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Adata DashDrive Air AE400 preview: A wireless card reader for mobile devices

There aren't a lot of tablets that can take an SD card straight from your camera, and even connecting a USB device isn't always possible (ed: Out of the major brands, we know of none).

We've never seen a smartphone with a full-size SD card slot, not to mention a USB host port. So what do you do when you want to transfer data from an SD card, USB stick or external USB hard disk to a tablet or smartphone?

Adata thinks it has the answer with the DashDrive Air AE400 wireless storage reader that is compatible with Apple iOS, Google Android and Microsoft Windows devices.

The AE400 is a device with three functions. It's a wireless card reader, it can charge your smartphone and it's a portable WiFi hotspot. It's fairly compact (80 x 59 x 21 mm), weighs 128 grams, is made out of plastic and feels solid, even if we're personally not huge fans of the design.

The main function of the DashDrive Air AE400 is as a wireless card reader. The concept is as simple as it's ingenius. When you turn on the AE400 it creates a WiFi network to which you can connect your smartphone, tablet or laptop. The AE400 is immediately recognized as another device on the network, and you can directly access the SD card and/or USB device hooked to it.

If you want to use an iPhone, iPad or Android device with the AE400, you first have to download an app from the Apple AppStore or Google Play Store called the DashDriveAir Elite app. After connecting to the WiFi network of the AE400 and opening the app you can access the files on the SD card or USB storage device.

If you're using an Apple product you will run into the traditional file management limitations of iOS.You can only copy photos, videos and other files to the relevant libraries on your iPad or iPhone. You can't access the files from other apps, and you can't copy files from an iPad/iPhone to one of the storage devices connected to the AE400. Windows products see the AE400 as a normal hard disk, without any limitations.

The Adata AE400 is on sale at Expansys for £65. You can read the rest of this review on (opens in new tab).