Rav1

Made by: RAVPower
Price: $44.99

Hardware/iOS Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
Usability Rating: ★★★★½
Reuse Value Rating: ★★★★½
Build Quality Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Bottom Line: This 5-in-one media hub provides plenty of muli-function utility.

Recommended

As much as we like to tout the concept of mobility and the retirement of wires, moving and accessing big files can still be somewhat of an albatross. Accessories with multiple levels of functionality are especially hard to ignore, which is why pieces like the RAVPower Wireless Filehub/Media Drive are so valuable. On paper, at least.

The Filehub is mostly black hard plastic with white accents; white lettering spells out the company name, and the same coloring is used for the icons on the top that mark the LED indicators for battery level, wi-fi, read/write functionality, and internet connectivity. There is a microUSB port on the side adjacent to the silver power button, and at the “bottom” there are ports for USB and SD card. Altogether, it is quite pocketable, barely any larger than a smartphone at 4.6 x 0.6 x 3.1 inches and less than 5 ounces. It also includes its own USB cable.

The gadget isn’t just a drive on its own; where it shines is its advertised ability to read and disseminate data (wirelessly if needed), especially when an iOS device is paired to it via the companion AirStor app. In a simple scenario, an SD card popped into the the Filehub can then have the data contained therein read, transferred, and acted upon. In practice, it acts smoothly; the aforementioned app is a very useful gateway, allowing one to manage the onboard data from, say, an iPhone. USB storage devices like external drives are just as compatible.

Rav2With a USB stick or SD card peripheral attached, the data can be seen by iOS Devices. The Filehub streams, so movies can be watched via the devices (up to 5 in testing) that are connected to it. It works as a NAS tunnel via web interface as well, and connects to and redistributes local wi-fi when connected.

As noted, overall functionality is what makes accessories truly valuable, and the Filehub has one more trick up its sleeve: it serves as a portable 3000 mAh power bank for mobile devices. In real life usage it works equitably, topping off a half depleted iPhone via USB charging in less than an hour.

Using it as a power bank has an obvious opportunity cost, as this depletes the power needed for its other tasks. The iOS companion app, while useful, feels clunky at times. Also, the SD card slot requires an SD card adapter for iOS users that might be invested in smaller storage card standards.

For a simple device with several uses, it’s hard to muster up even a half-serious sneer against the Filehub. It kicks one-trick ponies firmly in the backside. It’s an accessory’s accessory, and gets high marks for being a cross-platform solution.

Recommended.

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