Over the past couple weeks we've taken a look at the CR8800 which is a small, lighting connected micro SD card reader/writer by PhotoFast. To test it out, we also had to download and install the companion software i-FlashDrive One (a free download using qr code on back of packaging). The device we reviewed came with a 16gb card and retails for $39.99 though we understand that the device may not come with a micro SD card all the time so be sure to look at the contents carefully before purchasing.
What's it for?
Well I can attest to always needing more memory on my devices and I see it happen with my children, my wife and many friends. In my experience, people complain about a couple things that this device seems to address – 1.) lack of memory and 2.) lack of backup. I'd say the former is generally more an issue than the latter but lack of backup is not uncommon. With each new generation of phone, the photo and video sizes are rising and the camera specs improve but memory is still at a premium. With my 5S, I had 64GB and with the 6S Plus I'm at 128GB but on both I find myself using up the available space. For people with 16 or 32 GB the problem with memory presents itself even faster. I regularly have to remove photo's from my wife's 6 to make room for more.
This card reader makes the job of backing up or removing the photos very easy and it makes the task of backing up other critical information equally as easy. You'll see some of these functions in the video below.
In addition, if space is not really your problem, the software will facilitate several additional functions and has several interfaces. First off you can download and side load YouTube and Vimeo videos. This is especially handy for road trips or long flights where you want to be able to watch your favorite online videos while you're in airplane mode or otherwise not attached to a network. Merely playing the video starts the download process and the video ends up in internal memory on your device. Unfortunately, there's no visual indicator that this is taking place but it does happen – I've tested it several times. Another somewhat minor issue is you can't actually choose what video you download.. again, it just happens. So, maybe something to look in to for a future release.
You may also record sounds and work with zip files. Personally, there's not a ton of utility for me in these features but they are there and seem to work just fine.
Next, you can setup linkage (up/download) with Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, Baidu PCS and you can access Facebook albums, Instagram, Tumblr – Plus, in settings you can link Flickr but did not see icon on main screens to access Flickr. With all these interfaces you could backup from several services and back up to Dropbox, Google, iCloud and Baidu using this software. Since it hits so many of the popular social media and storage solutions, the software could be your main place for transferring data to and from various places for backup or whatever.
Even if you didn't have the CR8800, you may want to take a look at this software for its various features and functionality. It can stand alone but the addition of the hardware adds just that much more functionality. Once documents are stored locally just a few taps allow data to be moved off the device for access later or via some other device.
Also, the software allows you to secure the app and the hardware making it a good choice if you're worried about your contacts, calendars or photos getting in to wrong hands.
We have a device for $39.99 and potentially a few dollars more for memory card(s) plus software that has many features and functions built in. I haven't seen the exact same combination to date from one company – there are alternate downloaders but those typically only will grab a certain site and don't offer seamless backup to a device. Likewise there are alternate storage devices that offer a lightning to micro sd connection (a simple amazon search reveals several) but not the easy interface to so many other backup solutions. So, to date, I've not seen something that provides as much utility in one package for the price. If you've seen something like this, please note in the comments and we'll do our best to get our hands on one for comparison.
Using our standard 5 point scale – I'd give a 4.5 with slight deductions for the inability to stop or choose video downloads and not being able to view the video download status.
Please see the video below –