This New Wi-Fi Hard Drive Is Your iPhone's Best Friend [REVIEW]

widrive title image

Photo: Ellis Hamburger

Kingston’s Wi-Drive is one of many brand new devices dedicated to helping you bring all your movies on the road because your iPhone or iPad doesn’t have enough space in it.The Wi-Drive creates its own Wi-Fi network, and can stream movies and music to up to three Apple devices at once (so it’s perfect for kids in the backseat), and has enough battery life for a plane ride.

Why Should You Buy It?
The Wi-Drive isn’t cheap, but it can be invaluable if you’re a travelling movie buff, or if you’re a photographer and want to take a library of pictures with you. Or, maybe you just want to bring your entire iTunes library with you.

The Wi-Drive is ultra-light, and comes in two flavours: 16GB for $129.99 and 32 GB for $174.99. If you aren’t concerned about size, you could grab a Seagate GoFlex for $199.99 which has a lot more space (500GB), but isn’t as portable.

The Wi-Drive app for your iPhone and iPad doesn’t look too cutting edge, but it works. There isn’t an Android app quite yet. Once you hold the Wi-Drive’s power button to turn it on, you boot up the app, connect to the Wi-Drive as if it were a regular Wi-Fi router, and you get instant access to the folders on your Wi-Drive.

If you tap a movie, it takes a couple seconds to buffer, then starts playing. There’s no lag when streaming movies to your device, and I have no complaints with functionality–if you’re within 10 feet from the Wi-Drive at least.

The Wi-Drive charges via a USB cable and AC adaptor it comes with. The USB cable is also how you load movies, music, etc. onto the device via drag and drop. When you plug it into your computer, it shows up like a USB thumb drive would.

widrive movieMovies buffer instantly.

While Kingston’s claimed four hours of battery life is OK, if you have a USB adaptor for your car’s cigarette lighter, you can keep the thing plugged in and be all set. Many flights to Europe are on planes that have outlets anyway, so you could very well use the Wi-Drive as your personal movie library on a long trip.

One cool feature is that unlike other Wi-Fi hard drives, while you’re connected to the Kingston Wi-Drive, you can also browse the internet. The Wi-Drive can connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot in the area–when you use the internet on your iPhone or iPad, the Wi-Drive acts as a gateway. You lose some speed along the way, but it’s better than nothing.

If you’re curious about ripping movies to your computer, try Handbrake. It’s a computer program that makes it simple to rip movies to a variety of formats, and you can choose how big the movie files will be.

The Kingston Wi-Drive should be in stores within the next few weeks.

Here's the Wi-Drive. It's sleek black plastic, with a silver plastic bezel.

Hold down the power button to turn the Wi-Drive on. When the Wi-Drive is broadcasting wirelessly, a little blue LED lights up.

It feels like an iPhone in your hand, but thinner and much lighter.

The iPhone is shorter, but much heavier.

They could both easily fit in your pocket.

Here are the sides of the Wi-Drive and the iPhone 4

Transfer movies and music onto the Wi-Drive using the provided USB cable.

Once the app is installed, hold the power button on the Wi-Drive until it turns on, then connect to it on your iPhone or iPad

Watching and scrubbing through movies stored on the Wi-Drive is seamless.

When you open the app, you'll see this home screen containing folders on your Wi-Drive.

Tap the music navigational tab to see all the music stored on your Wi-Drive

If you're worried about people near you snooping in your Wi-Drive, turn on one of the password-enabled encryption settings.

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