Back in December I reviewed the Photofast iType-C thumb drive, the first MFi thumb drive we’ve seen that includes Lightning, USB-C, USB-A, and micro-USB in a single device. That makes transferring files between iPhone and iPad and your various other devices like computers, drones and cameras a lot easier. And a companion app for iOS lets you view media files directly from the drive for offline viewing and sharing, a useful feature especially for those without extra storage on their device.
This week PhotoFast launched a new version of the iType-C drive, this time adding a microSD card slot to the equation…
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The main unit that houses the microSD card reader includes Lightning on one end and USB Type-C on the other. A small adapter connects to the USB Type-C connector to add USB-A and microUSB.
For the most part the product is very similar to the one I previously reviewed with the addition of the microSD card reader in place of built-in internal storage. That means you’ll be able to use your own microSD cards, expand your storage capacity, and have the convenience of swapping them in and out. You’ll get USB 3.0 transfer speeds and up to 4K resolution for supported files types.
It comes with a free 4GB microSD card at the $89 price to get you started. The other version without the card reader comes with built-in storage capacities for $79 (64GB), $119 (128GB), and $239 (200GB).
It also slimmed down quite a bit versus the version with built-in storage, but otherwise the two include the same connectors.
There are a lot of these Lightning thumb drive products around, but the PhotoFast drives are the only ones I’ve seen that offer all 4 main connector types in a well put together package. As I noted last time around, the build-quality is solid with all metal connectors and clear caps to protect them when not in use. This one has a clear cap on the Lightning end that remains permanently attached to the rest of the product so you can’t lose it.
The companion iPhone app for the drive is called PhotoFast One (the drive itself also supports Android and Windows with exFAT and FAT32 file system support as well as macOS to connect to your other devices).
The app essentially gives you access to all of your files stored on the drive, something necessary for iOS where the traditional file system doesn’t allow you to easily do so as part of the operating system. So when you open the companion app, you’ll see all of the files on the drive including photos, videos, PDFs, etc, as well as available storage and a built-in media players to easily view all your content.
Everything streams right from the drive connected to your iPhone, so you can keep your large video files, presentations and photo collections from using up space on your device and still be able to view them when connected.
You’ll also find sharing and backup options for the usual social and cloud services. And you can zip and unzip files and use TouchID for password protection.
The app works well enough and is for the most part easy to navigate, but it doesn’t provide anything the other guys don’t. A direct YouTube download option to store videos for later offline viewing that I mentioned in my last review was a big differentiator for Photofast,
but it has unfortunately since been removed. Update: The company tells me the YouTube downloads feature should still be accessible, but it only appears when the drive is connected to the device. Check out our previous review for more on the app.
Should you buy it?
If you rely on using microSD cards for your file storage, whether it be a camera or other device that you need to transfer to your Mac or iOS device, or you just want the option to expand and swap out cards, PhotoFast is a solid Lightning drive option with just about every connector you need. It’s not the cheapest option around at $89– check out some of the alternatives here— but it offers more connectivity options and a free included 4GB microSD card. If microSD doesn’t interest you, check out our review of the previous version with built-in storage.
You can get the PhotoFast iType-C Reader drive ($89) now.