I first reviewed Leef’s USB to Lightning thumb drive last year when I compared a handful of similar products just hitting the market at the time. The products are essentially standard USB stick drives, but with the addition of a Lightning connector, you can now have the convenience of thumb drive storage on your iPhone or iPad. My favorite of the bunch was the Leef iBridge, and now the company has a new version that adds a microSD card slot…
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It’s not necessarily a better version of the iBridge— Leef still sells that in 16GB ($59), 32GB ($79), 64GB ($119), 128GB ($199), 256GB ($399) capacities for those that want the built-in storage and a USB connector— but the addition of a microSD card slot on the new iAccess version will come in handy for a number of use cases.
For anyone with a device that takes a microSD card, like a GoPro-style camera or drone, the new version will make transferring files directly to an iPhone or iPad easier, bypassing the need to transfer over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or a cable. And you can also use it to transfer files from iOS device to iOS device.
The iAccess doesn’t have a USB connector on the opposite side of the Lightning like the iBridge, so it’s essentially built for those that want a quick way to transfer from microSD to iOS device, or iOS to iOS device only, as described above. You could also transfer from a device that uses an SD card if you have a microSD to SD adapter, which Leef happens to sell separately, as do others. But if you want to transfer from a USB device– for example, to grab some files off a MacBook and transfer to iOS– than iBridge is still your best bet.
It does keep the same J-shape design as the iBridge, however, allowing it to wrap around the iOS device and stay out of the way when connected. That’s one of the reasons, in addition to the product’s companion app (more on that below), that Leef’s iBridge was our favorite Lightning drive last year.
And it utilizes the same slick companion iOS app that we noted made the Leef iBridge our top pick in our comparison of Lightning thumb drives last year. Apps for the handful of other products I tested last year just didn’t stack up. Leef’s app makes it easy to view, manage, and move files around within the app and to a connected device. It also builds in features for streaming content directly from iAccess to your iOS device and allows you to automatically have photos and video taken on your iOS device stored directly to the connected SD card.
Here’s a look at the main features of the iPhone app:
It’s also cheaper than the iBridge version from last year, selling for $49.99. However, that is without the necessary microSD card. Leef sells its own microSD cards with SD card adapter starting at $17.99 for 16GB. But you can grab microSD cards and SD adapters on Amazon starting as low as $5.
There are somewhat cheaper competitors on the market, but Leef’s wraparound design and well designed companion app make it worth the slightly higher price tag.