Editor's note: This reviewed was updated on May 16, 2013 to reflect the newer model with higher storage capacity.
With up to 128GB of storage space and dimensions about the size of the iPhone 3G, the Kingston Wi-Drive is very much the mini version of Seagate's Wireless Plus, both in terms of physical size and capacity. Essentially, it's a USB portable drive that has a built-in Wireless-N access point and can stream its stored content to up to three wireless clients, be they tablets, such as an iPad, or notebooks. The best feature of the Wi-Drive is the fact that it can also connect to another Wi-Fi network to allow its connected clients to access the Internet.
While the drive worked well in my testing, its limited amount of storage space makes it hard to call it an ideal companion for tablets. At the current street price of $150 for 128GB (or $65 and $90 for the 32GB and 64GB capacities, respectively), the Wi-Drive, is also relatively expensive compared with other hard drive-based devices of the same type.
As an external hard drive, the Wi-Drive supports both PCs and Macs out of the box, but its performance is about the same as that of a thumb drive. If you're a frequent traveler with an iPad and favor the compact design and functionality over capacity, the Wi-Drive will make a good investment. Otherwise, check out the alternatives on this list.
Design and features
|Drive type||SSD-based portable drive|
|Connector options||USB 2.0|
|Size (LWH)||4.78 x 2.43 x .4 inches|
|Available capacities||32GB, 64GB, 128GB |
|Capacity of reviewed unit||32GB|
|OSes supported||iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, 7), Mac OS 10.5 or later, Android, Linux v.2.6 or later.|
|Software included||Wi-Drive app for iOS, and Android devices |
The Wi-Drive is one of the most compact external drives I've seen. It also looks very sleek, with a black housing, which unfortunately happens to be a fingerprint magnet. The drive feels flimsy, however, and makes tiny squeaky noises if you gently squeeze it in your palm, which you can as it's so small.
Considering the ultracompact size, the device is really impressive to also have a built-in Wireless-N access point and an internal battery. The drive is the first I've seen that can also connect to another Wi-Fi network, allowing its connected clients to connect to the Internet without switching the network.
On top, the Wi-Drive has three little LED lights that are only visible when they are lit up. They show the statuses of the Internet connection, the Wi-Fi network, and the data activity. On the side, there's a power button that you'll need to press and hold for a few seconds to turn the device on. The top side of the device has a Mini-USB port for both charging and connecting to a computer. The Wi-Drive also comes with a power adapter for those times when you don't have access to a Mini-USB.
The Wi-Drive allows a maximum of three clients. While any clients can connect and access data stored on the drive via a Web browser, the best way to stream the content is via a native app. In my trial, this app worked very well and allows you to view photos, stream video, and read documents that are stored on the Wi-Drive. All you need to do is copy files onto the Wi-Drive by connecting it to computer. After that, on the iPad, the Wi-Drive app will organize streamable content into different categories, such as Photo, Music, and Video. You can also choose to browse the content of the drive by folders. Overall, it's very easy and self-explanatory to stream content stored on the drive.
The app also enables users to customize the Wi-Drive's settings, including changing its network name, picking the other Internet-enabled Wi-Fi network that you want it to connect to, and updating its firmware.