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Reviewed: SanDisk 32GB Wireless WS4 Wireless Flash Drive

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Shawn Baker
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sandisk connect teaserSanDisk wants to invent something new with the Connect Wireless Flash Memory Stick. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard a company want to be so ambitious. With the 32 GB wireless USB stick in hand, let’s find out just how it goes.

For as long as many of us can remember the 3.5” disk was the best way to transfer small amounts of data. As data got larger, though, the usage of the 3.5” drive became more and more insignificant. According to SanDisk the humble USB stick has room for improvement. While SanDisk attacked the speed side of things with the Extreme 500, today they’re looking at the mobile market with its WLAN drive. In terms of pricing, the entry level 32GB version we have on hand comes in at just under $35. Those needing a bit more storage can opt for the $89.99 128GB version.

Practical use

At first glance the Connect Wireless Stick looks fairly normal, albeit, somewhat oversized. Optically the USB stick is pleasing with a honeycomb look on top. Overall workmanship is fine. The transition between the front and the rest of the cause could, however, be somewhat cleaner.

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SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick

With the press of a small power button a tiny white LED flashes and the stick comes to life as it’s switched on and ready for operation. However, before you get up and running you must have the Connect-Drive App that can be had from the Apple AppStore or Google Play Store. Then, a direct connection can be made with the drive.

The app turns out to be clear and easy to use, at least the iOS version we tested. However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the normal array of restrictions are imposed by Apple when it comes to file support. Files like photos can be transferred with ease helping free up space on your phone of choice. Transferring data from your phone can be done manually or automatically if you like. The latter is done by searching the internal memory and transferring the appropriate files. Transferring to your phone on the other hand can only be done manually.

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SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick

If you export the data, however, it should be noted that the transfer rates over the wireless path aren’t exactly fast. In our tests, we measured about 3 MB/s. For those wanting to transfer some photos off their phone it’s perfectly fine. Those wanting to fill up the 32GB drive in one foul swoop on the other hand are going to need some patience. Transfer performance to your PC isn’t exactly fast either as SanDisk rely on the older USB 2.0 standard.

With the transfer rate in mind it’s safe to assume that copying over large movies would be quite the task. However, the ability to stream from the device is a lot more useful as it prevents the need to tie up GBs of space on your mobile or tablet when going on long trips.

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SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick

The batteries are the nemesis of the Wireless Stick Connect. Those wanting to transfer large amounts of data are going to want to use the drive in a more traditional manner plugged into your PC. If this isn’t possible, the device should at least be plugged into power. Those wanting to stream movies can know that the device works without any problems in battery mode.

Conclusion

The SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick is one thing: simple. If the app is installed and your smartphone is connected wireless to the device, the most important task has already been done. After that it’s perfectly possible to have the data automatically synchronize in the background. Of course, you’ve also got the option to manually transfer data if you like. Ultimately, the SanDisk app is both simple and intuitive. As long as you’re not backing up too much data, using the battery is perfectly fine. For extended transfer sessions, though, you’ll want to get some power to the device.

Fortunately, when it comes to streaming movies the battery works perfectly fine. Returning to our introductory theme. Did SanDisk invent something new in the flash drive market? No, certainly not. But those who are looking for a way to expand the storage capacity of their smartphone or tablet should certainly take a look at what SanDisk is offering.