The diminutive iUSBport Mini looks like a typical, if undersized, USB flash drive. But don’t let its small size fool you. This is one versatile little gadget. Not only does it act as an external drive for your mobile devices, a built-in wireless router creates its own Wi-Fi network that allows you to stream content wirelessly to up to three different iOS and/or Android devices.
The iUSBport Mini has no onboard memory like conventional flash drives. Instead, it comes with a fill-it-yourself Micro SD memory card expansion slot, as well as a USB host port. The beauty of this is that it allows you to attach any capacity USB drive or micro memory card and stream their contents to any Wi-Fi enabled device. Sanho has accommodating apps for iOS and Android devices, but even without those, the Mini has an IP address printed right on it that gets your mobile devices connected via a browser to the photos, music, and videos broadcasting from the Mini (and vice versa).
While the Mini does have a few annoyances, it lives up to its claims of simultaneous streaming for up to three different devices, and two-way file transfers with multiple users. I streamed a full-length feature film to an iPad and Nexus 7 with great success: The film played fluidly on both devices. At the same time, I was able to view photos from a Mini-attached 500GB hard drive.
The 90-minute movie played, stutter-free, to its end, but the Mini’s battery life fizzled out soon thereafter. Powered by a lithium polymer battery, the Mini has at a maximum of three hours of life. In practice, the more mobile devices pinging it or the larger the size of file(s) you stream, the quicker the battery life depletes. Although the battery can handle USB flash drives in the 5-Watt USB host port, external hard drives need their own AC power supply, thereby diminishing somewhat the iUSBport Mini’s appeal for those who work on the go.
The device sports four colored LEDs to signal when it’s in Wi-Fi mode, low battery, USB mode, and charging status. The button to power on Wi-Fi and the Micro SD card slot are hidden behind a pliable plastic cover. That’s swell, since it prevents inadvertent switch presses and keeps the tiny SD card secure. But it’s hell to pry open the tightly fitted cover. I had to insert the end of a single-edge razor blade to gain access.
For the iUSBport Mini’s size and overall functionality, it’s a convenient, unobtrusive tool to expand the limited memory capacities of mobile devices and supply them with previously nonexistent USB capabilities.