Review: SanDisk iXpand Mini is a useful accessory for iPhone and iPad users
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If you bought an Apple iPhone, with 32GB storage, some time ago, you might be facing storage issues now. You were perhaps quite chuffed with your new acquisition at the time, until it started filling up with photos, downloaded music, some Netflix and Amazon Prime content saved offline and all the apps you downloaded over time. Now, you are struggling to even update the iPhone to the latest iOS version, because there isn’t enough storage space on the device. What do you do?
The basic premise
This is a hurdle many iOS device users face, regularly, particularly those who buy the entry spec variants, with limited storage. But that is where SanDisk’s iXpand Mini flash drive comes into the picture. Plug it, backup or access files, and remove.
Design—isn’t everything becoming smaller and lighter?
At first glance, you wouldn’t realize that isn’t exactly your conventional USB drive that you may otherwise use to share movies with your friends. But it is different. On one side is a traditional USB 3.0 connector, which will plug into your PC. On the other end is a Lightning Connector, which plugs into the iOS device. It is marginally smaller and thinner than last year’s edition of the iXpand Mini Flash Drive—also because it doesn’t have the twist mechanism on one side. The sleeker design is accentuated by the black and silver dual colour combination. It weighs just 4.5grams.
Simplicity is key
The idea behind the iXpand Mini Flash Drive is simple—to offer extra storage for your iPhone. And it isn’t complicated to use either. You will need to download the SanDisk iXpand Drive app (Free on App Store) and plug the drive into the iOS device. The app lets you set up the flash drive to backup contacts and other files from the iPhone or iPad. For as the photos and documents you back up on the flash drive, the app also has the option of deleting them automatically from the iOS device’s local storage, as soon as the backup is complete.
In terms of performance, the USB 3.0 capabilities at one end and the full utilization of the Lightning connector gives the iXpand Mini Flash Drive an undeniably breezy performance. Chances are that you won’t usually be transferring very large files on mobile devices, and this drive has more than enough power for transferring data to and fro within seconds—SanDisk claims the drive has theoretical read speeds as high as 70MB/s, but while these numbers are hard to achieve in most real-world use cases, it does not feel sluggish even while transferring multiple files to your mobile device.
But wait, there’s more
While we have established the iXpand Mini’s utility as an accessory that accentuates the storage on your iOS device and a neat little utility for critical data backups, there is one more important use case that we must not forget. And more than backups, we feel many users will buy this to be able to transfer files to and fro between the iOS devices and their Windows PCs. This will include photos, documents and movies. While it isn’t always very simple to move files between Windows and iOS, the iXpand Mini simplifies that. That is exactly why the app that you’ll install on the iOS devices is capable of handling multiple popular file formats, including .WMV, .AVI, .MKV, .MP4 and .MOV video formats.
Will it work with your iOS devices?
Chances are that it will. The drive is compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad mini 4, iPad Pro, iPad with Retina display and also the iPod (5th Generation).
Should you buy one?
If you are stuck with an iOS device that has 8GB, 16GB or 32GB internal storage space (and chances are that it is filling up fast), buying one of these iXpand Mini flash drives might make a lot of sense. It doesn’t come cheap though—the 16GB version costs Rs2,750, the 32GB version is priced at Rs3,650, the 64GB version will set you back by Rs4,850, while the top of the line 128GB storage option will carry a price tag of Rs7,050. Depending on how much external storage space you intend to use, you can take your pick from these options. You will surely get tremendous value for the money you spend, and not feel stifled if the storage space on your iPhone or iPad starts to run out.