Verbatim MediaShare Wireless review

The Verbatim MediaShare transforms USB drives and SD cards into network attached storage for media streaming to your mobile gadgets. It proved efficient at doing this during our tests, but we also found ourselves feeling a bit frustrated about what it can’t do.

MediaShare is a portable network hotspot, not much bigger than a pack of cards or a mobile phone, that can be used to extend the storage capability of your iOS or Android device.

The device has a USB 3.0 slot that can be used with a USB HDD or a USB key. The SD card slot supports SD, SDHC and SHXC cards up to 64GB.

The device charges via a micro-USB port. As is increasingly the case, the MediaShare ships without a charger - but there’s a bundled cable so you can charge from your computer’s USB port. The MediaShare can also be used to emergency charge your mobile phone with the right cable.

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We tested it on iPad and iPhone - and also on a Nexus 7. Connecting to the MediaShare is as easy as configuring any WiFi connection; you just find the broadcast hotspot ID and enter a device specific password in your WiFi settings. You can connect up to five devices at once.

You’ll need to download the (free) MediaShare Wireless App from the iOS App Store or Google Play to browse the MediaShare on your tablet or phone. It acts as a simple file finder and media player for the images, music and video stored on a USB key or SD card connected to the device. You can also use the app to bridge to your local router or another Internet connection, so you can carry on browsing the web as you use the MediaShare.

In our tests, video streaming was stable enough even at HD file sizes to stream to our test devices. Verbatim’s specs claim 2Mbits per second. If you do experience jittering or have problems with interference, you can download files and play them locally instead.

We gave the battery a work out with video too and clocked up just over 8 hours use. Verbatim’s documentation claims between 7 and 9. Whichever way you slice it, that’s good enough for most long car journeys or a few episodes of Mad Men at the Travelodge.

Our frustrations came from the fact that you can only access files through the MediaShare using the dedicated app. On iOS, this proved to be a pain when we tried to stream movies wrapped in the popular AVI container format - as the media player defaulted to Apple’s built-in QuickTime. There are workarounds for this, but none are particularly convenient.

We were also disappointed to find that there’s no app for OS X or Windows - and attempts to connect to the device via it’s IP address didn’t work for us either.

OUR VERDICT

On the whole, the Verbatim MediaShare Wireless Portable Streaming Device is a good choice as a music or video streamer for travellers, as long as you’re aware of the bundled app’s shortcomings. Shop around too - you may find it quite a bit cheaper than the £49.99 RRP.

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