More convenient than using iTunes to transfer certain files
Slick design matches that of other Apple products
Exposed ends could be damaged in transport
Large gap could harbor crud and render device non-functional
So, you want to share files from your work computer to your home computer. Easy enough, right? Just grab a flash drive and off you go. What about if you want to transfer files from your computer to someone else's iPhone? What if you want to transfer things between your computer and your iPhone without wrestling with iTunes? That's where it gets tricky -- but it doesn't have to. Today, we check out iShowFast, a Lightning and USB Flash Drive with super speed.
On the Surface
As far as little flash drives go, this one is great. From a design standpoint, we think that it looks awesome. It's brushed aluminum with a champagne color, reminiscent of gold iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. It's got all the sleek little curves that you'd expect an Apple accessory to have and it feels fairly substantial in your hand.
In order to switch between the Lightning and USB adapters, there's a small metal button that slides back and forth between the two. We were quite surprised at how sturdy the button felt, there was no excessive jiggling or moments where we felt like using it would cause it to snap off or bend. As for the Lightning and USB adapters, they seem to be held in place rather securely as well with almost no room around them for wiggling. We think that this would be able to hold up to years of daily use, provided you're not absolutely brutalizing it.
We do have a few design complaints. No matter what, one of your adapters is going to be jutting out, as there is no "in between" mode that keeps them both sheathed. There's also no cap or bit that flips over to protect whichever end is exposed. This means that you'll have to keep that in mind when you're carrying it from place to place. We recommend storing it in smaller pockets in bags and purses to limit the amount of jostling the ends may take from larger pieces of equipment. We also have a bit of a concern about dust or debris (or granola crumbs, if you carry it in your bag) getting into the spot where the button is. We are fairly positive that if you were to get any considerable amount of crud lodged down in there, you'd likely not be able to get it out, and it could lead to being unable to switch between USB and Lightning.
Getting Down to Business
Functionally, as a flash drive, the iShowFast works exactly as it should. It's a fast little flash drive. As a USB 3.0 device, it's got a read speed of 140 MB/s and a write speed of 45 MB/s. As for Lightning, it's markedly slower at 30/20 MB/s for your read/write speeds respectively (as expected for the USB 2.0 genesis of the interface), but still more than quick enough for most of the files you'll be transferring on your average iPad or iPhone.
There's an App...
So, in order to use the iShowFast with your iPhone or iPad, you'll have to download the iShowFast app. We absolutely love the app and were impressed by how well it worked for swapping files back and forth between our computer to our iPhone and iPad, or between iPad and iPhone. Want to copy music from your phone and put it on another device or computer? You can do that from within the app in a few seconds. There's also a feature that allows you to backup your contact list as a CSV file, play videos and music directly from the iShowFast, and boasts an incredibly nice photo editor, all within the app. We think that the app really makes this device shine.
Price wise, the iShowFast is comparable to competitors, and comes in at $99 for a 32 gigabyte flash drive, which puts it just slightly more pricey than its competitors. This includes SanDisk's 32GB iXpand, which is available for under $90 but only is capable of writing at roughly a fourteenth of the speed of the iShowFast. And, if you take part in the iShowFast Indiegogo, you'll be able to score your own iShowFast for 40 percent off.
We're not sure what else to say, other than the iShowFast is a product we could see ourselves using every day. It's well made, and aside from one bit of the design that we're not absolutely wild about, it knocks it out of the park in terms of convenience. We especially liked the app, which takes this device from good to great. If you're looking to snag the iShowFast, they come in tons of makes and models, but the one we tested was the 16GB, which will cost $80 at launch, but Indiegogo early bird backers can score one for $50. iShowFast will ship in mid-November, provided they reach their Indiegogo $50,000 goal.