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Wireless Storage Solutions for iPad

Some of you may feel that 64GB integrated storage on iPad, is not enough to carry all your media files. You may feel get frustrated when you find out there is no easy way to attach your USB drives which stores all your media. Many accessories manufacturer saw this as an opportunity and came out with different kind of storage devices to address this. Most of them are costly but very useful for a traveler.

Seagate GoFlex Satellite Mobile Wireless Storage

This is discussed in my articles a couple of times but I want to bring to your attention again since there was a major firmware upgrade early this month. This upgrade enhanced its capabilities on supported file formats and addressed a major drawback of loss of internet connectivity in iPad while connected to Satellite. This was discussed in length on the cyber circuit. So Seagate took pains to reconnect to any Wi-Fi network after establishing connection with Satellite storage giving us uninterrupted Internet connectivity while watching your movies in your wireless storage.

Seagate GoFlex Satellite is a 500GB mobile wireless storage which can be connected to iPad/ iPhones/ Mac or Android phones / Windows Laptop which are W-Fi enabled. It looks similar to other GoFlex portable HDDs from Seagate with small power button on one side. Just like other GoFlex devices from Seagate it has user replaceable

It comes with 500GB storage and can be used for sharing media files (Video / Audio / Photos) and documents (PDF, ePub / Mobi / Chm etc...). It has a built-in battery life of 5 hours or 25 hours of standby. Its Wi-Fi supports g/n and has a range of 30 ft. which directly connects with your Wi-Fi device (in adhoc mode) and stream media using an app with full functionality or a browser with limited functionality. For iPad or iPhone you can download GoFlex media, free apps from iTunes stores and connect it to Satellite Mobile storage. Goflex Satellite can connect up to 3 devices to so while on the road your entire family can share media from a single satellite which will be charged using the car charger provided. The car charger which comes with the package can also be used for charging your iPad or iPhone with suitable cable.

How does it work?

First you need to transfer the content you want to carry from your computer to GoFlex Satellite storage using a USB interface. You need to remove the side flap and attach the USB 3.0 USM adaptor supplied to the device as shown below and connect it to the USB port of computer. Just treat it as an external HDD while transferring files - you can drag drop files. Once the transfer is over, disconnect the USB USM adaptor and put back the flap cover. Charge the Satellite using the power adaptor supplied. Now you are ready to go. Put on the Wi-Fi and connect your iPad (or any other device) directly to the Satellite, no need for Wi-Fi routers.

Once it is connected to the iPad/ iPhone, open the media application (GoFlex Media) and you will get a set of menus from which you can access all the media contents and Documents. It can play only iOS supported formats like MP4, MPEG-4, and H.264. It will not support MKV or DivX but there is way out. You can use the built-in browser of any media player (ex: Oplayer) using the URL : goflexsatellite.com to access these media files but with some limitations on performance.

The following picture shows menus given by GoFlex Media apps. The media files will be shown as thumb nails and can be played by clicking on any of them. Most of them are played directly within the apps, almost seamlessly the Apple supported formats. But for playing .divx and .Mkv you need to either convert these files to MP4 using third party programs like handbrake (handbrake.fr/) or open it within the media player which supports web access (ex: OPlayer) . The browser based players can handle only low bit rate videos and it is almost useless when it comes to HD videos. It is better to copy the movie from your collection to the iPad and play it using AV

Documents in ePub or Mob or PDF can be “open in” iBook / Kindle or any other supported reader.

There are a couple of drawbacks with the present solution of Goflex Satellite. Once it is connected you cannot access Internet since it uses a private network. One of the biggest irritant is that it cannot play .mkv or .divX files. I bought it for Rs. 11800 from Bangalore.

  1. Large Storage 500GB
  2. Easy to setup and use
  3. Good GUI for Goflex Media Apps
  4. Good Battery Life, enhanced the battery life with latest firmware upgrade by copying the movie locally while watching instead of fetching it from the wireless storage continuously.
  1. Cannot play .mkv and .divx video files within the Goflex apps

Kingston Wi-Drive

Kingston Wi-drive offers a similar solution, the main difference is that Wi-drive is flash based, so it has much smaller footprint, similar to an iPhone 4. But it comes with 16GB / 32GB of storage which is far less than that of Seagate Satellite’s 500GB. But surprisingly, apart from smaller size it does not take advantage of any other good attributes of a flash drive. In fact with USB 2.0 interface the data transfer speed is less than that of Seagate Satellite which is equipped with USB 3.0. Again it cannot boast of better battery life owe to its thin battery (some reviewers reported differently). With a price tag of $175/- for 32GB, it is much more costly per GB compared to even iPad internal flash storage. So Wi-Drive is meant for those who made the mistake of buying 16GB iPad instead of a 64GB iPad!

Wi-Drive comes with Mini USB connector to transfer the data from a PC or MAC. It GUI is really basic not comparable with Goflex Media apps. Wi-Drive also acts as a network bridge to extend the internet connectivity like Seagate Satellite wireless storage.

Over all I do not recommend this over Seagate Satellite which is a far more useful device for the price we pay.


Airstash is a very versatile device which comes in two models A01 and A02. A02 is newer model and smaller, so I will restrict the discussion to A02. It can be fitted into your pocket (3.6”X1.2”X0.5”) and can be used as a wireless storage device for streaming your media to iPad (or any other Wi-Fi devices) and can store up to 32GB SD card.
  1. Supports up to 32GB SD card
  2. Streaming media files using Wi-Fi (adhoc mode no need for Wi-Fi router support)
  3. Supports documents sharing among users (up to 5) wirelessly
  4. It uses standard USB for charging the battery and file transfer
  5. Supports 7 hours of continuous operation
Photos can be shared from camera to iPad using SD card directly used with Airstash. No need to buy separate camera connector for transferring photos.

“AirStash brings together the portability of a standard USB flash drive, the flexibility of SD flash media, the power of a media streamer, and the extreme convenience of 2-way wireless file transfer--all in one compact device. It utilizes a standard USB connection, so there's no need to carry around a special cable or power adapter to use or recharge the drive. SD card support offers virtually limitless expandability, as well as the capability to exchange files and media with millions of existing SD-card based products. AirStash brings standard SD/SDHC and microSD/SDHC cards to the iOS devices for convenient, hot-swappable access to flash cards on-the-go. Download photos to the gallery with one tap and use your favorite apps to edit and upload. This act as a Wi-Fi access point to storage devices and connect to your iPad wirelessly”

Share documents wirelessly between iOS devices using Airstash

One thing you should keep in mind that these devices works on Wi-Fi and may not be allowed to use in a flight. But you can happily use it while travelling in train or car