First look: iStick

The iStick is the world's first USB flash drive with a USB connector and an Apple certified Lightning connector that links directly to the latest iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models.

Launched by Sanho Corporation, which is founded by Singaporean Daniel Chin as a crowdfunding Kickstarter project, it reached its US$100,000 (S$125,790) target within three hours of its launch. As of press time, it has gathered more than US$900,000.

The iStick allows you to transfer data between computers (PC and Mac) and supported iOS devices without the need for iTunes syncing or the use of cloud storage.

Digital Life was one of two media outlets to get its hands on the pre-production model of the iStick.

The iStick looks like a rectangular USB flash drive with a top lever. On top, you will see the iStick logo.

When you slide the lever towards the iStick logo, the USB connector will emerge from one side. Slide the lever the other way and the Lightning connector will protrude from the other side.

The device is about twice the width of a regular USB flash drive. So on a laptop with side-by-side USB ports, the iStick might block an adjacent USB port that is too close.

The iStick uses a USB 2.0 connector. So, transfer speeds are slower than with USB 3.0 flash drives in the market. Moving a 3.2GB movie from my iMac to the iStick took nearly 20min.

For the iStick to work, you need to install and use the iStick mobile app. The iStick supports Apple iPhone 5/5s/5c, iPad (4th generation), iPad mini, iPad mini with Retina display, iPad Air and iPod touch (5th generation).

Start the iStick app and plug it into your iOS device. In the app, you will see four options - iPhone (or iPad), iStick, Contacts and Photo Library.

Tap the iStick icon to access the files stored in the iStick. You can transfer documents from the iStick to the iOS device's local storage here. But you can access only these files stored using the iStick app.

You can use the iStick to stream movies or view your documents without copying to local storage.

The app supports a wide array of file formats, from rmvb video files to PowerPoint pptx files, so you can read most of your documents, pdf, audio and video files with ease.

You can also back up your contacts to the iStick by tapping Contacts and then Backup in the resulting window. In addition, the Photo Library option lets you copy photos or videos from your photo library to the iStick.

Overall, the iStick promises what it is supposed to do, even in this pre-production stage. One hopes that Sanho can do something about the slow transfer speed.

The iStick is expected to ship this August and will be available in 8GB ($159), 16GB ($209), 32GB ($249), 64GB ($369) and 128GB ($499) versions.

But here is a sweetener. If you sign up as a backer of the iStick Kickstarter project (it ends June 17), you can get a discount of up to 40 per cent on the retail price.

This article was first published on June 11, 2014.
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