FOR the past 20-odd years, quite literally every single USB stick I have encountered has used a USB-A connection (AKA ‘the square one that you can never get the device into on the first go’).
Increasingly, however, devices such as PCs, laptops, some tablets, and Android phones incorporate USB-C ports, which are that lovely small plug with the wide oblong shaped connector that fits in either way up.
Because nothing in life is simple, Apple iPhones and older iPads have a Lightning connector while newer iPads have a USB-C connector.
Transferring files between iPhones and Android phones has previously been a pain in the neck best accompanied by e-mailing the photos to the other person one or two at a time, or maybe using something like DropBox, WeTransfer or Google Drive if you want to get a bit fancy.
SanDisk have another solution: The iXpand Luxe USB stick which connects to both USB-C and Lightning.
The practical upshot of this is you have a USB stick which can transfer photos between Android and Apple smartphones as well as computers. I tested a 256GB review version (it also comes in 64GB and 128GB) with a Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, an Apple iPhone 12, my desktop gaming rig, an Asus Tuf Dash F15 laptop (review on its way!) and an Apple iPad Pro and it worked on everything except the iPad Pro.
With the computers and Android phone, it was a plug-and-play affair; I plugged it in, device recognised USB stick, I could drag and drop files. The Apple iPhone 12 required an additional app from SanDisk (which is free on the App Store).
The App is straightforward and easy to use, and files copied onto the disk from the app could be read by my Android phone and PC with no issues at all. It also had some helpful backup features too, so wasn’t just another limited-use app of the kind our phones so frequently end up having.
Surprisingly, the iXpand didn’t work with the iPad Pro – despite having a USB-C port, it wouldn’t acknowledge the stick when I plugged it in at all; this seems to be an iPad Pro thing since the stick worked fine with the other devices.
Speed-wise, it’s a bit average – a Crystal DiskMark 8 test on two separate computers returned a read speed around the 93MB/s range and a write speed of around 48MB/S – which is adequate for transferring pics and videos if you’re not in a hurry, but nowhere near what you’ll get with a a portable USB-C SSD.
Overall, if you’ve got multiple smartphones in your family, or need a portable way to transfer files from an Apple device to a PC (or a Mac), the SanDisk iXpand Luxe is going to be an extremely handy device to have available – it’s useful, practical, and does exactly what it promises.