale for $55. While looking at it on Amazon I see the Sandisk Media Drive which comes in both 32 gb abd 64 gb. The media drive also too micro sd cards in addition to the internal memory and also had better battery life. At the time they both were more than the Wifi usb stick. Had used up my toy allowance at the time so I had to wait for it to be refunded, plus I really couldn’t justify the price.
As normally happens with stuff that catches my eye I didn’t let it go but keep looking at the Sandisk Media device every once in a while. Well low and behold I found the 32 gb model on sale at Best Buy for $39.95 the 64 gb was $54.95 but were entirley sold out at stores and online. The closet store to me that had one was 100 miles away, not worth the trip. The stars were aligned right, online shipping was free so after thinking about it for a day I ordered it. This is only the beginning of the story.
The Sandisk Media Drive arrived in the mail about 3 days after I ordered it. Unboxed it and it looked pretty cool a 2.5″ square about a half inch thick. Top black textured rubber feeling stuff, bottom same stuff but smooth, the band around the side was silver. Very nice looking piece. Initial setup wasn’t bad, sometimes the Sandisk app would guide you through it and sometimes not. Found the easiest thing was to use the Android devices Wifi setting to connect to it then go from there. The app itself was nothing to write home about but did work sort of once you figure out how to do something. Wouldn’t call it user friendly by any standard.
The Sandisk Medai Drive main selling point was that you could stream video/music to up to 5 devices at the same time. For this it would probably work just fine, but I still think there are better choices out there. Personally I wanted it so that I could share files between all my different Android devices without having to first copy it to my laptop then to the other device. Yea I know there’s NFC tap and all sorts of other ways to do this sort of but not what I was really after. I wanted more of a personal, private, portable cloud drive. For this it did not work well at all. Was next to impossible to copy files from the SMD internal memory to the sd card or vise a versa. One file at a time okay but a directory forget it. It might start the transfer but never did it finish it. Use a file manager you say, good idea but not supported all as far as I could determine. For letting your 3 kids all watch a different episode 8.of Sponge Bob while traveling this might have worked fine. Also when your connected to it you don’t have internet access but this is handle but the SMD as it will connect to your wifi network and act as a bridge. Except you give up a ton of bandwidth, I went from 38 Mbps going straight out through my router and when going through the SMD first I got 7 Mbps. Okay this probably won’t work for what I want so back to the drawing board.
I actually looked at getting the Sandisk Wifi USB stick which actually used a micro sd card for storage. Not as versatile as the Media Drive but seemed like it might fit my needs better. I actually put purchased on at Amazon late one Friday night.
Then I came across the RavPower WD02 which did way more that either of the SanDisk products. It was a micro sd card reader, could also read usb storage devices such as thumb drive, hard drives etc. Plus with a 6000 mAH battery it could also charge you phone or tablet in a pinch. I have power bricks and never use them. Oh yea it also can act as a router or a bridge and can be plugged directly into your cable modem if need be. In my mind this multifunctional device blew the Sandisk devices away. Cancelled the order for the Sandisk Wifi USB stick and order the WD02. As it turned out it too had faults too. You can read about it here, Ravpower WD02 Review.
RavPower sent me the newer model WD03 which I was told had better networking as that was one of my main issues with the WD02 that and if you left it plugged in it got so hot that the sd card slot and usb port shut down. Luckily it didn’t damage the card or usb stick I had plugged in. While waiting for the WD03 to arrive I ran across the Kingston MobileLite G2 it also piked my interest so I ordered on while it was still on sale at Amazon. We all know how the deal at Amazon go, here now and gone 2 minutes later. For $29.95 I had to have one so in the shopping cart it went and off to checkout I went. Okay let’s get back in track here.
RavPower WD03 was much improved over the WD02 don’t think they added any new functions but they did clean up the app, yea it has it’s own app. Kind of reminded me of an app for a Windows phone or tablet with all the panes, but still way more polished and functional than the ones for the WD02. What sets the RavPower apart from the Sandisk units was the fact that they supported SMB so you could connect to them using Android file managers such as ES File Explorer or Solid Explorer. So once you had the Ravpower device configured you didn’t need to use the app. The issues that I had with the WD02 were non existent with the WD03. The internet speed was much faster on dropping to 25 Mbps from 38 Mbps.
Though this hasn’t been tied according to the instruction manual you can plug an USB hub into the usb port and put up to 4 usb sticks in the hub and it will read them all as separate usb volumes or you can use up to 2 usb hard drives. The WD03 has a full size SD card slot as opposed to the micro sd card slot on the WD02, this is a plus if you want to use it to off load the SD card from you camera as most of them use the ful size cards. When I 1st got the WD03 it would not recognize the 128 gb sd card I inserted into it. Checked and there was new firmware for the WD03 so I downloaded it and proceeded to follow the instructions for doing the update. The instructions said to copy the zip file to the root of the sd card or the usb stick. I put it on the root of a usb stick and clicked the upgrade button, no upgrade files found. Back to the instructions, copied the extracted firmware upgrade file to the root of the usb stick, samething no upgrade file found. This was all being done with the app. Okay let’s try using the web interface so I logged into it using my mobile browser on the Nexus 9. Clicked System/Firmware upgrade and it had an option to browse to the file which had to be on the tablet as it turned out. Click wait 5 minutes and see what happens. 5 minutes later the upgrade was done and I was able to attach again and log on. This time it saw the 128 gb sd card and I was able to read and write to it. But I wasn’t able to get it to connect to my local wifi, everytime I tried to enter the password it after I type several characters it would drop the ones I just typed and start over, this was the same wither it used the app or web interface. This was a real WTF moment as I had already had it connected without a problem before I did the upgrade. Finally I decided to try it using the stock Google keyboard instead of Hacker’s keyboard which I normally use. This time it worked and I connected to my local wifi so I would have pass through to the internet. The FileHub Plus app is pretty nice for looking at your files but leaves something to be desired if you want to use it to manipulate your files better off using a file manager such as ES File Explorer or Solid Explorer. Didn’t try streaming as this isn’t really why I wanted on of these. I might stream music from it but it will only do one directory at a time so you can’t stream you entire collection at one time so it’s back to copying all the music to the device I want to play it from. Oh well it was a thought.
Compared to the WD02 this is a much better device but if you go to Amazon the WD02 is $42 and the WD03 is $55. Not sure the upgrade warrants the difference in price.
Today, yes Sunday, the Kingston MobileLite G2 showed up in the mailbox. Took it out of the box and tried to power it on, no go the battery was dead. That doesn’t happen often most of the time the battery has enough power to at least power the device up. Plugged into my 2a charging block and let it sit for a few minutes. Pressed the power button, speaking of power button it recessed so you almost need to use your nail to press it. The lights started flashing so that was a good sign, let it set for a few and tried access it with the MobileLite app which I had already downloaded to my Nexus 9 tablet. Oh back up a minute I need to go to setting/wifi and connect to the MobileLite device. Back to the app I had put a 32 gb sd card in to I could see it and my local drive all was good. The app interface is not a fancy or Windows looking at the FileHub Plus app but still a nice simple functioning app none the less. Alright lets see if we can connect to the G2 to the internet. Choose my wifi router from the list and entered the password. In about 30 seconds or so a box pops up saying there is an upgrade available with the option to install or skip. I choose install. 5 minutes later it was done and I again went through the process of attaching to the G2 and the G2 to my local wifi. Connected to the G2 and then the G2 to the internet no problem.
Had never tried attaching a usb hard drive to any of these units so I decided to try it on the G2. Plugged it in and within a few minutes it showed up in the mobile app just fine and I was able to transfer files or entire folder to the usb hd or the sd card no problem all from within the app. After choosing which files/folders you want to copy/move you can choose the location starting with the the media, usb or sd card then the directory. There is no way to create a directory/folder at that point so you have to do that before you start your copy move. Not a big deal if you are aware of the issue before hand. Copying/moving files with the WD03 was not this easy using the app for it your better off with a file manager.
Wonder what I can do with this from the local wifi side. I looked up the ip address and could ping it but that was about all. Couldn’t use the web browser to access anything. Didn’t have nmap installed so I couldn’t see what ports were open or other network tidbits. Appears to be pretty secure so far deep investigation needed to tell more. Decide what the heck I connected directly to it using wifi. Made the connection with no problem and was able to use the web browser to access the MobileLite. Wonder if I can get to it directly so I opened my file browser, we’re on Linux here not Windows so your mileage may vary. Used Browse Network and there was Mobilelite clicked it and there were the 2 drive the usb hd and the sd card. When clicking on the usb it mounted it as a drive and I was able to browse and do other file operations. No how useful this is I’m not sure but I can see a use. Say your kids are streaming some movies to their devices and you want to add something to the MobileLite, you could connect this way and get the job done. Otherwise it’s probably eaiser to turn the MobileLite off and then take the included USB cable and plug it into a USB port. You will then have access to both the usb and the sd card. The WD03/02 won’t do that. With today’s use I can not find a reason not to like the MobileLite G2.
As I use these units more I will come back and update this review.
As it stands not my vote would go to Kingston’s MobileLite G2 for ease of use the ease of use of the Android app and it’s feature set.