The Kanex meDrive is small device that you can plug into your router, connect a USB flash drive and use it as a file server accessible to all devices, including iOS devices, a technology worth mentioning. It can be used for as many devices have the capabilities of seeing it and that have the credentials to log in. The Kanex meDrive is available from Kanex for $99.00.
The looks of this device aren’t nearly as important as how it performs but there are a few things to mention. First, this device is very small and compact. This device may be able to fit in tight corners. The wires included are short so the device needs to be close to the router. Of course, you can get a longer cable and your meDrive will have more space to move about the cabin. There is a little light on the device that let’s you become aware of when the device is on or not, transferring files or not. The device reminds me of the Time Capsule that Apple sells or at least the looks anyways. In a device where the looks don’t really matter, it at least passes this category.
The idea behind this product is a great idea. A simple file server that you can connect to your router and is accessible not only to computers like all file servers are but also iOS devices as well, providing a massive cloud service if you use massive hard drive (I tried a 1TB hard drive with it). Unfortunately, this is where the complimenting ends. This device does not work with Mac-formatted hard drives. Therefore, I can not use my hard drive with this device and then use it with my Mac right after, they don’t go hand in hand. Since I only own Macs, that’s a big problem. In addition, this device needs to be driven by a USB port. I have a USB port on my router thankfully but if I didn’t, I may have had to buy a USB wall outlet adapter just to use it. Adding to that, the USB cable may not be long enough so you may want to find an additional, longer cable. Therefore, with that said, this device is not wireless. There are two, possibly three wires involved. Power, Ethernet (to the router) and a cord to a portable hard drive if you have one. Once you have it set up, the struggles continue. Sometimes, my devices can’t recognize the meDrive at all. Sometimes, my device can recognize it but it appears as though there is nothing in my drive when there is and the best days are when it does recognize something but takes a few minutes to show up. It shouldn’t take long for it to recognize it at all. I know it wasn’t my device because A I have a 2012 computer and B it was right next to the meDrive. When I did get a 500 GB external HDD to work, it took a long time to show it’s contents. So long, I lost count of time and moved on with something else equally as boring. The same goes for my iOS devices. I rather just save my files onto the hard drive then take the hard drive to where I want the files and download it there. There is a good thing to say about the iOS app though, when it works, it is intuitive. Of course, all this is not to say that it never works. In fact it works sometimes, but when it does, it’s slow and it’s results are wildly unpredictable. When we had problems however, he had no help. The instructions and manual are useless for troubleshooting so that leaves contacting the company the only option for help and some people just don’t want to do that. From my perspective, the device has too many problems to recommend.
-Lights provide some knowledge about what’s going on
-iOS app, unlike the rest of the whole process, is intuitive
-Needs to be tethered
-Does not work with Mac formatted drives
-When it works, it takes way too long to do anything useful with it
-Instructions are vague and worthless for troubleshooting
Ways to Improve
Besides a need to fix it’s compatibility issues, it needs to be more stable so we can have better access to the USB device attached to the meDrive. A faster connection with the router needs to be established. The company needs to consider wireless solutions to a second rendition of the product. Perhaps, they could add wireless connections to the router and wireless power such as a battery. In addition, some improvements to the instructions and troubleshooting should be considered.
The meDrive has too many problems for me to recommend it. The device was limited in it’s abilities and unstable. It is clear that Kanex has some kinks to work out before they have a stable, finished product. This product receives 2 stars from me.
Thanks for reading,