- Editor Rating
- Rated 2.5 stars
- Kanex meDrive File Server
- Reviewed by:
- Published on:
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- Cosmetic AppealEditor: 60%
- Design & Build QualityEditor: 58%
- FeaturesEditor: 40%
- FunctionEditor: 40%
- Value For The PriceEditor: 40%
The Kanex meDrive is an easy to use file server for use with iOS devices or Mac computer.
Mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch have been unbelievably successful resulting in hundreds of millions of users worldwide. One of the biggest obstacles to deal with when using an iOS device is file management and it can be a real pain to transfer files back and forth between your mobile device and your traditional computer without some sort of outside help. To solve this problem, Kanex has introduced a product called the Kanex MeDrive which acts as a file server for both Mac & iOS devices. The MeDrive has a high MSRP of $99, but fortunately you can get the device for under $45 on Amazon at the time this review is written.
The product comes with the MeDrive unit itself, a mini USB cable (to power unit), and a 1-foot Ethernet cable. The device features a matte white casing that showcases excellent build quality and durability. On the top of the meDrive you'll fine the Kanex logo etched in giving it a sleek and appealing look. The back side of the device contains an RJ45 jack (Ethernet) as well as the mini USB port for use with the supplied cables. The other side features a USB port that is intended for use with a flash drive or external drive that is formatted in FAT32, MSDOS, or NTFS. Hooking the device up is fairly straightforward requiring you to connect the USB to an open port on your computer, inserting the the Ethernet cable into your router, and lastly hooking up the storage source (USB or external hard drive) into the meDrive.
I particularly didn't care all that much for the configuration that the meDrive needs mainly since it requires me to have my computer placed right next to my router especially given the supplied Ethernet cable is only a foot long. If I want to run the meDrive in the “always on, always connected” state like they advertise on the website, I would need to keep my laptop in a stationary position next to my router at all times. I would also need to fully dedicate a USB port to powering the meDrive 100% of the time. This is an even bigger issue for Mac or PC owners who only have access to a few USB ports such as in the case of my Retina Macbook Pro. It only has 2 USB ports integrated within it thus likely requiring me to buy their other product the Dualrole. If the meDrive had some sort of wireless functionality where it didn't need to be hardwired into the router and could be plugged into a wall outlet, it would have gained some serious points in my book.
Once it was all setup, I decided to put it to the test and run some test files through it. I quickly realized my 2TB Western Digital drive would not be work since it is formatted to exFAT for use on both a PC & Mac, which unfortunately is not supported. I resorted to hooking up the 16GB Kingston flash drive that I previously reviewed and was ready to go.
The meDrive was easy to find on my Mac as it showed up in my finder window under “SHARED”. Upon inputing the default credentials, I was able to access the account without a hitch. Once inside I did some testing, first uploading a photo from my iPhone to the meDrive then transferring a short video clip from my Mac to the meDrive. The speeds were okay, but far from impressive especially since the USB drive I was using only was writing at 13.1 MB/s when plugged directly into my computer.
Of course, I anticipate higher speeds if you couple the meDrive with a faster and better performing drive, but considering I was only able to receive 12% of the regular writing speeds I was used, I wouldn't expect it to be on par.
I could see the meDrive being a sound investment for some, particularly if you're really someone who wants to quickly swap files from computer to mobile device without the potential of these files to get into someone else's hands. Personally, with services like Dropbox or Box offering free cloud storage that you can access both when on your home Wi-Fi and when you're on the go, I don't see the meDrive fitting a necessary role for my needs. If this type of product came out 2-3 years ago, prior to the big cloud computing crazy, I think it would have made a much bigger mark on me. Realistically at this current time, I don't see a huge demand for this type of thing when everyone has access to these free cloud solutions who are throwing out large blocks of storage completely free and whom all feature their own native iOS apps.
Overall, the Kanex meDrive is an extremely well made device that does what it is intended to do fairly well. If you want to have your own private file server for your Mac & iOS devices, it is a reasonable buy especially at Amazon's current price tag. If you're looking to save some money and don't mind any of your sensitive files being in the hands of a service like Dropbox, I would recommend signing up for a free account and saving your cash for a later purchase.
Thanks for Kanex for supplying us with a sample meDrive to make this review possible.