08 October 2015 10:37:20 IST

A flash drive for the wireless age

SanDisk's Wireless Connect Stick offers device agnostic file storage and access

The humble flash drive, which became ubiquitous over the last decade and a half, is on its deathbed. With large numbers of users now using mobile devices as their primary computers, manufacturers of storage devices are increasingly finding that they need to bridge the gap between smartphones, tablets and PCs in order to stay relevant. SanDisk's Wireless Connect Stick is one such peripheral that attempts to combine a wireless router and a flash drive in order to create a storage medium that is accessible from all of your devices.

The Wireless Connect Stick looks like a large flash drive at first glance. In fact, the only external detail that differentiates it from a flash drive is a small power button on the right side. It features a very snazzy prism-like design on its top surface and a slot for a lanyard towards the rear. There is also a tiny LED activity indicator that is almost invisible when not on.

The device comes with a standard USB 2.0 connector that plugs into computers for charging and transferring content. While plugged in, the wireless radio is turned off to prevent simultaneous reading and writing from multiple devices which could corrupt the filesystem. But once ejected, the Stick is capable of beaming out a WiFi signal at the press of a button.

It can also connect to an existing WiFi network, which will allow you to access files stored on it and stay connected to the Internet at the same time.

Content stored on the device can be accessed in one of two ways. For mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, SanDisk has a Connect Drive app available on Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store.

SanDisk has a number of apps for their various devices and all of them have very similar names, so make sure you're getting the right one. Computers can also connect to the Stick wirelessly through a browser-based interface.

The network created by the Wireless Stick is open by default but it can be secured using WP2 protection through the app or the web interface.

The app is a fairly spartan affair that presents a list of folders through which are available on the Stick. By default, it streams audio and video files and displays pictures natively, but a download option is also available if you would prefer to save the content on to your mobile device.

Uploading files to the Stick is also possible by hitting the plus icon at the bottom of the app. However, downloading and uploading files is a lot easier on Android than iOS due to the restricted access to the filesystem on Apple's platform.

The app also allows for automatic backup of contacts and media items from the camera roll.

The SanDisk Wireless Connect Stick has a rated battery life of 4.5 hours, which proved fairly accurate in our testing. It takes about two hours to acquire a full charge.

Perhaps the most useful feature of this storage solution is the fact that multiple devices can connect to it and access files stored on it simultaneously. Thus a family on the go could use it to beam movies or songs to all the kids' smartphones or tablets. The Wireless Stick supports up to 3 connections at one go.

The SanDisk Wireless Connect Stick is available in 16, 32, 64 and 128 GB versions with prices ranging from ₹2,790 to ₹9,490. It is the ideal device to have in your backpack if you've ever found yourself looking for a way to seamlessly access content from multiple devices of different form factors running on different platforms.