The PQI Air Drive is a portable storage device the size of a credit card (and a bit thicker) that enables up to five people to connect and stream live music, movies or photos from the drive to their portable devices simultaneously. Unlike traditional storage devices that uses on fixed memory to store your files, the Air Drives only source of storage is an SD card (or in our case microSD card) up to a maximum capacity of 32GB and can be purchased with different capacity cards included.
Things we like about the drive, in addition to its incredible small size, are that the USB 2.0 connection to your computer doesn’t require an external cord plug in; the drive itself houses the connector within. In addtion, having the PQ Air Drive rely on only external SD/microSD card storage really makes this drive much more versaile while at the same time maintaining a decent price point. It allows those with absolute massive media collections to swap cards whenever they like, rather than having to delete content to make room for new content.
In addition, the drive opens a new door to those media professionals that have the need to stream media, such as photos, soon after they taken. Simply move the card from your camera to the PQI Air Drive and you have instant access to the files for up to five people. A bit of a heads up, however, that anyone wishing to stream from the Air Drive must first download the appropriate PQI Air Drive FREE software application that, at least for our Android based Samsung Galaxy Note II, was called PQI S+.
In checking Amazon, we see that the Air Drive is available in pre-configured capacities of 4/8GB, 16GB and 32GB with the SD card included. Our sample product included with a 4GB SD card although we are seeing 8GB as the standard on e-tail sites for the basic model.
The Air Drive is constructed of a solid aluminum construction and pewter in color. At the top, it has a small hole which functions as a reset switch, as well as the on/off switch. Access to the USB 2.0 connector is simply a small pull on the connector away from the device.
On the bottom, we find a plastic cover for the SD card slot which, concededly, we weren’t impressed with at first. In examining it a bit closer, however, we realized it does lie flush and (at least for our needs) wouldn’t be needed for the constant switching of cards. I guess if you consider things, many other manufacturers might have just left that access completely open as we see it in most laptops and whatnot. To the right of the SD card slot, we will see a flashing blue light when the network is available as well as a green light when the power is on. There is also another for low battery notification.
At then end of the day, the PQI Air Drive is very similar to the Kingston Wi-Drive+ MobileLite that we examined after receiving an early prototype at CES. There seems to be definite advantages to both, whereas the Kingston early prototype (now aptly named the Kingston Digital MobileLite Wireless Flash Reader) is now available at Amazon for $69.99 while the PQI Air Drive is considerable smaller, lighter, and contains an attached USB 2.0 connector. Stay tuned in the next few weeks as Deepak Sharma is reviewing the final (and new release) of the Kingston Digital MobileLite Wireless Flash Reader storage device and will provide report in time.