Six Battery-Powered Wireless Storage Devices, Reviewed

Kingston MobileLite Wireless

Weighing in at a mere 3 ½ ounces and measuring 4.9” x 2.4” x 0.7”, Kingston's MobileLite Wireless truly deserves its name. Together with PQI's Air Drive and SanDisk's Connect Wireless Flash Drive, it is one of the lightest and smallest devices in our round-up. Not surprisingly, none of those three products sport storage inside. Instead, they're all mobile card readers.

The MobileLite Wireless offers a USB 2.0 port and an SD card slot that also accommodates SDHC, SDXC, and microSD media. You don't get wired Ethernet, but there is an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi controller built-in.

Unlike the Voyager Air, Kingston's MobileLite Wireless is not meant to be a general sharing device for any sort of client. Rather, it primarily targets smartphones and tablets. The $50 piece of hardware can also use its 6500 mAh battery to charge mobile components, which comes in handy when you're running low on juice and it's not possible to plug in to a wall outlet. Operating on battery power, expect it to last about five hours.

The MobileLite Wireless can become a WPA2-protected Wi-Fi hotspot. Plug in a thumb drive or SD card in networked mode and that storage becomes accessible wirelessly. This lets you transfer pictures you just took on your smartphone, for example, onto flash media, freeing space up for other purposes. Or, you can access the flash media from your phone and, say, upload a saved image to Facebook. It's even possible to copy data between an SD card and USB stick.

Kingston's submission to our round-up can simultaneously stream photos, music files, or movies to up to three users. You don't have to navigate directories to find the file you're looking for, either. Rather, the MobileLite Wireless scans them for you and offers all audio, video, and image data in a corresponding menu. Measured wireless performance of 5.1 MB/s isn't particularly impressive, though it's faster than Corsair's Voyager Air. What matters most is that all of the video content we played was smooth, without stuttering.

Kingston's MobileLite Wireless truly deserves it's name, weighing in at a mere 3 ½ ounces and measuring 4.9” x 2.4” x 0.7”. It is a mobile card reader, with no internal storage. It offers a USB 2.0 port and an SD card slot that also accommodates SDHC, SDXC, and microSD media. You don't get wired Ethernet, but there is an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi controller built-in. The product primarily targets smartphones and tablets. Its 6500 mAh battery can charge mobile components, and the device can become a WPA2-protected Wi-Fi hotspot.

Getting the most out of Kingston's reader necessitates installing the MobileLite Wireless app from either Google's Play Store or Apple's App Store. Using the software, you can upload to and download from storage attached to the MobileLite Wireless, or change its configuration settings (network parameters, for example).

Alternatively, you can use the MobileLite Wireless as a conventional USB drive. Just be sure to power it down first. We observed transfer rates as fast as 21 MB/s over a USB 2.0 cable, which is pretty typical for the second-gen interface.

  • blackmagnum
    All these devices are undeniably beneficial but their functions already built into modern smart phones and tablets so they are somewhat redundant.
  • Snipergod87
    I have never seen the point of these devices.
  • wffurr
    I don't get the point of using them as a wifi hotspot when connected to wired ethernet. I haven't had access to a wired network without a wifi access point at any point in the last ten years.

    I can see the utility of the wifi hardware for peer-to-peer connections ala AirDrop, but I didn't see that mentioned as a feature on these.
  • Bernie Fresh
    As an owner of a non-reviewed Adata Dashdrive Air ae800, and avid adult film collector. I think of this these products as the modern version of the closet "shoebox". Have something to hide, but still want to use? company computer? wife's laptop? Just a quick flick of the wrist...and youve got access to all those warm fuzzy ish feelings.
    Buy the 500gb models and wash your hands.
  • Traciatim
    Where's the iUSBPort and iUSBport Mini in this test?
  • PEJUman
    i have the kingston mobilelite, and it's nice device for portable movie hub, with 2 toddlers: 2 ipads, 1 iphone and 2 androids, it simplify my uploading/downloading requirements. Instead of uploading the same file to 5 devices, and wasting 5x the storage by storing the file in each device, I simply upload it to the 64GB SD card.

    very useful for in the car/when traveling, each devices connects automatically, the kids even learned how to find & navigate the apps on their own.

    Then I simply take the device with me when get to the destination (i.e. mall/park/etc), and they can resume watching while eating lunch, resting, etc.

    I think these are aimed at multi-user families.
  • Pyree
    13161818 said:
    I have never seen the point of these devices.

    I have a NextAV D100 wifi drive (not reviewed here). I can tell you it is quite handy when you travel. 1. The battery can charge your phone. 2. You can carry a lot of movies and music so you can watch and listen for long trip. 3. Backup photos and videos. The drive I have has a SD card slot and a USB port. The storage of the drive is provided by the SD card you slot into the wifi device. The USB port is where you plug in to charge your phone and where you can plug a HDD so you can backup things from the SD card from your camera or camcorder into a HDD.
  • rwinches
    These devices are good if you have a phone or tablet or MS surface that has no SD slot.
  • rbagany
    @ Bernie Fresh: dude, TMI... "avid adult film collector", "flick of the wrist", "wash your hands"