iXpand Mini

Review: SanDisk’s iXpand Mini is a good flash drive for your iPhone / iPad

One of the very attractive features on several smartphones with the Android system is the possibility of expanding the device’s storage with the help of a microSD card. This certainly helps a lot when space to store files (which are getting bigger and bigger) is scarce – in addition to the card allowing a faster transfer and access to files on other devices, just put the file in the microSD and access it on computers and other devices that have the input.

On the iPhone, however, this type of interaction is impossible (at least through microSD cards), since Apple devices do not have this input. However, accessing and transferring files has become a much easier task with the pendrive iXpand Mini, from SanDisk.

iXpand Mini

Launched in Brazil by Western Digital, the new version of the iXpand Mini pendrive allows you to store and access any and all types of files, and reproduce everything on different devices (through the USB 3.0 connector) and, mainly, on your iPhone or iPad (through Lightning connector).

The iXpand Mini has 16GB versions (the one we tested), 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. It is compatible with iPhones 5 (or higher), iPad Air and mini (or higher), and iPod touch 5th generation (or higher) running minimally on iOS 8.2. On computers, it works well from Windows Vista or macOS 10.8.

As soon as you connect the iXpand for the first time to an iPhone / iPad, a message popup appears asking you to allow the device to be used; by allowing, you are redirected to a page on the App Store with a list of all apps that support the USB stick. The way files are accessed from your iGadget is by the SanDisk iXpand Drive application, which is very intuitive.


SanDisk iXpand ™ Drive app icon

On the app’s home screen, you already see several tips of what you can do with it: access folders and files from both your USB stick and your iPhone / iPad – so you can transfer files from one to the other; it is also possible to play videos, images and even audios, with the right to browse songs, album, artist and even create playlists in the app itself.

In addition, you can also take photos or videos directly from the app and save them to the USB stick, without worrying about storing your iPhone – great for on-call photographers. Or, you can choose to automatically back up the Camera Roll directly to the iXpand. The app also shows the storage of your device side by side with that of the pendrive right on the home screen, facilitating the monitoring of both.

Being a normal USB stick, it works well with the USB 3.0 connector on several computers, as well as on radios and TVs (however, media playback will depend on the type of format supported by the device). On the iXpand connected to an iPhone / iPad, it can play videos in WMV, AVI, MKV, MP4, RMVB and MOV.

Both videos and photos can be played on an Apple TV, through AirPlay, and even on Android-based devices, such as Amazon’s Chromecast or Fire TV Stick. However, in my tests, the videos got stuck here and there. Among other supported files, the app allows you to view PDFs and even presentations of slides in PPT, however it is shown as a PDF (without animations).

Backup options don’t just stop at the Camera Roll, as I said above; it is also possible to save all the contacts on the device, so that you have all the data in a safe place. The app also allows the user to connect to Facebook, Instagram and Picasa, and back up the photos / videos of the networks (requires good connection).

The highlight of the iXpand Mini, in addition to playing and accessing, is certainly the ability to copy files quite easily – from iXpand to iGadget or vice versa. It’s a hand in the wheel even to share files between iPhones / iPads (that is, if everyone has the app installed). You can also send information and files from other applications directly to iXpand, with a shortcut that exists on the iOS sharing tab.

Overall, the iXpand Mini is a really great option for anyone looking for a practical, quick and easy way to transfer files to and from iGadgets. It will also certainly help those who are concerned about over-storing devices.

The caveats

Externally, as we can see from the image that illustrates the post, the pendrive has a beautiful design (plastic and aluminum in a compact unit).

Some minor caveats need to be made here, however: there is a small cover protecting the Lightning connector, which is great; but care must be taken not to lose it, since it is tiny. Something I noticed, when testing the pendrive, is that it also gets very hot when it is being accessed by a computer. Therefore, prefer to hold it by the plastic side when removing it from the machine to avoid touching the (hot) aluminum part.

iXpand Mini

The Lightning connector is very small and covered with plastic. So, any movement stronger than normal can end up damaging the pendrive, causing it to stop working. Therefore, there is little care – even if the product has a two-year warranty.

Where to buy?

The iXpand Mini is available for purchase – starting at R $ 159 – in several stores, including Americanas.com, Casas Bahia, Extra.com, Pontofrio, Submarino and Walmart.

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