SanDisk joins Wi-Fi storage club with two tiny flash-based devices

/ Updated: August 5, 2013 1:15 PM PDT
Sandisk's new Connect Wireless Flash  and Connect Wireless Media drives.
SanDisk's new Connect Wireless Flash and Connect Wireless Media drives. Dong Ngo/CNET

If you can't find what you want on this relatively long list of battery-operated Wi-Fi storage devices, SanDisk today unveiled two more choices of its own, the Connect Wireless Flash Drive and the Connect Wireless Media Drive.

These new devices are the first Wi-Fi-enabled storage devices from the flash memory maker, and both offer basically all the features you can find in similar existing devices. Plus they are supercompact.

Compact, Internet sharing-ready and versatile
Both of these compact devices use flash memory as their storage, have a built-in battery and a 802.11n Wi-Fi network, and support multiple Wi-Fi clients at one time. They can also relay the Internet access, by connecting to another Wi-Fi work and share that network's Internet connection to all the devices that are connected to the Wi-Fi network of their own.

Mobile Wi-Fi clients, such as smartphone and tablets, can use a mobile app (each Connect Wireless drives has a mobile app of its own, available for Android, iOS, and Kindle Fire platforms) to play back contents stored on the Connect Wireless drives or back up user-generated contents onto them, wirelessly.

The Connect Wireless Flash Drive is easily the most compact drive of its type.
The Connect Wireless Flash Drive is easily the most compact drive of its type. Dong Ngo/CNET

When plugged in to a computer, both drives can work as USB external storage devices. Reformatted in exFAT file systems, they will work with both Macs and Windows computers out of the box with no restrictions. You can use the USB connection to quickly load the drives with content for streaming and sharing needs while traveling.

Other than that, the two are quite different from each other.

SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive: New battery powered, Wi-Fi-enabled thumbdrive
The Connect Wireless Flash Drive looks and works just like a regular thumbdrive. The device has no internal storage, however, but instead comes with a microSD slot. You can use this slot to host a microSD card to use as the device's internal storage (a card of either 16GB or 32GB is included). After that, you can use the drive just as any other thumbdrive to copy content from a computer onto it. When plugged in to a computer, however, the device also charges its internal battery, which then offers some four hours of usage.

The drive comes with a microSD card slot to host its storage, a card of 16GB or 32GB is included.
The drive comes with a microSD card slot to host its storage. A card of 16GB or 32GB is included. Dong Ngo/CNET

The Connect Wireless Flash Drive is by far the smallest Wi-Fi storage device, and for this reason it can support a maximum of only three Wi-Fi clients a time.

SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive: Top storage space for a supercompact device
The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive is larger than its little brother, taking the shape of a square with rounded corners, measuring just about 0.5-inch thick and 2.5-inch wide.

The device comes with internal storage (32GB or 64GB) and also has a standard SD card slot. You can use this slot to add even more storage space to it. With SD cards offering up to 128GB these days, you can carry up to 192GB of storage space. Thanks to its expandable capability, the drive is also the most compact for the amount of storage it can offer.

The only other similarly compact device is the Kingston Wi-Drive, which caps at just 128GB and is significantly larger than its SanDisk counterpart. The fact that the Connect Wireless Flash Drive comes with an SD card slot also means that you can quickly share photos you've just taken with a group of people.

With a built-in SD card, the Connect Wireless Media drive offers a flexible and convenient way of increasing its storage space as well as sharing photos taken with a digital camera.
With a built-in SD card, the Connect Wireless Media drive offers a flexible and convenient way of increasing its storage space or sharing photos taken by digital cameras. Dong Ngo/CNET

The Connect Wireless Media Drive supports up to eight Wi-Fi devices at a time (with five concurrent HD streams) and offers up to eight hours of battery life.

The two SanDisk Connect Wireless drives are set to be available by early August, though they are available for preorder now. The Connect Wireless Flash Drive is slated to cost $50 and $60 for 16GB and 32GB, respectively. The Connect Wireless Media Drive costs $80 for 32GB and $100 for 64GB. For more information, check out the full review of the SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive.

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SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive (32GB)

Part Number: SDWS2-032G-A57 Released: Jul. 22, 2013
Low Price: $59.84 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jul. 22, 2013