It has been around for a while. And runs on the most popular phone and tablet in the world, And yet, Apple’s iOS does not always play nice with other operating systems. We have lost count of the number of times when we have been approached by someone asking for help on how to transfer a file from their iPhone or iPad to a Windows or Android device. Yes, there are ways of doing so. Many of them are free – you can use a Web transfer or storage service (like WeTransfer or Google Drive, or the excellent Snapdrop). Still, then those need good Internet connectivity, or use a third-party app and hope that it works smoothly (hint: they often do not).

sandisk ixpand flash drive luxe review

The speediest and most efficient solution in these circumstances, at the cost of sounding old-fashioned, is to go the hardware way and find a device that works well with both platforms and lets you transfer data between them.

Something like the Sandisk iXpand Flash Drive Luxe.

Lighting on one side, Type C on another

The iXpand Flash Drive Luxe is, as its name indicates, a flash drive. It comes with storage options of 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB. But what makes it unique are the connectors at either end. One side of the device has a Lightning connector that will fit into the Lightning ports of the iPhone, and many of the iPads (although many of the newer iPads have USB Type C ports now), and the other has a USB Type C connector.

Now, we have seen products like these before, but they generally tend to come from lesser-known brands, look dodgy and work erratically. However, the iXpand Flash Drive Luxe now is a very different kettle of fish. It is a smooth solid chunk of metal, with space to attach it to a keychain or a dangler at one of its ends.

Build like a sleek, small tank

You only see the lighting port connector at first glance, which is covered by a plastic cap to keep dust out. However, under the drive’s body lies a USB Type C connector which can swivel out when needed. So both connectors are actually covered (that plastic cap can get lost, though), and at least one is covered when the other is in use.

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The entire gadget is small and light enough to be carried in one’s pocket – it is barely 50 mm (about two inches) long and 8.7 mm thick. In fact, it is small enough to be lost or misplaced easily, so we would recommend attaching it to a keychain or something more substantial.

Plug and play beats upload and download to cloud!

But within that tiny frame lies a truckload of utility for those who have to transfer data. The drive is literally plug-and-play – you do not have to download any app to get it working. Just plug it into a USB Type C port or a Lightning port, and it will be up and running, showing up as a drive-in which you can store information. So transferring data from one device to another is as simple as plugging the drive into the first, moving the data to it, and then plugging to the other, and downloading it there.

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Transfer speeds are decent (USB 3.1), and we were able to get a hundred high-resolution images from our iPhone to a One Plus 9 Pro in a few minutes. But, again, it beats uploading and downloading using an online service. In fact, when we had a number of pictures or a particularly heavy presentation to send across, we found the device was a more convenient and reliable option even than the famed AirDrop – transfers do not get interrupted.

And while the presence of the Lightning connector does make this iOS device-friendly, the USB Type C connector in itself is good enough to make this drive a tool for transferring data between Android devices as well as between Android and Windows and Mac, or if the fancy strikes you, between those two old “friends,” Windows and Mac OS. So, in essence, this is a “regular” Flash Drive between devices that have USB Type C ports (and most new ones do).

Saving mega bucks on online storage megabytes

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That said, the drive is convenient if you are an iPhone user – if you download the iXpand Drive app, you can set the drive to automatically back up the files, photos, and videos on your iPhone whenever you use it. So you literally can free up storage space on your iPhone (always a good thing) by using this little gadget. What’s more, you can even play media off the drive itself by just plugging it into another device, so this is a convenient tool also for carrying media around. Mind you, and we wish the backup option gave us a choice of the photos and videos we wanted to back up – right now, it backs up everything! Still, it beats using (expensive) online storage as a backup.

At Rs 4,449 for 64 GB, Rs 5,919 for 128 GB, and Rs 8,999 for 256 GB, the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive is not exactly a low-priced option. But counterbalance that with what it brings to the table – smooth (and critically, reliable) connectivity between iOS and devices of other operating systems, freedom from depending on the Internet for transferring data, and the potential savings it brings in terms of online storage and backup options, and the finance wheels click into place. Yes, there are alternatives out there, but none work as reliably and smoothly as this one does. You can incidentally password protect files on the flash drive using the app, so no one else can access them if you give the drive to someone else for transferring data.

All of which makes us place the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive Luxe pretty much in the “must-have accessory” category for anyone with an iOS device right now. It saves on cloud storage and lets you send files to Android, Windows, macOS, and even other iOS devices without relying on the Internet. And it comes in a frame that is sleek, compact, and very strong indeed. We would recommend spending a little extra and getting the 128 GB version – it literally will let you get away with using a 32 GB iPad or 64 GB iPhone!

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