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Storage & Data Center Solutions

SanDisk outs a pair of portable, streaming-ready Wi-Fi drives

Double the pleasure, double the fundamentally flexible storage options: SanDisk announced not one, but two portable, flash-based multimedia Wi-Fi drives on Monday in the Connect Wireless Media Drive and the Connect Wireless Flash Drive. Both battery-powered devices serve as a mix of portable storage and mobile multimedia hotspots, sharing data and stream multimedia wirelessly via 802.11 b/g/n.

The smaller Connect Wireless Flash plugs directly into a USB port, has all the appearance of a standard USB thumb drive, and ships in $50 for 16GB and $60 for 32GB flavors.

The name and appearance, however, are slightly misleading; There is indeed flash memory, but it's in the form of a micro SD card hidden away in a slot on the side of the unit. The Connect Wireless Flash can't currently be upgraded using a 64GB micro SD card due to file system limitations, but you may swap 32GB and lesser-capacity cards as need dictates.

The Wireless Media Drive (pictured at the top of this article) is a slick, half-inch thick, and approximately 2.5 by 2.5 inch apparatus available at $80 with 32GB or $100 with 64GB of hard-wired internal flash memory.

With a micro USB port and SDHC/XC slot--handy for viewing files from cameras and the like--it's more versatile than the Connect Wireless Flash. It's also more powerful, rated to deliver five different 720p video streams simultaneously and 8 hours of battery life, compared to its smaller cousin's three 720p streams and 4 hours of battery life.

Both Connect drives are USB 2.0, not 3.0, so expect some waiting when you copy large amounts of data to them. Internet pass-through is provided on both, so you can surf the Web while simultaneously being connected to the drives' internal storage, and there are apps for both iOS and Android. There's no DLNA serving, but according to SanDisk, you can access the drive's internal storage by normal network browsing methods.

Given their price, form factor and portability, the Connect Wireless Media and Connect Wireless Flash drives should fare well against the competition--such as the Corsair Voyager Air and Seagate Wireless Plus--if the performance claims are true.

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