News Column

helpware AirStash

January 26, 2014

Harold Glicken

The AirStash from Maxell does many of the same things that SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive does - enables uploads and downloads to and from Apple iPads and iPhones and Android devices - but there is one outstanding difference. The Media Drive comes with either 32 or 64 gigs of internal flash memory, with an SD slot that provides for unlimited storage.

It can be charged either with a USB cable or a wall charger. The AirStash is a large USB portable drive that has no internal memory. Instead, an SD card is inserted in the drive for unlimited memory.

Both devices can easily fit in a shirt pocket. The free app for the Media Drive is more polished. The AirStash transfers files noticeably faster.

The AirStash, like its cousin, acts as a sort of wireless hot spot. Once you're connected to its Wi-Fi network, files can be exported from an iPhone or other wireless device to the SD card on the AirStash, then transferred to a PC by either plugging the drive into a USB port or removing the SD card and reading it on a PC.

Files can then be dragged from the AirStash's SD card to the PC and edited or stored. Files also can be moved from a PC to the SD card, which can then be inserted into the AirStash and uploaded to an iPad or iPhone.

Android devices and the Kindle Fire are supported, too, according to the folks at Maxell.

Speaking of the folks at Maxell, my first contact with tech support was encouraging. I had an initial problem with AirStash not reading the SD card. A techie picked up on the first ring and walked me through the process of updating the device's firmware. All was fine after that.

What wasn't so fine was finding out how to use the device.

While the Media Drive's software is intuitive, the AirStash's software is less so. I figured it out after some tinkering, though.

The SanDisk Media Drive worked great right out of the box. I learned how to use it in about five minutes. And most important of all is the cash value part: The SanDisk with 64 gigabytes of internal memory costs $100; settle for 32 gigs and you pay $80. You also get the value of being able to charge the Media Drive either in a USB port on your PC or with the included wall charger.

The AirStash costs $70 for the model with an 8-gig SD card and $90 for one with a 16-gig card and comes without a wall charger.

Glicken is a retired newspaper editor and software enthusiast. He can be reached at noahm436@gmail.com.


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Source: Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)


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