Kingston has been in the memory game for a very long time and is well known as the makers of high reliability top quality DIMMs. In fact in 2011 they were ranked as the world's number-one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market with 46% market share. But I bet what you didn't know they do more than just make great DIMMs.
Imagine this, you are at the Apple store admiring the new iPad 2 and you are faced with a dilemma do you go for the 16GB and save a bit of coin risking not having all your media with you, or do you jump up to the 32GB or even the whopper 64GB version? Knowing that you cannot upgrade the capacity on an iPad once you pull the trigger you go for the 64GB version and feel like you have more than enough room for your multimedia collection today and in the future.
Fast forward to the future. You can't believe you filled that 64GB and now playing swap my videos every time you come home. The good news is Kingston has the answer with their new Kingston Wi-Drive in either 16GB (WID/16GBZ) or 32GB (WID/32GBZ). This provides additional flash based storage but how do they upgrade your iPad? Easy, they use the Wi part of the Wi-Drive which means wireless in the form of an integrated 802.11n wireless access point and lithium ion battery combined with that 16GB or 32GB of flash storage. Currently the Kingston Wi-Drive is focused on the Apple audience supporting the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch models through the free Wi-Drive app you can grab at the Apple App Store.
While it is possible to access the Kingston Wi-Drive from any browser on any platform it is a much better experience using the free native application to take advantage of the Wi-Drive on one of your Apple devices, but I have been told that an Android App is in the works.
Kingston was nice enough to send us one of the 32GB versions for us to review. The Kingston Wi-Drive is a sleek sexy package about the size of an iPhone 3, but slightly slimmer, that allows you to have your own battery powered wireless flash storage system wherever you go. Even better you can share this storage with two other friends for a total of three devices connected at a time, all streaming the same or different content. Imagine all three of you watching that cool movie each on your own device with the added bonus of still being able to surf the Internet. How did Kingston pull that off? With one of the best features of the Wi-drive! Simply point it at any available wireless access point and it will associate and then bridge the connection through the Wi-Drive. This allows you and your buddies to surf the web while listening to your 32GB music collection which works out to about 6000 MP3's or more than enough for a long road trip on the team bus.
Kingston told us the the MSRP of 16GB version is going to be $130.00 and the 32GB version will be $175.00. The Wi-Drive has started shipping and retail availability is started to begin on July 25th, 2011. Kingston says that online stores like NewEgg, Buy.com, and Amazon will be carrying the players. We looked over at Newegg and they do have both models listed for pre-order. The Kingston Wi-Drive 16GB is $129.99 shipped and the Wi-Drive 32Gb is $179.99 shipped. Both versions come with 24/7 tech support and a one year warranty. When it comes to color choices, you currently don't have any as Kingston only offers the Wi-Drive in shiny black with sharp silver bezel.
The Kingston Wi-Drive comes with an instruction mannual, wall charger and a USB cable. The Wi-Drive charges by using either the USB cable connected to your PC or when connected to the AC adapter that it comes with. The USB cable is also how you load movies, music, pictures or any other digital content onto the Wi-Drive with simply dragging and dropping them. When you plug the Wi-Drive into your computer, it shows up just like a USB thumb drive would, so the device is simple to use.
Kingston Wi-Drive Key Features:
Portability: Wi-Fi enabled so you can take your favorite media with you – and not be tethered to your computer. Just use your digital device as a player and display.
Expanded storage: Add 16GB or 32GB of storage space for more of your favorite music, photos, videos, PDFs and more. It's also a great companion for Windows users on iPads, as it removes the frustration of using auto sync to view content.
Casual Sharing: Wi-Drive lets you share your favorite media with three users simultaneously – without any hassles. Access to the drive is done over the 802.11 g/n protocol, just like your typical home wireless hub, with a password. Carry extra files and content with you and use your iPad, iPod touch or iPhone as a display to share information. Best of all, Wi-Drive is backed by legendary Kingston reliability, 24/7 tech support and a one-year warranty.
Kingston Wi-Drive Specifications:
Capacities — WID/16GBZ 16GB , WID/32GBZ 32GB
Dimensions — 121.5mm x 61.8mm x 9.8mm
Operating Temperature — 32°F to 122°F (0°C to 50°C)
Storage Temperature — 14°F to 158°F (-10°C to 70°C)
Wireless Network Interface — Wi-Fi 802.11g/n with wireless security (WPA/WEP)
Rechargeable Battery — up to four hours of continuous use
Cable — MiniUSB to USB cable included User can upload files and content from their PC/Mac to the Wi-Drive using the USB cable
Convenient — pocket-sized for easy transportability
Simple — just plug into a USB port
Guaranteed — one-year warranty
App — downloadable at Apple’s App Store
Compatible with iPad, iPhone 3G/3GS/4, iPod touch (3G is limited to iOS4.2.1+)
The first thing you need to do when you open the Kingston Wi-Drive is fully charge the battery either by plugging it in to an available USB port that can drive power or using the included USB wall plug. Once you have it charged you simply plug it in to an open USB port on either your Mac, Linux, or Windows machine and it will show up as a connected USB hard drive. From there it is as simple as drag and dropping all the multimedia you want onto the device. Unplug it, turn it on, and associate with the integrated Wi-Fi access point and you have access to all your content.
You can see the packaging, configuration, and interface in this video review:
I really liked the form factor for the Kingston Wi-Drive as it just slips right into your pocket, and the fact it uses flash based memory means it is durable for travel. I also loved the ability to connect to any available wireless access point from the Kingston Wi-Drive so you do not lose your Internet connection which comes in handy if you are trying to stream your music collection and read that breaking news story on Legit Reviews. This is a great solution to extend your Apple device by 16GB or 32GB once you have filled your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch to capacity.
While there is plenty to like about the concept of using wireless to add capacity to your device the price point for the Wi-Drive is on the high end. For instance if you were looking at the 32GB iPad the jump to the 64GB version is only an additional $100.00. However, the iPad does not let you share your multimedia content with two of your friends. I also found that while Kingston states the battery lasts 4 hours, I found the battery to run just shy of 3 hours under constant streaming which is still long enough for an extended subway ride or the longest movie.
It would be nice if Kingston included a car adapter as I could see this device being of great use on a long road trip with each person watching or listening to whatever content they want. I know you can buy an after market device but for the price you would hope it would be included. Overall, the Kingston Wi-Drive is a solid product that does what it is designed to do very well!
Legit Bottom Line: The Kingston Wi-Drive is a great solution to add capacity to your Apple portable devices but it is a bit expensive for the amount of additional capacity it provides.