$149.99 for 8gb model (currently $125.95 at Amazon)
Have you ever wished you had more space on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch for more music, movies, podcasts, photos, or files? Maybe you have the 16gb model and could really use the 32gb model, but you can’t afford a new device. Maybe you have the 64gb iPad and have no larger storage option. If this sounds like you, the AirStash by Maxell might be the device you are looking for. At a retail price starting at $149.99 you can add a minimum of 8gb to your device and you are only limited by the size of a 32gb card and how many cards you want to carry.
So what is this AirStash I am writing about? It is a wireless device that looks like a USB thumb drive, but a little bigger than most thumb drives you might be used to. It holds an SD card as large as 32gb in size and that is where you store all of you music, photos, movies, etc. that won’t fit on your iPad or other device.
You might be asking how you get these files onto said device? Well, this is the cool part. The AirStash creates its own wireless network that you connect the device to. Through that network and the AirStash app you can access the files on the card. You can view photos, read documents, watch movies, and listen to audio through the app. It works great too. The network is open to start, but you can set it up for WEP or WPA security. You can also load the device through your computer like you would load any USB thumb drive.
If you don’t want to use the app, you can also access the files through a web browser or a WebDAV client. This means practically any device that is on the AirStash network can access the files.
One of my concerns was playing an album of music. Would it go from track to track? Yes it does. The movie and audio player also have all the controls you would expect for play, pause, fast forward, etc. You can also view video in full screen mode.
When it comes to viewing files like word docs or PDF files they are viewable right within the AirStash app or you can send them to corresponding apps like Pages. Speaking of Pages, you can access the files on the SD card from within Pages itself through WebDAV access. AirStash is compatible with all the iWork apps, OmniGraffle, Omni Outliner, Goodreader, and more. Once again, it all works perfectly and smoothly.
When it comes to photos you can take the card straight from your camera and put it right into the AirStash and import pictures from there right into your device. This eliminates the need for Apple’s Camera Connection Kit. In fact, it is better because it also works with the iPod Touch and iPhone. You can also export photos onto the SD card.
Another great feature of AirStash is that multiple devices can connect to it at the same time. Up to three device can connect and stream content. This means those long trips in the car can have multiple devices streaming different movies or shows at the same time making everyone happy. This works surprisingly well. In my testing I saw no loss of quality or load time in the videos on each device.
As for range, I live in a two story house with a basement. I kept the AirStash on the top floor and went to the basement. I still had a full signal and everything worked as if I was right next to it.
To charge the AirStash you plug into any USB port on your computer or use any USB charger for about two hours. As for battery life, Maxell claims up to 5 hours of streaming battery life, even if multiple devices are connected. I saw nothing to dispute this claim. Standby battery life was great too. I left it sitting for several days and it showed no sign of battery drain, but the only real indicator is using it or the device itself. The device blinks an amber color when running low on power, however it would be really nice if a battery indicator was in the app. This would give more warning for when you should charge the device and if you have enough juice to start that two house long movie.
As you can tell, I really like the AirStash. It works great. The only main issue I had with it was with something called SideLink. SideLink is in BETA and is suppose to allow you to connect the AirStash through your own wireless network giving you access to the files while having Internet access at the same time. I tried this several times without success. The AirStash app kept crashing and I could not connect. However, it is in BETA so I can’t really hold it against the device.
The AirStash is available in two sizes. The $149.99 pack comes with an 8gb card. For $30 more you can get one with a 16gb card. I would opt for the cheaper model and by a memory card from a third party. If you shop around you can find a 32gb card for about the price of the difference in models. As I mentioned earlier, 32gb is the largest card the AirStash can use.
Overall, the AirStash is a great solution for those filled iOS devices. It isn’t cheap, but it is a lot cheaper then buying a new device. Plus, it can be used with multiple devices. It is going to be really hard for me to send this one back to Maxell.
MyMac.com rating 9 out of 10