on July 29, 2011
I read the pre-release Engadget reviews of this device and pre-ordered the 32 GB Wi-Drive when available. It took 2 hours for a first-time complete battery charge via USB and mini-USB adapter. When I first connected to the computer, I saw that the drive was named KINGSTON, not WI-DRIVE, but it was easy to rename under either OS X or Windows 7. It took only 10 minutes to get things running. First, I loaded 10 full-movie video and 50 audio song files to test the device with 3 different iPads and turned the unit on by simply pushing the side button which has a green indicator light. Then go to your iPad/iPhone and download the free Apple Wi-Drive app, go to Network settings and select the WI-DRIVE network which is broadcast from the unit with blue indicator lights. There are no security settings by default so anyone nearby can connect to the drive. Open the Wi-Drive app and go to the setting button icon which you can set security WEP/WPA/WPA2 settings and complete your WiFi access point setup.
The app interface is just like using Dropbox or GoodReader and the menus are nicely designed. The audio and video files are listed on the left menu and simple to select. Now comes the great part, I used 3 different iPads to connect at the same time to the Wi-Drive and selected 3 different movies for each iPad and the movies ran perfectly without a single buffer hiccup. This problem plagues the Seagate GoFlex Satellite. I read comments by others who appear to be overly impressed by the 500GB storage which is functionally limited. The GoFlex menu is slow and does not permit sorting, drops connections and streaming video are choppy at times. The worst feature of the GoFlex is that it does not truly stream media, but rather sends a copy of the media file to your iDevice unlike the WiDrive which truly streams files allowing the user to maximize storage capacity. I just wanted a simple portable network device that will keep everyone in the car happy watching their own movies or listening to their own music. I was pleased to see that 3 different devices can access this portable WiFi network drive without any degradation of media streaming quality. Of course I wish we could have 64 GB or more storage, but 32 GB is fine for day trips and can still hold more than enough media files to satisfy everyone's preferences.
The next nice feature is the ability of the drive to connect to another WiFi network which you also configure in the setting button icon. For example, you're with the family at Starbucks and connect the Wi-Drive to the free Starbucks WiFi using the iOS app. The Wi-Drive reboots, connects to Starbucks network and now every one of your 3 other devices can access streaming media files on the Wi-Drive and also access the Internet using the Starbucks connection. Remember, you have to connect your device to the Wi-Drive network to use your files, but this network setting still allows you to retain internet access at the same time.
The drive is just a bit smaller than my iPhone 4 and very light. Unfortunately, the unit doesn't appear to work while plugged in to recharge. I was hoping that I could connect the device to a car outlet to continuously power the device on long trips since it is advertised to last only 4-5 hours on a single charge. Looks like you'll have to perform a complete recharge when it runs out which will take several hours using the provided adapter.
Summary - this is the best available portable media streaming network device for the iPad/iPhone which works well and simple to use with excellent streaming speeds. Definitely happy with my pre-order decision and suspect these units will sellout fast. Enjoy.
****** update 2 days later ******
I downgraded it to 4 stars after 2 days of use. File transfers are problem-free and easy to do remmebering that you can only use media files recognized by iOS (eg. mp4, m4v). Programs like Air Video Server are better for local networks allowing live conversion of all other media file types like avi and flv. So if you use other file types, you're stuck with having to use a conversion program which there are plenty available for free. Media streaming to multiple iOS devices works perfectly without any stutters. The main problem I see is the battery life which runs closer to 3 hours rather than 4 hours with constant streaming to more than one device. Contrary to other recent online reviews which makes me question whether some reviewers actually use their products, you CANNOT recharge this device with the miniUSB adapter while using the device. For example, if you have a long car trip, you will only have a little over 3 hours of use and then you'll have to recharge for a few hours using a USB car adpater or whatever else. The access point does not work while recharging. Some reviewers talk about using a plane adapter, but it still won't work while plugged in and I think it's a bad idea and just wrong to use this on a plane since this creates an unauthorized WiFi access point which may interfere with the plane electronics. I think it would be a major improvement if the AC adapter was permitted to continuously charge the lithium battery while in use allowing uninterrupted streaming. That would make it the ultimate traveling companion. Also, even with the 32 GB option space is limited and you will be forced to delete and add other files as time goes on which is a why a 64 GB SSD upgrade would be something I would be willing to pay extra.
*** update 8/12/2011 ***
Used this on 2 summer car trips and camping and the kids used this a lot. We had 3 iPads streaming 3 different movies from the WiDrive all at the same time without any stutters. Battery life seemed a bit better with average times of 3.5 - 4 hours in between charges. It works so well, that each of the kids now want their own personalized movie lists which is forcing me to constantly remove and upload movies to the WiDrive limited to only 32 GB (~ 25 movies encoded for iPad at medium quality settings). The perfect device would combine the functionality of the WiDrive with the space of the GoFlex Satellite. We have a 64GB iPad and 2 16GB iPads, and this fits our needs perfectly by serving as a portable media drive since the iPads are full of apps/photos/games/books/etc. The kids can keep all their games and not waste precious space with huge media files.
*** update 10/6/2011 (WiDrive vs GoFlex) ***
With price drop to $99 for 32GB WiDrive, went ahead and got another. Now I can setup movies/music for each of the kids and let them choose their own media libraries. This is a perfect easy way to upgrade a 16 GB iPad. Another option for those of you going on extended trips > 4 hours is to duplicate the drives so you can recharge one while the other transmits giving your audience continuous streaming (the WiDrive won't work while recharging).
Now for the biggest clarification - I also got the SeaGate GoFlex Satellite on sale. Another example that you can't always believe what you read (except for my review . . .) the GoFlex actually works pretty well and the app isn't that bad. It streamed video stutter-free contrary to many reviews that I read. The app has basic sorting capabilities. 500 GB storage is a big advantage. It also works while charging with the AC adapter, not the USB plug. For long travel, this is a better choice. However, it is bulky and heavy (feels like an oversized external hard drive - which it is . . . ). The WiDrive is much more portable and convenient. I actually like both and recent price drops make either drive a good buy for iPad and iPhone users. Which factors are more important to you will help decide between the WiDrive vs GoFlex Satellite - small, convenient, portable, limited space, max 4 hr runtime with no simultaneous charging VS large, bulky, capacious disk space, and simultaneous charging
*** 12/20/2011 (managing media files) ***
Thought it would help to give some advice about managing video files. The WiDrive is limited to iOS formats (i.e. mp4, mkv) and there are numerous options available to convert your video collections. HandBrake is freeware, well-supported and been around for a while which shows on its interface, but it gets the job done. There are lots of other alternatives from WonderShare, Aieesoft, Aimersoft,Snowfox, Tipard, WinX, etc. Check often at Giveawayoftheday.com for free, fully-functional, non-upgradable software packages. They frequently offer full-version disc transfer (sounds better than ripping), video conversion, disc burning, and video editing software. There's more flexibility with the GoFlex Satellite and they actually provide references to third-party freeware to view other video formats using their iOS application which work well enough. It's a pain having to convert your video files, but once you get the hang of it it's actually not that hard and you don't need the latest and greatest machine which only determines how fast the conversion process will take. Many of the software packages allow you to setup up batch file conversions which you can run overnight. Good luck.
*** 1/24/2012 (WiDrive streaming while recharging) ***
Thanks and all credit to Andrys (Kindleworld blog) who revealed a great charging tip. Turns out the WiDrive actually can work while recharging under certain circumstances. If you turn on the WiDrive first and let it establish the access point first (blue lights on), and then connect your USB cable/AC adapter, you'll notice that it keeps working while the charging light indicates the drive is recharging. It won't work if you connect the charging cable before activating the drive which is what I tried before receiving the tip from Andrys. It also won't work if you plug the USB into a computer/laptop (I assume it's not receiving enough current through the USB ports to support simultaneous recharging and WiFi signal generation). The next step is to try this in the car. Stay tuned . . .
*** 3/14/2012 ***
Works in our Acura MDX when plugged into the 115-V power outlet of the front power console using Andrys' tip.
*** 8/18/2012 (laptop streaming) ***
Here's a response to a few questions I received about simultaneously streaming media from the WiDrive to both iDevices and laptops. The trick is to take advantge of the network address the WiDrive assigns itself as 192.168.200.254 First, on your PC laptop select and connect to the WiDrive through your wireless network tool. Then open Firefox browser with Videolan VLC extensions installed (for some reason I keep having trouble getting this to work with Explorer, probably don't have the right extensions). Then type in 192.168.200.254 in the address box which should load the root directory of your WiDrive and you can navigate to your media folders through the browser and open your media file which should immediately start streaming. For your MacBook, same thing, connect to the WiDrive wireless ad hoc network and open Safari and enter 192.168.200.254. Note - I think the advantage of using PC browser with media extensions is that you can stream almost any media file type whereas it seems you are restricted to Apple video files using the MacBook.
*** 9/18/2012 ***
Still a big supporter of the WiDrive. The prices have really dropped, so picked up a third WiDrive (64 GB) for our trip to Europe which worked great and let the family take along their own personal libraries. I didn;t use it on the 11 hour plane ride, though it would have been nice. I hope the airlines and FAA will clarify issues for personal WiFi devices since it seems there's increasing reports that they are safe and pilots are already allowed to use their own iOS devices.
on February 27, 2012
I've had the Wi-Drive for about a month, and it was working great until last week. I never set up a password to access the drive, but my Kindle fire suddenly started asking me for a password to access it. This drive has never been outside the home, and no one else has ever had access to it (or my Kindle Fire). I've tried re-setting the drive, but that hasn't worked. I'm currently waiting for Kingston's customer service to reply back to me. If nothing works, I guess I will have to send the drive back.
Tech support responded by e-mail within 36 hours. The solution to this problem is to press the reset button, which is besides the power button. Use a straightened paperclip to press the button for 10 seconds. You may also have to turn the Kindle off and back on to reset everything. Everything working fine once again.
on January 20, 2012
For anyone who might want to add additional wireless storage for your Kindle Fire, the Kingston Wi-drive is a great option. It' tiny, about the size of a cell phone, super thin and light, and works great with the Wi-Drive app for the Kindle Fire.
I purchased the 32GB version. Would have liked a larger drive, but 32GB is much better than 8GB (more like 5.5GB for media) of onboard storage.
I hear that Kingston has a 64GB on the horizon in the near future. But $90 for a 32GB WIFI drive is very inexpensive, so it's easy to buy a few if you desire.
To use it's as simple as this...
1. Download the FREE Wi_Drive app from the Amazon app store
2. Connect WiDrive via USB from your computer and create folders, transfer files etc. on WiDrive
3. Find Wi-Drive on your WIFI network and connect
4. Watch or listen to media seamlessly. Works great
By default the Wi-Drive is set to be named Wi_drive and set to encryption to None.
If you desire you can launch the Wi_Drive app and go into the settings and name your drive whatever you like, as well as set security and encryption for added security.
BTW you can also transfer files from your Kindle Fire to Wi_Drive wirelessly if you desire.
I love my Kindle Fire, and with a few limitations, such as only 8GB of onboard storage with no additional storage options (no SD card slot or USB porting). But I'm finding more and more workarounds such as wireless hard drives like the Kingston Wi-Drive and networking apps such as Splashtop, ES File Explorer and the like are making the Kindle Fire much more serviceable and expandable without the need to root the tablet.
on April 27, 2012
UPDATE - After just four months of infrequent use, the Wi-Drive Wifi signal has stopped working. The device powers up, and is fine as a wired 32GB Hard Drive - but the Wifi Signal (and the Blue lights showing that it's on and active) no longer works (which of course makes it unusable for an iPad.
This is advertised as having a 1 year warranty - now we get to see what that's worth, and how much time and expense it takes for shipping on something that might be re-purchased new. I'm keeping this at 2 stars for now and will be happy to go back up to 5 if Kingston stands behind their products and doesn't charge shipping and handling costs comparable with re-purchasing this or a similar product new, now that the price has dropped.
UPDATE 2 - so far so good - although I have to pay for shipping back ($3 with confirmation delivery - not a big deal) Kingston seems willing to stand by their warranty and I assume I'll be getting a working unit back shortly
If you're like me you don't feel like wasting a lot of time syncing your iPad or being "tethered" to your home wireless network for music and videos. Constant syncing is a waste of time and energy, and with most iPads and iPhones having limited memory there's little space for loading music or videos onto it anyway.
Enter the Wi-Drive which gives you quick and easy wireless access to a 16-32 GB hard drive to add or change music, videos or other files. I didn't even need to bother to read the directions. Plug it in to your computer via USB and transfer music or video files (make sure the video files are compatible with the iPad - i.e. Mp4. There's even free and simple conversion programs you can download to make any video file compatible.)
Download the free Wi-Drive App, then turn on the Wi-Drive, make sure you've "connected" with the WiDrive in your Settings/Wifi, open the Wi-Drive application and you should see the hard drive there. There seems to be a range of at least 30 feet between the hard drive and the iPad or iPhone too!
Unlike your home wireless network you can take the iPhone size Wi-Drive with you wherever you go. Great for plane trips, car trips with kids - and multiple people can watch multiple movies at the same time. And you CAN keep this powered while using it - but the battery seems to easily last 4 hours which is plenty for my needs.
My only lament is that the price of wireless hard drives are still on the high side, but that may come down. I'd also prefer a MUCH bigger hard drive, but while there is one on the market it's much more expensive and doesn't seem to work as simply as this one.
For now 32 GB is fine for me, and hopefully by the time that's inadequate the price of other larger hard drives comes down - but for the small size, portability, simplicity and lower price, this one made the most sense for me.
on March 12, 2012
I bought a 32GB Wi Drive to expand the storage of my Kindle Fire, and it works great for this. (There is a free app in the App Store that goes with it). I was able to load several movies on it and watch them on my Fire easily, with barely a glance at the instructions. The signal the Wi drive put out was good and the video played smoothly. This will be great for travelling, when I don't have Wi-Fi access. Also, as a tip for Kindle Fire users, I sideloaded the MoboPlayer App and was able to watch almost any video format on my Fire, not just MP4.
on October 22, 2011
Reason for buying: I wanted a wi-drive so that I could share files with my friends and fellow students at college. I'm pretty sure Kingston is the first company to come up with this device in an efficient manner.
Unpacking: It's efficient because when I got it in the mail, I thought it would be the size of a large computer hard drive. Boy was I wrong! This thing has the exact same width and height as my iPhone and is much lighter. The edges were smooth which allows it to slide in and out of my pocket with ease.
Battery: It took about 3.5 hours to charge, which isn't really a bad thing (unless you plan on streaming movies with it). I haven't had to re-charge it yet and I've been using it on-and-off for a few days now. This works just fine for me since I just use it for frequent and quick data transfer.
Use: As soon as I plugged it into my Windows PC, it pops up just like a flash drive. I can drag and drop files into it. Why is that so great? Because I don't have to worry about it syncing like iTunes does every time I plug my phone in. I'm literally able to back up all of my phones pictures onto this device. Say I lose my iPhone...big deal! All my phone data can be safely stored on my wi-drive in my bookbag or pocket. In order to use the device, you switch the on-switch on and you download the app for your apple device and fire it up. It's quick and there are no cables, and nothing has to be plugged in. THAT is the joy of this device!
Downside: There isn't really a downside to this device other than the fact that you can't use it while it's charging. I'm sure Kingston may fix this eventually though. The reason I still gave it 5 stars is because you should be prepared for the device to run out of juice eventually. This isn't the fault of the device, it's the fault of the user for not scheduling a time to charge it up. But like I said, I haven't had an issue with battery life so far.
Great device Kingston, keep 'em rolling out!
on February 7, 2012
I have found that the Kingston Wi-Drive is fully compatible with Kindle Fire as well as the Iphone/Touch. Listed with the Wi-Drive is an android app for Wi-Drive that once loaded to Kindle Fire allows streaming of mp4 video from the Wi-Drive.
on November 20, 2011
In short, the Wi-Drive is a portable, wireless, memory extension for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad but the full reality of it is MUCH more exciting.
Kingston developed the Wi-Drive to solve the problem of data storage on Apple's i-devices.
There is no way to add memory to your iPhone, iPod or iPad, so when you've filled it up, you either have to delete some data or you're stuck. At least, you were until the Wi-Drive came along.
Wi-drive is a self-contained Wi-Fi router with either 16Gb or 32 Gb of storage built in. It's designed specifically to only link up with Apple iOS devices and they can then browse through its memory using a free app available on the app store.
It comes with all the usual Wi-Fi security and even includes what is called a bridge, allowing it to connect to your home or office wireless lan and thus share its internet connection.
Up to three devices can connect to it at any one time and all three can stream data from it concurrently. That means you can store movies or music on your Wi-drive and up to three devices can stream them off all at the same time.
That's not just the manufacturer's propoganda, it works. I've tried it.
You may not understand quite why I think this is so amazing, so let me explain how my family is going to use it.
Our family has between us one iPhone, two iPods and one iPad.
We all have our own music, apps and photo's on our devices and most of the devices are getting close to full.
That causes a problem when we go on long journeys because the kids all want to watch movies but none of the devices has enough spare storage space to store more than a movie or two.
We can load sixteen or more movies onto our 16Gb Wi-Drive though, throw it into the glove box and enjoy peace and quiet in the car whilst the kids all watch the movies they want on their own devices (through their headphones).
No more "I want to watch that movie but it's on the other iPod and she won't let me have it!", no more "I've watched the only movie on the iPad like a thousand times already, I don't want to watch it again."
Instead, we can have more movies available and they can all access them at the same time.
The Wi-drive has a battery life of four hours, supposedly. I can't confirm that because I always forget to keep track, but I do know that three devices can watch an entire movie and start, or even finish a second one on a single charge.
It can charge from a wall outlet or a USB port, so if you have one of those built in to your car, you can keep it running indefinitely whilst out and about.
I love this thing, I truly do. It's light, it's styled like an iPhone and even comes in a cool box that is very reminiscent of an iPhone box.
Kingston have hit the jackpot with this product. In my opinion, everyone should have one!
on December 27, 2012
This is a great item, especially when used with the "WI-Drive" App on the Kindle Fire (2nd gen, not HD). This works flawlessly.
I installed the WI-drive APP on my Kindle Fire (2nd gen, not HD), without problem. This item works flawlessly with the Wi-Drive APP (also at Amazon.com). The WI-drive app along with the Wi-Drive allows one to transfer, copy, or delete files between devices....IT ALSO allows one to RUN FILES (such as music, video, etc) DIRECTLY FROM THE Wi-Drive for use on your Kindle, PC, MP3, cellphone, etc...WITHOUT HAVING TO TRANSFER ANY DATA. So you can have music, video (documents, etc), STORED on the Wi-Drive WHILE VIEWING them on your Kindle, PC, MP3, cellphone. This is great if you don't want to take up additional memory on your device, but want the convenience of easy (anytime access) to your content, it's also great for back-up. (Some good sites for Public Domain items such as books, music, video, etc., in addition to Amazon, include : Gutenberg.org and Archive.org).
The Wi-Drive is a WiFi storage device (from 8 GB- 128GB), that can connect via USB to a PC, MP3, cellphone, etc. for charging &/or data transfer.......the Wi-Drive CAN ALSO DIRECTLY CONNECT TO a KINDLE, PC, mp3, cellphone, etc., via WiFi as the Wi-Drive is itself it's own WiFi source (so that if you turn on the Wi-Drive's OWN WiFi you can share data from 1-3 devices simultaneously without the need for a wifi router or hotspot, but also allows you to use it in Bridge Mode with a wifi router). For those of us who have complained about the Kindle's lack of expandable memory for easy data storage, the Wi-Drive (while a lot more expensive than a memory card), serves well. The Wi-Drive is a bit smaller (in size and weight) than a traditional cellphone. To use the Wi-Drive (which comes boxed with a Mini-to-USB power cord with a detachable USB-wall outlet adapter, and brief manual that can also be found at: [...], press the power button on the upper right side of the device (it will light, green is fully charged, yellow partially charged, red low charge), wait a moment until you see a small flashing blue light on the upper front of the Wi-Drive (that indicates that the WiFi is turned-on and is "active"), then use this App (of course first making sure that WiFi is also turned-on on your device/ Kindle, PC, cellphone, etc.). To charge the Wi-Drive plug a micro-USB into the Wi-Drive and the USB into a PC, or into a wall outlet as the Wi-Drive comes with a USB cord as well as the USB wall outlet adapter. The Wi-Drive evidently, can store any type of file, the manual indicates that IT CAN OPEN (without the need of a third party app) the following types of files: TXT, PDF, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4. The WI-drive User Manual also indicates that it can be used with Windows XP, Windows 7 (I'm running Win 7 64-bit Home Premium), Win 8, MAC, Linux and Android operating systems.
To use the Wi-Drive App with the Wi-Drive, touch the APP to open it (after you've first turned on the WiFi on the Wi-Drive and your Kindle (or PC, MP3,etc, and have verified that you are connected....on the Kindle Fire go to wireless settings > select "on" > under available networks you will see "Wi-Drive," after connecting the first time it will thereafter connect automatically when wifi is turned-on for both devices ).
On your Kindle (PC, Mp3, cellphone. etc), you will see on screen: two lines (1).. searching Wi-drive (that will quickly change to "Wi-Drive") and (2).."Local Storage" (on your Kindle, Pc, Mp3, etc). to view files on the Wi-Drive tap the line that says "Wi-Drive". To view files on your Kindle, PC, MP3, etc Tap "Local Storage". IMPORTANT: to do anything with the files you have found (on the Wi-Drive, or Kindle, etc) you MUST PRESS AND HOLD THE FILE SELECTED UNTIL A SUB-MENU APPEARS ON SCREEN, as that will be the only way to transfer, copy, or delete files (unless the Wi-Drive is connected to a PC via USB). WHEN THE SUB-MENU APPEARS JUST SELECT THE DESIRED ACTION an continue to use this app to deal with the files as desired.
For example, to play a video that you've stored on the Wi-Drive: select "Wi-Drive" (not Local Storage), browse to the desired file and then tap/touch the file...if you tap it, it will start playing using your Kindle's default application, if you touch it for a moment or two, you will have the option to copy or transfer it into your Kindle's Local Storage. This works for PDF, EPUB, Txt, Mp3, picture files etc. If you have created a drawing, document, etc on your Kindle....select "Local Storage" > browse to the desired file > tap & hold the selected file > select the desired action (e.g., "Copy To") > if you've selected "copy to" as the desired action then > go to "Wi-Drive" (instead of "Local Storage") and > select the folder (if any) where you want to store the document, book, drawing, etc.
While I like the "ES File Explore" APP for generally browsing files, Just REMEMBER TO CARRY OUT FILE EXPLORATION, such as copy, transfer FROM WITHIN THE WI-DRIVE APP. It's really rather straightforward once you've used it a couple of times. And frankly, once you've have used it a few times you might find yourself acknowledging (as I did) how easy it is to use, despite any initial trepidations.
on January 27, 2012
With only about 5.5 gb of space on the Kindle Fire for music, movies, photos and software, this is a MUST HAVE. The Kingston Wi Drive gives you an extra 32 gb of space to play with. I use it for movies only. I can put about 25 movies on it at one time with 1 gb or so leftover.
It is easy to setup and once you do all you have to do is turn it on and the Kindle Fire automaticaly see it and it's up and streaming within 30 seconds.
It has great range, I took it to work and went around my building (over 100 ft) before it lost a signal.
The unit itself is soooo lightweight. If you put it in your shirt pocket, in a few seconds you would forget it was there.
I haven't really found a con for this (1st day playing with it) and don't expect any.
You will also need to download the "WI DRIVE APP" to us it. Don't worry this APP is FREE.
Like I said before this is a "MUST HAVE" if you have a Kindle Fire!