I remember my first USB stick. It was a tiny 16 MB and I would keep my writing projects on it. Nowadays USB sticks are slimmer and have greater capacity, but they lack a few things. The biggest issue is that we largely live in what is called a “post PC” culture. It is entirely possible to do 90% (sometimes 100%) of your computing work on a phone or tablet, and those rarely have full USB ports. There are solutions, like dual headed drives, but even those are limited. For example, what if you have a USB Micro drive but then update to a phone with USB-C?
SanDisk crafted the Connect Wireless Stick with just that issue in mind. Now, instead of worrying about having the right port, you just use whatever you like via WiFi. I personally tested the 64 GB model, officially a $60 value. It’s on Amazon for $37.13 (and the other sizes are all on sale too). I will be honest; that price tag gave me pause, but it looks like no one is selling at the MSRP. This is not the first portable wireless storage solution I’ve used (or am even testing right now), but it is one of the most elegant. The physical size is about on par with that first 16 MB drive, which seems large until you remember this has a wireless server in it.
To connect to the Stick, you use an app, available for iOS, Android, and Kindle devices. I tested for iOS, which was likely a different experience than Android, where the OS has a central file system available to the user. I used the app to stream some audio and video, and found it to be largely simple. One nice feature is the ability to connect more than one device; I connected both an iPad and an iPhone. You can also still use the internet via WiFi while on the app (detailed in the included documentation on the stick). As you might imagine, battery life is an issue. Officially rated for four and a half hours, I found real-world experience to be closer to four hours.
Which brings this review to an almost screeching halt. It’s weird to think of a four hour battery life as short, but it is. It doesn’t mean this is useless; it just means it has a specific audience. If you are someone who is going to need a wireless storage solution for say, a cross-country trip, then no. But if you’re flying cross country, this could be perfect. Or really for any occasional access solution. Which really is the point of these USB sticks anyway. This device is almost perfect for a student to throw in her or his pocket, and have at the ready.
Note: SanDisk provided a Connect Wireless Stick for this review. I really should do something nice for them, you know?