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SanDisk Media Drive

SanDisk Flash Drive


10 January 2014

The $59.99 32-GB SanDisk Flash Drive is the least expensive of the three options in this review. It functions like any other thumbdrive but adds a WiFi radio to provide external storage to your mobile devices.

A 16-GB version and a 64-GB version are also available with storage provided by microSD cards. The 16/32-GB versions use different firmware than the 64-GB version.

SanDisk provides a nice comparison chart comparing its two SanDisk Connect products, the Flash Drive reviewed here and the Media Drive.

The thumbdrive styled Flash Drive is 3.11 inches long with a sliding cap that protects the USB connector. The cap is wide enough to also function as a stand for the drive when you are using it remotely.

There is a built-in eyelet in one corner so you can attach a lanyard but none is provided.

An almost invisible rubber door protects the microSD card port.

The silver button turns on WiFi. Hold it in until you see both the amber and blue LEDs flash three times to activate WiFi. To turn off WiFi, hold the button in until the blue LED goes out.

The LEDs provide clues to what the unit is doing, indicating, WiFi activity, data transfers, battery charging status and more.

The unit also functions just like any other thumbdrive, though. Plug it into a USB port on your computer and it will mount as a removable drive so you can copy to and from it. But no WiFi will be available.

IN THE BOX | Back to Contents

"Flash Drive. With microSD card revealed.

Included in the box are:

  • The SanDisk Flash Drive
  • MicroSD memory card
  • Quick Start Guide
  • One-year limited warranty

On its Web site, SanDisk offers a User Manual for iOS and Android devices. It also provides a useful series of short video tutorials on the Support Page, which are also available on the included microSD card.

FEATURES | Back to Contents

Flash Drive highlights include:

  • Stream up to three simultaneous media streams to up to eight devices
  • Up to four hours of wireless
  • microSD card storage in a thumbdrive housing with a USB 2.0 interface
  • 150-foot WiFi connectivity with WPA2 password protection

Video. One of the tutorials.

On its support pages SanDisk seems to imply the Flash Drive can't stream HD video. The HD tutorials played fine, though, and so did a few of our own HD videos, including our recent wedding video (which looked better on the iPad than it did on our HDTV).

The Flash Drive does provide a bridge mode to allow Internet access from your normal router. Unlike the other devices we tested, the Flash Drive bridged to our faster Wireless N network.

We've named our networks differently but it's hard to tell which one the devices are bridging to. We'll look at this a little more closely before wrapping things up. But the app did report our preferred network was our faster Wireless N network by name.


First, turn on the Drive Drive's WiFi until the LEDs indicate it's functioning.

Then, as with the other wireless storage devices, you must go to your wireless device's Setup menu and switch from your normal WiFi router to the storage device.

Once you've connected to the storage device, you can run its app to enable Bridge mode. In the Flash Drive app look for the Internet Connection in the Settings menu. We were surprised to be able to access our Wireless N network.

App Interface. Blue gear icon is Setup.

Settings. Note the Power Saver Timer.

That's also where you would set up a password for the device.

It's also where you can set a timeout up to an hour for the power saver. Beware of setting this too low.

Web Interface. Not very appealing.

You can also access the Flash Drive from a computer using your browser by first selecting the Flash Drive as your wireless connection and then using the URL to see the drive contents.

Just for fun, we tried various other URLs to access the Flash Drive from our browser but none of them worked. What did work, however, was the officially sanctioned one from SanDisk.

You can, of course, also access the device as a thumbdrive plugged into a USB port on your computer. And that's a lot more funtional than looking at it through a browser.

FLASH DRIVE APP | Back to Contents

We thought the Flash Drive app might resemble the Media Drive app since they're both from SanDisk, but that wasn't the case. It's a different experience.

Contents. Shown as folders.

PDF. Viewing a PDF.

Images. Thumbnails with a display.

Full Screen. But no slide show.

The app did provide the same basic services and we relied on it to transfer text documents we'd composed on an iPad to our working computers.

Photo display was pretty rudimentary with no slideshow like the Media Drive app. There are also no image editing functions.

But, frankly, we didn't have any trouble access media on the Flash Drive or streaming video. And that's the game.

EVALUATION | Back to Contents

The Flash Drive was our favorite wireless storage option when we began our testing because it just worked. The familiar thumbdrive format was easy to use and it was simple enough to turn on the WiFi function and share files.

But we tested over a period of months, during which time a number of firmware and software updates were issued, evening things out quite a bit.

But we still like the Flash Drive for basic WiFi file sharing. We might feel differently if we wanted to stream movies to five kids on a long road trip but for expanding limited mobile storage, it's a winner.

(Editor's Note: This is the fourth of a five-part series on wireless storage. Links to the other stories are in the main table of contents at the top right of each story.)

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