|ADATA DashDrive Air AE400 Wireless Storage|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Thursday, 14 March 2013|
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DashDrive Air Final Thoughts
I was very impressed with the ADATA DashDrive Air AE400 in terms of its ability to function as a mobile device charger and a wireless data storage and media streaming tool. I charged three phones off a fully charged AE400 (well, 2 3/4 phones), and it still had juice left. The size of the DashDrive Air is perfect to fit in a purse or a jacket pocket. It would fit easily in the center console of my car or a briefcase or laptop bag. There is no reason I couldn't carry the DashDrive Air around with me to keep my mobile devices charged up and ready to go.
The ADATA DashDrive Air AE400 also automatically expands my mobile storage by 32GB with the SD I put in there. That frees up a lot of space for more of games and low quality pictures of funny signs. It also gives me a database for movies to entertain passengers on road trips. The DashDrive Air can even help out at work. The other day we were all working on a project that we were sharing back and forth via email. With poor cell connection, not everyone was able to get it downloaded onto their phones to look at during a staff meeting. I pulled out the DashDrive Air, uploaded the file and everyone in the room connected to the AE400 and snagged it. As a portable charger and wireless storage and media streaming device, I think the DashDrive Air is definitely at the top of its class.
As for a Wi-Fi hotspot, however, the ADATA DashDrive Air AE400 has some serious drawbacks that keep me from giving it such a glowing recommendation in that area. First and foremost, the AE400 cannot connect to WEP secured networks. I received the error that you see in the image below when trying to connect to my home network, which is secured with WEP encryption.
ADATA support informed me that the problem was the WEP connection and this was their response.
Going through the user's manual and the online documentation, any reference to the device not supporting WEP is very cryptic. The user's manual simply states that the network encryption on the AE400 is WPA2 mixed. Online documentation says that network encryption is WPA and WPA2. To me, those seemed to be referring to the hotspot created by the AE400, which uses WPA2 encryption. It doesn't specifically say anywhere that the AE400 does not support WEP encryption.Now, most devices in use today will support WPA or WPA2 encryption, so connecting to the DashDrive Air shouldn't be an issue. I still don't understand, however, why ADATA would choose to not even allow the DashDrive Air to connect to WEP secured networks.
The only other issue I had with the DashDrive Air AE400's wireless hotspot feature is that it cut bandwidth by over 40%. That's a lot for me. I honestly don't have much of a use for the AE400's hotspot feature. Considering that I have to already have access to a wireless network in order to hook it up, the only feasible reason I can think of to use it is if I wanted to provide people temporary access to a wireless network without giving them the login information for the actual network.
ADATA AE400 Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
The ADATA DashDrive Air AE400 far outperformed my expectations as a portable charging device and as a wireless media streaming and storage device. Data transferred from the ADATA DashDrive Air's connected SD card just as fast as through my laptop's connect SD card reader. With numbers like that, I really have no reason to use my SD card readers anymore. The DashDrive Air also charged three phones without running out of juice. The only performance I wasn't completely excited about was the Wi-Fi hotspot performance. Bandwidth was cut by over 40% when running through the DashDrive Air.
The AE400 is not one of those unsightly portable chargers either. The DashDrive Air takes its cues from diamonds and funnels that image through hexagonal shapes on the surface. The AE400 is compact and relatively thin; about the thickness of two iPhones. It is also quite a bit shorter than a normal smartphone. The shape of the DashDrive is pretty appealing to me, partly because it doesn't look like another phone-sized block.
While the DashDrive Air seems to be well constructed, as the case is made of thick plastic and feels solid. Of course, when I put the AE400 into my pocket or even when I just pick it up, something inside bounces around. It seems as though the battery is not completely secured and slides from side to side when the DashDrive Air is tipped. I didn't put the AE400 through too much, but I did carry it around in my laptop bag and my pocket for a while. Even though it felt a little shaky, the performance never waivered.
As a portable charging device, the ADATA DashDrive Air AE400 is definitely the best I have tried. Many portable chargers I have used couldn't even charge my phone completely once. The DashDrive Air charged three. As a wireless storage medium and streaming device, I was very impressed by the ease of use and down-to-business interface. The transfer speeds were great, transferring wireless at the same speed as a connected card ready. As for the Wi-Fi hotspot, the capability is there, but I can't imagine that I'll ever use it.
As of March 2013, the ADATA DashDrive Air AE400 costs $79.99 (Newegg / Amazon) and comes off as a good value to me. It is definitely more expensive than I would spend on a portable charger, and more expensive than I would spend on a streaming device. With all of the functionality combined, however, I would definitely spend $80 on the DashDrive Air. For another $20 or so, I can add a 32GB SD card and the AE400 turns into the perfect temporary storage device for movies, music, and pictures that I don't want to keep on my phone, but still want to have close at hand. It takes all of five seconds to be up and running, so it is ready at a moments notice.
+ Excellent Charging Capacity
+ Amazing Read/Write Speeds
+ Ready to Go in 5 Seconds
+ Interface is very Friendly
+ Size is great for portability
- Wi-Fi Hotspot is slow
- Can't Connect to WEP Encrypted Networks
- Feels like something is loose inside
Final Score: 8.75 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: What do you like most/least about the ADATA DashDrive Air AE400 Wireless Storage device?