The iXPand Flash Drive Luxe (128GB model) caught my attention because it features dual purpose with USB-C and Apple Lighting connectors.
That’s convenient as it should work with nearly all modern devices that have at least USB-C. Sandisk has several usage models for it, such as file-sharing or backups. I’m not sure to understand why it’s better to use this device to file-share when you can simply connect the phone to a computer or use Airdrop, but I can relate with the backup functionality.
Too many people have zero backups, and while it’s a terrible situation, it is true. Users might not know how to use the cloud or don’t want to pay for cloud storage, but no matter the reason, I always recommend having at least one copy of your data, such as photos and videos. Other types of documents (PDF, Word etc.) are easy to back up at the same time.
The iXPand Flash Drive Luxe is a well-built (hence the “Luxe” name) and sturdy-looking device. I haven’t tried to break it, but looking at its design, I think that it can survive day-to-day drops, and if anything, I’d be afraid to lose it rather than breaking it. That’s why it’s got a little keyring hole to attach it to something bigger.
While USB drives are a dime a dozen, Sandisk had the foresight to add a free iPhone app named SanDisk iXpand that can automatically, or manually, backup your iPhone data. It doesn’t back up everything, so I still recommend having a whole phone backup through iTunes, but photos and other files can be backed-up as needed. Surprisingly there’s not a lot of competition in that space.
The SanDisk app user interface could use some work, and the constant “backup done. Should we delete all” are annoying, but it does fulfill its purpose of having a one-tap backup.
The backed-up files are simply copies of existing files, and you can mount them on any computer by connecting the USB key, perhaps to have another copy. For example, my iPhone 12 Pro Max photos went to a “Camera Roll Backup” folder, also visible from my PC.
For instance, it would be possible to create backups on the go if you’re going on a vacation without your computer. Or, you might be a professional who cannot afford to lose any data in-between two computer backups. Sometimes, it’s convenient to incrementally save files without having to use a PC/Mac.
The drive achieved sequential read and write speeds of 93MB/s and 44MB/s, respectively (tested on a PC). From a pure performance perspective, that’s far from what USB is capable of, but It is acceptable for a USB key in this category and an incremental backup usage. We’ve tested the 128GB, but there’s a 256GB version too.
Also, the key is formatted with the FAT file system, which is the most cross-compatible. Still, the performance might be better with APFS (Apple Filesystem) if you want to forgo compatibility. I haven’t tested that, and you should do a bit more research before doing so.
The drive will also show up as USB storage on Android, but you will have to use another app to write to it. Some OEMs like Samsung have support for USB backup via their Smart Switch app, and I found this Android Backup and Restore app interesting.
Overall, having something like the iXpand Flash Drive Luxe + App is a good idea if you don’t already have a real-time cloud backup. You never know when your phone can be stolen/lost/destroyed, and you should always treat it as a transient place for your data. You can replace a device with an identical one, but lost data is often irreplaceable.