Wi in the Sky

I remember preparing for a flight to Los Angeles in the late ’90s. I was packing my carry-on and laboring over what books to bring. I didn’t want to carry more than two. Then I packed my portable DVD player. I also packed an extra-bulky battery because the one that the DVD player came with only lasted 2 hours. Finally, I threw in a pile of magazines. All of that made my carry-on bag very heavy.

Luckily, technology pressed on, and here I am today with my trusty iPad. I have all my movies, e-books, and even my favorite articles on Readability. I should have no complaints. The problem is, the more I get, the more I want. So as I was packing for a 3-city, 10-day trip recently, I had my iPad plugged in to my computer, and realized it was already full with all of the movies I wanted. I had just gotten the second season of Showtime’s Episodes, starring Matt LeBlanc, so if I wanted to add that, I would have to remove a bunch of other things to make room. But what if I didn’t like that season after I had started watching it? I would have gotten rid of some other great stuff that I really wanted to see. And now I’m stuck up in the air! Oh, such problems.

Like me, lovers of iPads, iPhones, Androids, and every other portable device have long complained that they wish they had some external storage since there are no inputs for a thumbnail drive on these devices. The Kingston Wi-Drive ($80) seems to have solved that issue.

The Wi-Drive comes in a shiny, sleek black case and is about the size of a very slim iPod. It comes in 16 or 32 GB and is very easy to set up. It’s got a simple-to-navigate interface. You get icons for movies, books, and photos. Loading material on the Wi-Drive is quick and simple. The drive shows up as an icon on your desktop. Simply drag movies or photos to the drive, and you’re ready to go.

You’ll need to download an app on your device. Turn on the Wi-Drive, and it shows up under your Wi-Fi devices. After connecting, open the app, and you’re good to go. I was watching a movie off the Wi-Drive in seconds, and it streamed flawlessly. You are essentially upgrading the storage on your device for a fraction of what it would have cost you up front.

One feature I love is that it allows for up to three users at once, so your kids could share it in the back seat for that long vacation drive. It supports most formats, and the battery life is somewhere in the 4-hour range. It also comes with a 1-year warranty. That probably sounds like it should be typical, but I find more and more companies offering less support, like 3 months, so that goes a long way with me.

Yes, we are all getting spoiled. It wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t even have these devices, and now we want more from them every day. With so many choices out there, I find it harder and harder to decide what I want at my fingertips. With the Wi-Drive, my decisions are a little easier.