Corsair Voyager Air review - iPhone, iPad compatible, compact drive
The Voyager Air drive from Corsair combines a portable wireless drive, network attached storage drive (NAS), USB drive and wireless hub in one neat package. About pocket-sized, yet heavier than more simple portable drives, it's also Apple iOS and Google Android compatible via dedicated apps for sharing content to smartphones and tablets. It's powered by a high-capacity 6200mAh rechargeable battery, which can't be user replaced yet promises up to seven hours of use from a full charge. You get fair warning when the battery is running down - first amber then red - and you have the option to top up via USB, power cable and even adaptor for the car. For those accessories, Corsair includes a neat carry pouch, which is just as well as they can be easily mislaid on your travels and around the home.
Out the box the Voyager Air is ready for PC users, but needs to be reformatted to HFS+ to better support Macs and Apple's backup utility Time Machine. This can easily be done by selecting Disk Utility from the Utilities folder and selecting Mac OS Extended (Journaled), although of course will wipe any data, so best done first. The drive also supports Linux, with plans for games consoles and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) enabled TVs in the pipeline. Once files are copied over you can access those files via a dedicated Wi-fi hotspot, which appears on your iOS device as VoyagerAir under Wi-fi settings and doesn't require an actual internet connection.
The free Voyager Air app is functional at best, a bare bones display shows folders and any local files - grouped under documents, music, photos and videos - with no option to search files easily. You can access files copied to the drive or stored locally on the app, but as the app only supports a small selection of file types this is a frustrating experience. An .avi file for instance isn't compatible, the option to 'Open with' continually failed due to the file size and even copying the file over to the app, the prompted option, proved unsuccessful. While at the mercy of Apple here, you have to wonder why Corsair would make a device that makes sharing so simple yet severely limit what can be shared, without first converting files to an iOS compatible format. It's even more frustrating when you consider apps, some free, can play numerous file formats without issues.
Up to five users can at least access those compatible files at one time and those that play look great, although when the Voyager Air is connected via USB, both Wi-fi and Ethernet connectivity are disabled, so this option is best for copying files and not sharing the drive. The drive itself appears well made, although the black and red design and array of lights appears squarely aimed at PC gamers.
The Voyager Air drive is a decent start and great idea with plenty of potential, especially for iPad and iPhone users who want to free space, let down by a less than appealing iOS app with limited support for file types. If Corsair can address this and improve compatibility with third party apps capable of reading those files, they should be onto a winner.