What do you do when your mobile phone has limited storage and there’s no option to add an external SD card? How do you carry all your videos and documents where there’s not an iota of space left on the device? Yes, you do have cloud-based services like Dropbox or Google Drive that add virtually unlimited storage to your phone but you’ve to be connected to the Internet to access your files.
This week I’ve been testing a wireless USB stick from Sandisk that adds storage to your phones and tablets much like a regular USB drive. To get started, you plug the USB device into your laptop or desktop computer and let it charge for about an hour or two. You can also transfer the files to the stick from the computer through Windows Explorer or Finder on Mac.
Once the device is charged, you tap the little power button on the stick to turn it on. Now install the Sandisk Connect app on your mobile phone, go to WiFi settings on your phone and connect to the Wi-Fi hotspot created by the USB stick. That’s it.
The content of the USB drive can now be accessed from your mobile phone. You can stream audio and video files stored on the stick, you can browse photos, open PDF files and other documents in associated mobile apps and you can easily transfer files between the phone and the wireless drive. It is much like plugging a USB stick into your mobile phone but without the wires.
The Wi-Fi network has no security by default but you do have an option to add a password to prevent other nearby devices from connecting to the USB stick.
Unlike using cloud storage, Sandisk’s Connect USB stick requires no Internet connection (it will create a hotspot that your mobile device will connect to) and multiple devices can connect to the same USB drive over Wi-Fi. So if you are carrying an iPad and an Android phone, not only can the two devices connect to the stick simultaneously but it can be used as a temporary medium to transfer files between the iOS and Android device.
The USB stick itself is solidly built with a transparent protective casing though it is obviously heavier and looks bigger than regular USB sticks. The Sandisk mobile app does have some issues but none of them are a deal breaker. In my testing, the iPad app frequently crashed especially when reading big PDF files. The Android app would not allow me to browse the web using cellular connection while the phone was connected to USB drive over Wifi.
Sandisk Connect (Amazon, Flipkart) is compatible with both Android and iOS devices and is available in various capacities from 16GB to 128GB. If you are running out of storage space on your mobile phone and upgrading is not an option, the Connect stick is probably the easiest way to expand your phone’s existing storage.