One of my biggest battles with Apple devices is storage space. I feel like every time I need to install a new app, I have to find several unused apps to delete first. At one point I couldn’t even save a photo on my phone because there wasn’t enough space available on the device. Hey, it isn’t my fault Apple has an awkward, backwards process for managing data. Luckily there is help.
The SanDisk iXpand looks like a fat, squat flash drive and that is pretty much what it is. Except it has an iOS app and a lightning connector that allows you to connect it to your iDevice and use it as storage space. The compact shape and soft, pliable arm that the lightning connector is in means you can almost hide the device under your phone while you either watch a few movies or do your backups.
Everything happens through the app, which could use a bit of tweaking. While watching movies on the iXpand is relatively easy and painless (the primary use of this device, I am sure), it can’t handle any file bigger than 4GB, so your longer HD movies will need to be split or recoded at a lower resolution. It’s a small hiccup though, when compared to the image viewer of the app. You can’t pinch to zoom, making it a less than optimal place to store extra images for viewing purposes.
Luckily as a backup tool it works wonders. Tell the device to backup your camera roll (you can even delete your camera roll afterwards) and wait a while for all the pictures to copy across. You can pause the backup to continue later, handy if you have to rush off to a meeting or want to do something else with your lightning port. This feature is pretty useful seeing as the device takes a fair amount of time to copy images and files. This isn’t something you use when you are in a rush or have a lot of data to move in one go. The iXpand is available in 16, 32 and 64GB capacities, which is a lot of space if you look at how much you have crammed into a 16GB iPhone.
It can also make a backup of your phone contacts, which it saves as Vcards that you can add to your PC’s contact book. Really handy if you keep losing contacts due to upgrades, loss of phone or any other reason (it has happened to me more times than I really want to admit to).
The device has its own battery, to make sure you don’t tap into the reserves of your already taxed devices. If it goes flat the device will draw power from your iDevice, which is pretty handy as I was rather worried about the longevity of the battery in the device. I have been told that the device has a 5-year warranty on the battery, which makes me feel a lot better about the quality of it. I had flashbacks to my first USB MP3 player, which eventually had zero battery life at all.
Depending in your usage case for the device, the iXpand could be a very handle travel companion. Load up some movies before you head off and suddenly your trip is better. I can see a few iPhone camera trigger happy people needing something like this, especially if you are not near a cheap, fast source of internet. If you are a frequent data mover, you might find the speed too sluggish for you liking. Now I am just worried that Apple ditches the lightning connector with their next line of phones. They have a nasty habit of changing things that work just fine.