As technology advances faster and faster, data keeps getting bigger and bigger. Even mobile devices such as smartphones and cameras have large storage requirements. High-definition video and pictures are taking more and more space, and carrying around bulky external drives and notebooks to off-load media is just not convenient compared to the standards of today.
Cloud storage is great, but the requirements are heavy and for many, costly. Furthermore many of these devices only serve a single purpose that makes them stand-out. Perhaps it is storage, perhaps it is streaming; in the end, the versatility is not there.
In response, Kingston have released the MobileLite Wireless Portable Card Reader. For $70 you get what is advertised as a handheld NAS unit – a video, picture, file, music, document, and internet/LAN streamer all-in-one. Of course we cannot forget about storage for which there can be an infinite amount due to the built-in USB and SD-card slots. The MobileLite seems like the perfect complement to storage-hungry mobile devices, and the perfect chaperon for travelling; only in testing shall we see if all these features hold true.
SPECIFICATIONS AND FINDINGS
These specifications are primarily for iOS, as we can see from only two compatible video formats. This does not mean however that the MobileLite cannot play or view other files; quite the contrary. The file-format support is based on your device, as the MobileLite will stream any file you store in it.
The five-hour battery life is not bad, but could be better. The range of expandable memory is exquisite, but it would have been appreciated had Kingston included an SD card or flash drive with the actual kit.
Keep in mind also that the USB headers are all USB 2.0. Considering that standard microUSB headers and cables do not come in USB 3.0, and that it is the method of communication between the MobileLite and external device, USB 3.0 would not be beneficial. Note the wireless-N compatibility – we will get to that later.
PACKAGING AND EXTERIOR
The Kingston MobileLite Wireless comes in a small box with product information on the front and the back, and a glimpse of what the device looks like. As we can see the MobileLite is compatible with iOS and Android, but there are ways around using it for other operating systems as we will explore a bit later.
Contents include the MobileLite Wireless of course, alongside a microUSB to USB cable, a microSD to SD card adapter, and warranty/installation documentation. Again the packaging does not include any expandable media, which is unfortunate considering the device does not have any built-in storage:
The device itself comes in a sleek matte-black and gray colour scheme. It has a nice smooth plastic exterior and is small enough so that it can be stored easily even in a pocket or purse. The front of the unit has three LEDs – power, wi-fi, and internet going from the left to right. These shine green, blue, and blue again respectively once links have been established:
For network devices we typically see IP information, or quick notes outlining how to configure the device and access it. Sadly this information is not found on the back, and neither is it in the documentation; hence we had to find it manually through the apps. There is also the lack of a grip surface – most notably rubberized feet to prevent slipping.