A great concept with a faulty execution.

I’ve always been a fan of products that can pull double duty. I think it’s great that a product can complete more than one task at a time. One set of products that can do this is the iXPand series of products from SanDisk. This family of products allows the user to backup their phone while completing a secondary task at the same time. I recently had the opportunity to test out the Wireless Charger Sync which is part of the iXPand family. With this device, you can charge your phone while backing it up. 

DETAILS

The iXPand Wireless Charger Sync from SanDisk is available in three capacities – 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB. The charger part of the device supports fast wireless charging for Qi-compatible smartphones including iPhones and phones from Samsung. While your phone is charging, it will also automatically back up photos and videos directly to the charger. The charger delivers up to 10W of power. Every time you charge your phone will also be backed up, which can provide extra space on your phone. Once your phone has backed up, you can delete those files and free up space on your phone. 

SanDisk iXpand Wireless Charger Sync

The iXPand Wireless Charger Sync comes with a high-efficiency power plug with a 6-foot cable. The charger also supports personal backup profiles for different users so that multiple family members can utilize them. The charger supports wireless charging through cases up to 3mm thick. It’s important to note that magnetic or metal attachments will prevent charging. 

SPECS

  • Capacity: 64 GB, 128 GB, or 256 GB
  • Compatibility: Any Qi-compatible smartphone including iPhone 8/8Plus or newer, Samsung Galaxy S6 and newer, Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and newer, Google Pixel 3 or newer
  • Dimensions: 7.93″ x 0.77″ x 3.95″
  • In the Box: iXPand Charger with built-in charger, power adapter with 6-foot cable, and quick start guide

USER EXPERIENCE

The iXPand Wireless Charger Sync comes in a nice retail package. The front of the box has an image of the device on the front with the details of the specific model/capacity charger you have. The sides of the box also include details of the device including the compatible devices and what’s included in the package. Overall, I think it’s a very nice retail package because if I saw it on a shelf in a store, I would know exactly what to expect from the contents. The box can be opened by tearing off a strip at the bottom of the box and cutting through a couple of pieces of tape on either side of the box. The front of the box opens up to reveal the charger with a tray separating it and the power cable. I was impressed with how small the charger actually is. It is only slightly larger than a standard charging pad and easily accommodates modern smartphones.

SanDisk iXpand Wireless Charger Sync

Next, I removed the charger and its power cable from the box and plugged it in. Once I had the device ready to charge, I placed my phone on the charging pad and let it charge for a short period of time. Normally, when I test out chargers, I will let a phone charge for 30 minutes and check the progress every 10 minutes. When the charging session has been completed, I divide the total amount of battery power gained by the total amount of time the phone was charging to get the charging rate. In this case, I started charging the phone at a 29% battery level. After 13 minutes, it had gained 13% battery power. That’s a charging rate of 1% per minute, which is very good for a wireless charger. 

SanDisk iXpand Wireless Charger Sync

I checked the charging progress at 20 minutes to discover that the LED indicator was flashing and the phone had stopped charging. I don’t really know how much longer after the first 13 minutes that the phone had stopped charging, but the phone was only at 46%. I attempted re-seating the phone on the charging pad, which worked for a few seconds, and then the LED started blinking again. I took the case off the phone and the phone started charging again for a few seconds and then stopped again. My phone was not being used for any other tasks at this time so I don’t know why the charging function was unable to continue normally. I will admit that perhaps this is a localized issue with the iPhone 12 Pro. Since it’s a MagSafe compatible phone, perhaps that inhibits the charging function a bit. The information on the charger does indicate that it will not work with cases with built-in magnets, but I feel that if the MagSafe function was the problem then the phone wouldn’t have charged at all and it did initially. I tried again a few hours later and it still wouldn’t maintain a charging connection – with or without the case on the phone. 

  • SanDisk iXpand Wireless Charger Sync
  • SanDisk iXpand Wireless Charger Sync
  • SanDisk iXpand Wireless Charger Sync
  • SanDisk iXpand Wireless Charger Sync

After testing the charging function, I backtracked a little and downloaded the iXPand app from the Apple App Store. The process of setup was pretty simple. First, the app requests Bluetooth connection and pairing between your phone and the iXPand device. Once that is granted, you are asked to connect the iXPand device to your home WiFi. This part actually confused me a little because I kept losing the connection between the phone and the Wireless Charger Sync. The app kept notifying me to toggle the Bluetooth connection in the Settings of the iXPand app. I thought that was odd since the phone and device were both connected to the same WiFi as well as Bluetooth. Why should the connection be disrupted at all? 

In addition to the connection issue, I wasn’t completely thrilled with the interface of the app. When you set it up, then you end up having to select auto backup in order to get anything backed up to the iXPand. You do have the flexibility to select specific photos or videos, but I would prefer to have the option to manually backup items rather than have it set to automatic 100% of the time. The app looks nice and it’s very clean. I like that the homepage shows you your phone’s battery status and the storage space available on both the phone and the iXPand, but I don’t really like the functionality of the auto backup. I did like that the app let me know that the phone was having trouble connecting to the iXpand device. 

CONCLUSION

I absolutely love the concept of this device. I think it’s a great combination – charging and backup – but unfortunately, this system didn’t quite work out for me as described. I do hope that other users have better luck with it than I did because this is a really great concept that just fell flat for me.

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