Maxell AirStash review
Price: £109 (8GB), £129 (16GB)
Pros: Useful, particularly for photographers and anyone who likes watching films on the iPad; ability to password-protect wireless network
Cons: On the costly side; ugly
It is often said that iPads don’t have enough storage space; even the maximum allocation of 64GB is liable to fill up quickly if you like to carry around movies and other hefty media files to enjoy on the go. And in keeping with the iDevice design ethos, the iPad comes in distinctly short on storage expansion slots: no SD cards here, please.
One way to supplement the meagre capacity of the iPad (or an iPhone or other mobile device) is to stream files wirelessly from a supplementary storage unit like the AirStash. It’s effectively an SD card reader (able to read SD and SDXC cards of almost any capacity) with 802.11n Wi-Fi built in.
Loading files on to the AirStash is easy: there’s a USB connector at one end (indeed, the physical design is reminiscent of an oversized thumb drive), and an SD card slot at the other. Simply plug it into your desktop and transfer files straight across. Or if you’re a digital photographer and want to view your work on a larger screen as soon as you’ve shot it, pop the camera’s SD card in and you’re good to go.
There’s a free AirStash+ iOS app that you can use to stream video or audio files stored on the device, or to view documents or photos. You press the green button on the device’s body (this will begin to flash), then open the Settings app on the iPad and hook up to the Wi-Fi network which has now appeared. (You can password-protect this.) Then all the stored files will be viewable through the app. In our testing the whole procedure worked faultlessly; pleasingly, several devices can hook on to the network simultaneously, and even stream a video file at the same time.