17 January 2015

REVIEW: Leef iBridge Mobile Memory

Never a bridge too far.

Regular readers might already have noticed a slight bias to The Test Pit. You see, by sheer cosmic coincidence all the contributors to this mighty little website have Android phones, not iPhones. There are various reasons for that, but probably one of the biggest reoccurring gripes we all have with Apple's product is the lack of expandable storage. However, our collective opinion might have to change now that Leef have released their latest gorgeous gizmo, the iBridge.

Massive fans of Leef, we've reviewed (and given away) most of the Californian tech company's latest releases. Our favourite thus far has to be the Bridge 3.0 flash drive, the tiny powerhouse of storage that is compatible with both a computer and your Android phone. Now Leef have turned their attention to the other half of mobile device users and created the iBridge - a flash drive compatible with iOS 8 gadgets.

Just like the Bridge 3.0, the iBridge features two separate connectors in the form of the standard USB (for your computer and laptop) and a Lightning connector (for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod). Unlike the Bridge 3.0 however, those connectors face in the same direction, having been curled around on the Lighting end. This means that although it looks like a standard (if unusual) flash drive when plugged into your laptop, when connected to your iPhone you are barely aware of it, as it curls around the back of the device.

This is a great feature as not only does it look nice, but the rest of the drive is tucked away and protected instead of sticking out and being at risk of knocks and damaged. This makes it actually practical to use while on the go, and when used in conjunction with Leef's iOS app, photos can be taken and instantly stored to the iBridge. So now you don't feel so bad for having bought the cheaper iPhone with the smaller storage capacity.  

Cap on...
Due to that curled design it does mean there is one issue: cap. Yes, this flash drive does feature a non-attached protective cap which slides on to cover both USB and Lightning connectors. So when in use, the cap is free to rattle about in your pocket, and if you are anything like we are when it comes to small bits of plastic, you're probably going to lose it. Don't be like us.

...cap off.
That was the only negative we could come up with though, as after downloading the app and plugging it into an iOS 8 device, we were very impressed. The app gave the iPhone a familiar Android-y feel, with access to files and documents in a more accessible way like Google's OS. We loved that the app was organised in ways you might actually want to use the iBridge, so you gate 'Transfer Files', 'Access Content' and, most useful to those already pushing the limits of their phone's storage, 'iBridge Camera' to automatically redirect saved photos there. Transfer rates were super quick and reading large files such as films from the iBridge to watch on the phone was a flawless process.

One thing to note: this is still a device designed to work with an Apple product so there might be licensing conflictions with iTunes. We tried to copy some songs out of our iTunes app and it would not let us. Thats not a fault of Leef's, just Apple's older restrictions concerning music paid for from iTunes. Get more info on that from Leef's website.

Coming in 16, 32, 64, 128 and - incredibly - 256GB options, the iBridge solves a lot of problems that are inherit in Apple's rather strict design regimen. Now everyone can enjoy storage expansion, and thanks to this sleek gadget, you'll look pretty awesome doing so.

From £49

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