Hard drives and the iPhone go together like an ice cube and a heater — they just don’t like to talk to each other — but Imation has a fix for that, with a portable drive that also pushes a pocket of power.
Power and portable storage are coming together for pocketable phones in a product called the “Link Power Drive” which heads to stores this week (you knew there was only so much alliteration we could get away with).
The drive is a small rectangular block, almost as if someone grabbed half of a Post-It note cube and said “make this into a gadget with a flash drive and a battery pack”, because that is essentially what the Link Power Drive is, combining external drive with external power source for people who wish to carry data and an extra supply of power where ever they go.
“We’ve all been in situations where we’ve had to delete apps or photos to make space, or had to go hunting for the nearest power sockets to charge our devices,” said Des McDaid, Imation’s Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand.
“Imation’s new Link Power Drive addresses both these concerns, giving users extra space to store their photos, videos, and movies as well as the ability to charge on the go.”
Some quick testing of the Link reveals that unlike some other solid-state drives, Imation’s Link isn’t meant for speed, with a 4GB file taking a good 6 minutes to move over, something we can do in less than a minute on another drive based on flash media, the Samsung Portable T1.
That said, while Samsung’s Portable SSD holds the edge in terms of efficiency and speed, what it lacks is the ability to plug straight into an iPhone, with USB 3.0 only supported natively, with a further “on-the-go” port needed to make the drive work on an Android phone.
Sadly, the Apple iPhone isn’t included in that list, with the Lightning connector not made into a converter for USB drives, at least not yet. That means iPhone owners don’t have a whole lot of options for external drives, with the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive settings things off in February, and Imation continuing things with this new drive, the Link.
One major thing separates them, that said, with the Imation arriving with a battery bank built in, allowing you to recharge a phone using the Lightning port simply by flipping a switch on the side.
Along the edge is a small switch that allows you to start sending out power to the phone or tablet you’re plugged into, providing a 3000mAh battery alongside that storage, ideal if you’re watching a movie and running out of juice.
We did find a few problems in playing back videos over the Link drive, though we did find it particularly interesting that we could copy files to the iPhone from the drive, allowing us to place things within Camera Roll, such as movies.
They don’t play back perfectly, but it’s interesting to find that you could theoretically take images off your computer and plonk them onto your iPhone in this way.
“This new Apple accessory is an absolute essential for users,” said McDaid. “The simultaneous rise of smartphones, tablets, and social media across the world have seen more photos, videos, emails and messaging being created and shared than ever before. As a result, data security and efficient power usage have become two of the most pressing concerns for consumers.”
While we’re not sure all will see data security as the primary reason to keep photos, videos, and other files on an external drive to run through the iPhone, the option is at least there, and credit goes to Imation for something that’s a little extra in the Link: a phone stand.
Pull a bit of plastic out from the underside of the Link Power Drive and you’ll find a small stand, waiting for you to lean your phone in the space, not just giving you a small drive to watch any movies stored inside, not just to supply power to your phone while that’s happening, but also deliver a way to keep it stationary on your desk.
Compatibility for there drive extends to anything fairly recent in the Apple iPhone line-up, including the iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, and the two latest models, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, while the iPod Touch 5th generation is also compatible.
Imation’s “Power Drive LT” app is necessary if you plan to use the drive on the phone, and this requires iOS7 or above, which should mean most people with those devices — certainly all with an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus — are good to go.
As for availability, the Imation Link Power Drive can be found in stores across Australia now, arriving in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities for the recommended retail prices of $129.95 (16GB), $149.95 (32GB), and $189.95 (64GB).