At the risk of going out with myself, I still remember being at the Consumer Electronics Show when the first commercially produced camera phones were rolled out over 20 years ago. Since then, my mission as a responsible user – and self-aware tech journalist – has been to avoid the embarrassment and annoyance of 1) my broken phone battery and 2) inadvertently losing photos. that I took on the phone.
Naturally, when I learned that syncing the SanDisk Ixpand wireless charger helps avoid both of these potential crises, I was delighted that Western Digital sent me one to try it out. And I have found that it performs its two main functions well, as advertised.
It’s really easy to configure
I literally just plugged in the device, downloaded the app (via the handy QR code printed both on the seemingly unnecessary instruction card and on the back of the device itself), and it got me. walked through the installation process, which it didn’t. take too long.
The Ixpand is ready to charge any Qi-enabled phone right out of the box (once the device is plugged in). Application and configuration are only needed for backup and synchronization functions.
When it comes to charging, one thing I really like is that this device isn’t as picky as other wireless chargers I’ve used when it comes to placement. As long as the center of my phone was close enough to the center of the device, the phone would still charge, even if it was slightly askew or tilted. And I can verify that it did charge through each of the two generally thin phone cases that I tested.
Free up phone space
Since my phone’s internal capacity is “mere” 32GB, as a content creator, I frequently find myself in the danger zone of storage. Fortunately, this charger-reader comes to the rescue in capacities of 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB. After saving a few thousand photos and several dozen videos – which, according to the in-app tutorial, could take a few sessions, but the app was done in just two nights – I hit the Free Up Phone Space feature right next to the main menu. I deleted the biggest space-hogging videos on my phone and quickly got a few gigabytes richer.
If I had made a mistake, I could have taped the photo icon on the main screen and then tap Select & Restore to recover some or all of the photos or videos I deleted. Although my main focus is on media, the device has backed up my phone contacts as well. In this world of online social networking, I’m less worried about losing my contact details. But it’s still good to know. And I can always turn this sync off if I want to.
The best features
I like how this device can back up multiple phones separately. In my testing, I only backed up my own phone. After that I connected the Ixpand to my laptop via Micro USB cord (not included) and it showed up as an external drive. I quickly found that a subfolder had already been created with the name of my phone and subfolders leading to my backed up files. And I imagine if others had saved to this charger drive it would create folders for those phones as well.
It is a stand-alone player. In other words, you don’t necessarily need to connect it to a computer because you can manage the files through the app on your phone. It’s just another way to see what you’ve saved.
Continuous backup is easily my favorite feature of all. After my phone was initially backed up, I set it up to automatically back up everything every time I put the phone on the charger. And best of all, the app doesn’t even have to be in the background for this to happen, which is great for ease of use and peace of mind.
What i would like him to do
The most important thing I look for in combo devices like this is whether it performs each function at least as well as dedicated devices that do these things individually. And I’m happy to say that yes, this device does. So from a material point of view, I was happy. But there is room for improvement with the app.
On top of the time it took for the app to find the device – which got better as I used it and knew which radios (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, location) had to be on – I would have liked the Free Up Phone Space feature to be a bit more grainy. I was able to choose whether I wanted to potentially release photos or videos, which I could only sort by size or date. I would like to be able to dive into a more advanced search specifying that I want to release anything before and / or after a particular date, or above and / or below a specified size range.
Should you get one?
The little baffle above doesn’t take away from how much I love and recommend this device overall. It’s just something to work on for the next iteration of the app. In fact, because it charges and saves so well, I would even consider it worth packing as an essential for my next trip. After all, traveling is when we all need more power and space the most.
Buy from Western Digital.
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