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Kingston DataTraveler Bolt Duo review: Kingston's tiny Bolt Duo backs up your iPhone photos and videos

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The Good It does one basic thing -- photo backups from your iPhone -- but does it well. Auto-resumes long downloads when interrupted. Works with multiple devices. Allows photos to be written directly to it.

The Bad Large backups are time-consuming, and you can't charge your phone while using the Bolt Duo. It's a bit pricey.

The Bottom Line If you need a hardware alternative to iCloud for iPhone photo backup and sharing, look no further than the Kingston Bolt Duo.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.4 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7

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Most iPhone owners have a ton of photos and videos on their phones. They tend to take up a large portion of the iPhone's built-in memory and while you may have everything backed up to the cloud, it's always reassuring to have a local backup for peace of mind.

That's where Kingston's DataTraveler Bolt Duo comes in. Available in 32GB ($60), 64GB ($90) and 128GB ($120) versions, it's essentially a Lightning-equipped thumbdrive that plugs into your iOS device and allows you to make a copy of your photos. There are other products like it -- the SanDisk iXpand flash drive, for instance, and several cheaper solutions from no-name brands -- but Kingston is touting the Bolt's sturdy, clean metal design and simple user interface.

It's easy to use. You download the Bolt app, plug it in, and you're ready to start copying photos from your Camera Roll to the Bolt.  You can choose to keep the photos on your phone as you copy them or delete them as they're copied. You can also opt to copy only photos and not videos or videos and not photos. And there's also an option to just copy photos you've designated as "favorites."

It's worth mentioning that you can backup up photos/videos from multiple iOS devices -- the Bolt creates separate folders for each device. 

Capture directly to the Bolt

Instead of backing up your photos, you can capture photos and videos directly to the Bolt -- as if you're shooting to an external drive. That comes in handy if you want to quickly transfer your images or footage to a laptop or desktop computer. After you're through shooting, you pull the Bolt out of your iPhone and plug the opposite end into a USB port on your computer (you'll need an adapter for new USB-C MacBooks), which sees the Bolt as a standard thumbdrive. You can then drag whatever files you want over files over to the computer's hard drive.

The Bolt is small, which means it's easy to lose. And because it costs a lot more than your typical thumbdrive, you'd be upset if you did lose it. To that end, Kingston includes a keyring rubber case for it, which is good. I ended up attaching the case to a loop inside my backpack so I knew where I could find it at all times, but you also just attach to your keychain.

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