I am no stranger to the Sandisk iXpand. I already owned two of them before the PR sent me this model to review. The two I had, I haven’t used in ages. In fact, I ripped them apart and took out the SD card in them to use on my Nintendo Switch console. Maybe in 2016 when I picked the first two up, these little USB drives helped me out but today, with cloud backups being vital and I pay for 2TB of iCloud storage, I found very little use for it.
It also doesn’t help that the design of the Sandisk iXpand hasn’t changed and it has failed to keep up with technology. 64GB, which is the model I was sent to review, isn’t a lot of storage space these days. The device is designed to be a primary backup spot for photos and let’s be honest, photo file sizes are now bigger than ever. I am always sitting on over 150GB of photos on my iPhone at any time so already, I can’t rely on this USB as a source for my backup.
Also, the PR took this Sandisk iXpand USB back so storing my photos onto the device that had to be cleaned was also the biggest waste of time too.
In a nutshell, the Sandisk iXpand is basically a Sandisk Micro SD card slapped into a casing that has a thunderbolt port on one end and a USB Type-A 3.1 Gen 1 port on the other. The idea of the device is to store your iPhone contents onto the SD card so you always have the stuff available in a safe place.
The Thunderbolt port end bends up a little bit so it can be plugged into an iPhone (or older iPads that don’t have USB Type-C) and the other end is then used to transfer content to a PC or Mac. I can also tell you how dated this USB drive is due to the lack of USB C.
In 2022, when you’re selling a USB device meant for an iPhone, don’t use Type-A. Chances are, the person buying this uses a Macbook and making use of a USB C port, and the speed advantages of it will go a long way to save time when transferring content to and from the stick.
The Sandisk iXpand is powered by an app downloadable on the App Store. Once downloaded and plugged in, the app scans your phone for content that can be transferred across. I could then choose my items and copy them to the USB drive. The interface is simple and easy to understand and moving content to the drive doesn’t take too long.
The app also has an automatic backup process so you just need to plug it in after doing the initial backup and it will automatically detect new photos and items which weren’t previously backed up.
If you want to move photos to a notebook, PC or Mac, you just have to plug it in and the drive pops up like any other flash stick. One feature I did find useful was the ability to move photos from my PC to my iPhone by copying them to the drive. This process can be quite a chore on Windows but the Sandisk iXpand let me copy them across, I plugged the drive into my iPhone and moved the new images across.
The Sandisk iXpand also comes with some safety measures to protect your data. I could encrypt certain files so if I happen to lose the stick, these files were locked away. The drive also acts as a storage expansion device which means I could copy movies to the drive and watch them directly off the stick instead of losing my iPhone storage due to the file sizes.
While I do believe there are users out there that will benefit from the Sandisk iXpand, my tech lifestyle sadly doesn’t. The drive packs an outdated Type-A USB port, the storage space is too small for me and with the ease of cloud backups, this whole experience is a chore in comparison.
If this model had a USB Type-C instead of a Type-A, I could have used it to copy my video recordings for my channel across to my Macbook as these video files get quite large while I shoot content. But the Type-A is slower and my Macbook doesn’t have a Type-A port anyway. I could use an extender but that would slow down the transfer speeds even more.
There are bigger models out there and you can get a Sandisk iXpand with up to 256GB of space. Maybe that would be a better option for power users who demand more storage and faster speeds. Sadly, there are just better and faster ways to do what this drive can do. Especially a 64GB model.
You can pick up this drive starting at R699 and going up to R1699 depending on your storage option. Find out more on the Western Digital site here.