As a reader of ITProPortal, I think it's safe to assume you appreciate the many wonders of technology, and how far it has come over the years. Powerful smartphones and tablets have conquered most of the world, and they will continue to get better and better.
However, there are still a number of glaring shortcomings that technology has still not successfully addressed. For example, I've lost count of the number of times a friend has uttered the words, "Yeah, the phone's great, but it would be nice if the battery lasted at least a whole day." Another big pain is the mission of trying to expand your storage cheaply and transfer files quickly between multiple devices.
The RAVpower wireless external Wi-Fi disk with 3,000mAh built-in power bank is a nifty little device, packed to the brim with features designed to tackle these everyday problems. I spent a week with the gadget, to find out if it is quite as effective as billed.
Clad in a glossy white plastic case with light blue trim and rounded edges and corners, the first thing that strikes you is that it's rather easy on the eye. Measuring in at 118 x 77 x 13mm and a paltry 124g (the Samsung Galaxy S4 weighs 130g), it's also extremely hand- and pocket-friendly. Despite the plastic casing it feels like a pretty solid device, and I felt comfortable treating it with a bit of force.
It features a USB 2.0 port, SD slot, micro USB, an on/off button and a reset button. Also on board are four LEDS to indicate WAN, Wi-Fi, read/write and battery activity.
As a person who regularly forgets to fully charge his mobile phone before a long day out of the house, I found the battery pack particularly handy. So far I haven't needed it to fully pump a completely flat power pack, but it has been well capable of topping my Lumia 900 up to a comfortable level when required.
This barely scratches the surface of what this device is capable of though. The RAVpower Wi-Fi disk is way more than just an emergency juice pack. After turning it on and downloading the requisite free apps - MobileFun for Windows, Mac and Android and AirStor for iOS - the Wi-Fi disk popped up as a Wi-Fi connection (802.11 b/g/n), and pairing it with my PC and iPod, via the login details provided, was a doddle.
This brought up the special Wi-Fi disk interface on my laptop, which was pretty straightforward to navigate. My external hard drive was first to gain the privilege of pairing with the RAVpower device. From this interface, I was able to manage all files stored on the disk. Furthermore, I was able to upload, copy and download documents at the push of a button, with the gadget boasting read and write speeds of 3MB/s and 3.5MB/s, respectively. File management was just as easy on my iPod, with a simple, no frills click-to-select system efficient enough for quick data sharing.
I then connected it with my external hard drive and Wi-Fi router simultaneously, which converted the Wi-Fi disk into a sort of super storage centre-portable WLAN hotspot hybrid, meaning I could surf the web at the same time as wirelessly accessing my documents, pictures and videos.
According to the manufacturer, five different devices should be able to connect to it simultaneously and, sure enough, I managed to hook up five different machines at once, with my housemates able to stream movies from my storage box without hassle from all over the flat.
All in all, I rate the RAVpower external Wi-Fi disk and power bank highly and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone searching for an inexpensive way to ramp up the storage on their devices.
Cloud storage services have gained in popularity over the last year or so, but these can often cost an arm and a leg. Available from Amazon with a pricetag of $44.99 (£29) for a limited time, there really isn't a good reason not to try the RAVpower device.
Additionally, it's small, pretty and tough enough to invigorate your smartphone battery.
My only issue with the gadget has absolutely nothing to do with the hardware, but it is still worthy of a gripe. As a Windows Phone user, I was not able to connect to the Wi-Fi disk wirelessly, as only Android and iOS apps are currently in existence.
If any single peripheral had to be chosen to represent the best of multi-functional devices, this would be a serious contender. The RAV in RAVpower stands for reliable, affordable value – and that's exactly what the device delivers.