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Review: Kingston's MobileLite Wireless Streamer

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MobileLite on top of the LG G2 smartphone for perspective MobileLite on top of the LG G2 smartphone for perspective

Ahhhh, family vacation! I always find the words "family vacation" kind of funny because, well, it's only a vacation for the kids. For the parents, there is often a ton of prep work and once back home, cleanup. On the prep side, technology sometimes makes more, rather than less work. Kingston believes they've come up with a new product which actually does decrease some work when you're prepping for that vacation. Enter: Kingston's MobileLite Wireless Flash Reader!

 

The Problem(s)

 

The MobileLite Wireless Flash reader from Kingston solves problems, instead of creating more of them. Don't feel like loading movies or media on to multiple childrens' devices? No worries. Need to make sure you grab those backup rechargers? Yep, they've got that covered as well- well, kind of. Don't remember if it was the flash drive or that SD Card tucked into your Macbook Air that you dropped the kids flicks onto? Pop the card, grab that thumb drive and plug them both into the MobileLite.

 

The Solution

 

What you're getting when you pick up one of these is a flash reader which can read media from flash drives, SD, SDHC, SDXC and microSD cards (with included adapter). Not only will it read files, but you can transfer files across storage media as well as download them to your local device via the MobileLite app for iOS and Android (2.3+). You also get a media streamer which will allow you to watch up to three different files on three different devices simultaneously. And last, but most definitely not least, a charger for your mobile devices. I would've liked to have seen a much larger batter on this device as it is only 1810mAh, which means you're really going to have to decide whether or not you're going to want to rely on the MobileLite for battery backup or just use it to stream content while away from a power source. For reference, the 4th gen iPad sports a 11,560 mAh battery, while the Samsung Galaxy S4 is powered by 2600 mAh's.

 

The Setup

 

Once I removed the device from its packaging, the first thing I did was charge it up. It takes a little under 2 hrs to fully charge the battery and once done, you simply power the device on and insert whichever storage media your movies, pictures or music are on. into the appropriate slot. That's it! Now, head on over to your mobile device and download the MobileLite app from the appropriate app store for your device. I tested both the Android and iOS apps on a Samsung Galaxy S4 and 2nd and 3rd generation iPads respectively. Where the MobileLite sings is in its ease of use. The apps are well designed and easy for even the most tech illiterate to use. The MobileLite creates its own WiFi network for your mobile devices to connect to which is what allows the streaming of media from it to your mobile devices. With the app downloaded, you just go into the mobile device's wifi settings and connect to the network labeled MobileLite Wireless. Once connected, head back to the MobileLite app and look for the device MobileLite Wireless (192.168.200.254). Once you tap that, you will see a list of the storage media connected to the MobileLite (your flash drive or SD card). Tap on that storage media's name and then select the file(s) you want to stream. The process is straight forward and it just works. You can see in the video below that I'm streaming the same file to two different iPads with no lag to either device. This is what you can do on road trips… load up a 64GB flash drive with several movies and/or tv shows for the kids and then show them how to pick the files they want to play from the MobileLite app. Now you have a streaming cloud device serving up road trip entertainment for your wee beasties!

 

What if you or your child want to download a file directly to your mobile device? In my own testing, the MobileLite took approximately 8:15 to download a 1.8GB file to a 4th generation iPad. Of course you can have this happening in the background while you do other things if you don't feel like waiting. One of the questions you may be asking is, "why not just stream the content from Netflix or Amazon?" The simple answer is this, wifi tends to be less of a power drain than 3G/4G especially when you're traveling and may be moving in and out of areas with varying signal strength. One of the surest ways to burn through battery quickly is a phone that is constantly searching for a signal.

 

What you get in the box with the MobileLite is a MicroSD card adapter and a 1.5' micro USB to standard USB cable. The MobileLite is actually quite a light device itself and is pretty small measuring about the height of a modern smartphone, much narrower while being significantly thicker. It should add very little bulk to your travel gear and be relatively problem free though I haven't had it long enough to give it any marks for long-term durability. You can pick one up from Kingston.com for $59.99 though you can find it elsewhere on the web for approximately $10 cheaper.

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