Reviewed by Colin Hewitt
I’ve been using my trusty iPad Air workhorse since about 2013. It’s a first-generation Air device, and considering its age, still operates perfectly well. It certainly meets my current needs; however, one of the problems with a tablet device is the difficulty in expanding storage. On a laptop computer it is a very straightforward operation, plug a flash drive into a USB port, and you’re away.
When I read about the iXpand Flash Drive from SanDisk, the description intrigued me. A highly portable memory flash drive for the iPhone, iPad and computer. It can be used to free up space on your devices, and automatically back up your precious photo and video collections. I hadn’t come across this sort of gadget before.
Throughout this review, I refer to operation on an iPad; however, the device can also function on an iPhone.
The 32GB version (also available in 16GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256B) I was sent to review was delivered in an easy to open blister pack. The basic instructions said to plug the iXpand Flash Drive into your device, and when prompted, download the iXpand Drive App from the Apple App Store. I was sceptical, surely it couldn’t be that easy, not on an iPad. I’m pleased to say I was entirely wrong.
It’s a strange device, which looks a little like a sports referee’s whistle. The Apple lightning connector folds out from a protective inset on the top of a conventional USB plug. When inserted into your iPad, the flexibility enables the drive to sit flat, even if the iPad is in a protective case. However, I’m not sure how flexible it would be if your iPad were in an unusually deep housing.
The iXpand Drive App downloaded quickly, and (as usual for most Apps from the Apple Store) ran the first time. It guided me through a very brief and simple setup procedure. My iPad immediately recognized the flash drive and led me through the process of transferring files.
When the iXpand Drive App opens, the user sees a menu with three options. Copy Files, View Files, Backup and Restore.
When copying from the iPad, the iXpand Drive App displays your Camera Roll folder (or any other folder you choose to select). You can then either select individual photos or ‘select all’ to transfer all of your files to the device.
The pictures and video files transferred at a fantastic speed.
When copying to the iPad, the app shows a basic folder structure (similar to that seen on a Windows PC or Apple iOS) – there are some sample photos, videos, and music included, so you can have a practice before moving any of your precious files.
This option is exceptionally intuitive and self-evident. Click on the folders you have created, and then click on individual photos. You can also select an automatic slide show of your photographs.
Backup and Restore:-
You can set the Flash Drive to automatically backup your photo library when plugged into your iPad. You can also set it up so that it automatically backs up your social media photos (Facebook and Instagram), and your contacts/calendar.
After transferring some photos and videos to the flash drive, I then tried viewing the pictures on my laptop (Windows 10) – everything moved to the device was visible.
Over the years, I have got used to transferring files between my iPad and PC via a cloud service. I wish devices like the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive were available at a reasonable price back in 2013 (when cloud services were in their infancy). Using this SanDisk device is the most convenient method I have ever used to transfer files to and from an iPad.
The SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive is a highly useful device; straightforward, and intuitive to use.
RRP: £39.99 (32GB)