I’ve just purchased an iPad mini. And in a dramatic break with tradition I didn’t max out on storage space as I have with pretty much every other Apple device I’ve purchased since my first foray into Mac Life in 2003 (with a PowerBook that still boots and gets online). This isn’t a break with my core values. Fortunately I don’t have any. It’s just … the world has changed since I first started investing in portably computing. Once you had your 20/60/100 Gb hard drive and that was it. Now things are different. My music is on Spotify, my movies are on Netflix and all my documents spend their time shuffling between iCloud and DropBox. I just don’t need masses off on-device storage. But what if I suddenly discover I need to carry 8 Gb of very important documents at short notice. Well then I have AirStash.
AirStash – or Maxell’s new and improved AirStash A02 is a clever bit of portable storage masquerading as the world’s chubbiest USB key. Their are already a few WiFi hard drives on the market (indeed the original AirStash was released in 2011) but AirStash brings a few new tricks to the game.
As you’d expect AirStash creates an ad hoc WiFi network between itself and any WiFi device. There’s an app (Android and iOS) but you can also access AirStash through a browser. And it’s a USB key that you can plug into a regular computer. And it’s an SD card reader so you just plug data from your cameras. And it’s a … well you get the idea. It’s a pretty versatile device.
It ships with a 16GB SDHD card, and is expandable up to 2TB using SDXC cards. AirStash works with RAW files from most cameras which is pretty nifty if you’re doing some proper photography on the road. You can also stream media to up to eight devices simultaneously so it’s pretty cool for group outings – kids in the back of the car each watching a movie on one of their iDevices rather than quietly contemplating just how damn lucky they are.
The built in rechargeable lithium polymer battery gets 7 Hours operation from a single charge. I couldn’t work out how to form a bridge network using AirStash – so I couldn’t watch a movie and get online at the same time. Then again … I’m watching a movie so there’s no great need to be online but I can imagine for video editing work or some such it would be slightly more useful. However this is coming in an app update.
The AirStash A02 is out now for £95.