From the Cheapskate: This surprisingly compact stick can pair with up to three devices for media streaming, file sharing and more. Plus: a seriously sweet bundle of e-books for programmers.
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
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I'm seeing a lot of great deals on refurbished Galaxy S6 phones (alas, the one I was going to share today already sold out), but they have a limited amount of available storage -- with no option for internal expansion. That's true of a lot of Android phones and every single iPhone ever.
So what happens when you want access to a big library of music, videos, photos and the like -- and don't want to chew up all your data pulling it from the Interwebs? Simple: You load all that stuff on an external drive, preferably one that's compact, wireless and cheap.
I've seen (and shared) other wireless storage solutions, but nothing quite like this. The Connect looks (and operates) just like a traditional flash drive, meaning you just pop it into your PC and load it up with media. Alas, it's a USB 2.0 drive, which I find ridiculous -- but maybe there's a technical reason for it? Otherwise I can't understand why any modern flash drive wouldn't incorporate USB 3.0.
That gripe aside, the Connect can pair with up to three devices simultaneously. It does so by creating its own little Wi-Fi network, so you can use it on a plane, train or anywhere else that doesn't have existing Wi-Fi connectivity. Consequently, using it won't impact your data plan one bit.
You can also use it to offload media from your phone or tablet, thereby freeing up extra storage for things like apps and new photos. It's not quite as convenient as an internal memory card, but the functionality is largely the same.
I've seen 32GB plug-in expansion drives for phones (way less convenient) selling for $50. This is obviously a much better value. The only unknown is battery life, which isn't stated anywhere here (but I found out: It's good for up to 4.5 hours of continuous usage, according to SanDisk).
You'll definitely want to peruse the reviews, which average out to just 3.7 stars. But there seems to be at least some user error behind some of the lower reviews, like the 1-star "I don't like that you must download the app." (Actually, that's not user error; that's user idiocy.) And, yes, you do need to download a SanDisk app (make sure to get the correct one).
Your thoughts? Have you already purchased a wireless drive for added mobile storage? If so, which one, and how do you like it?