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RAVPower designs unique, high-quality, low-cost backup power devices. To my knowledge, they created the very first backup battery-flashlight hybrid. Now they’ve done something else entirely – their newest device integrates a miniature WiFi file server into a backup battery: The RAVPower RP-WD01. The WD01 retails for $44.99 on Amazon.
A variety of backup batteries inhabit marketplaces, but to my knowledge, no other company manufactures a storage-drive battery-bank hybrid. However, I did see a power bank/projector, but no other company manufactures a WiFi storage drive combined with a backup battery. Even compared to the weird gizmos I’ve seen on eBay, the WD01 is an extraordinarily exotic device.
The WD01 can charge mobile devices and function as a standalone wireless storage drive, but do you need both features in the same package? And is it worth the money?
It’s important to note that unlike the Corsair Voyager Air and Patriot Gauntlet we tested, the RAVPower RP-WD01 isn’t fitted with any onboard flash memory or hard drive. It acts as a wireless file server, allowing you to insert SD cards, connect USB flash drives and portable hard drives, and access the data from your computer or mobile device.
It comes in two boxes, the first fitted inside of the second, like a Matryoshka Doll. Inside of the second box lay the RP-WD01. It’s a slim, rectangular box, about the same size as a 2.5-inch hard drive or smartphone. Held under bright light, its piano-white finish displays a lustrous sheen. Aesthetically, it’s a very simple and straightforward design. It features four LED status indicator lights: A green battery status light, and blue WiFi, transfer and Internet display lights.
- Single band 802.11b/g/n WiFi
- SD slot
- microUSB charging port
- USB 1 Amp I just wanoutput port
- Samsung-branded, 3,000 mAh lithium-ion battery
Getting Started with the RAVPower RP-WD01
Getting started with the RAVPower RP-WD01 doesn’t require much effort. There are two ways of using it: Either as a backup battery or a wireless storage drive.
To recharge your device, simply plug it into your smartphone or tablet using its USB port. From there, it will begin recharging.
WiFi Storage Drive
To access the storage drive, you must perform a setup and configuration process or, alternatively, access it as a WiFi device (which I prefer).
Accessing The RP-WD01
There are two ways that you can wirelessly access the flash storage device on the WD01. First, by connecting to the devices wirelessly through your desktop, smartphone or tablet; second, through a mobile application, such as the Android app RAV FileHub and AirStor, the iOS app.
On a Windows desktop, I simply connected to the device’s WiFi access point ‘WiFiSD-XXXX’ (accessed through wireless networks) and then entered the password ‘11111111’. This step causes the connection to your router to drop off, as you are now connected to the WD01. The device then can be accessed through your web browser by visiting ‘10.10.10.254’. After that, I logged in (username: admin; password: none) and then gained access to the drive. At this point, you can also set a password and change the username. Instead of accessing the drive through a browser, you may also use RAVPower’s custom application,.
For those of you seeking to connect through your mobile device, the process is the same, and obviates the use of an app.
There exist a great many ways of interacting with the files stored on the WD01. For additional set up and configuration tips, I suggest reading the extended manual, which includes information on using both the WD01 and your local network simultaneously.
The WP01 possesses two distinct functions – first, as a file-server, second, as a backup battery. The WD01 offers a method to wirelessly sync files between mobile devices and/or desktops, without resorting to an external cloud server. For mobiles devices lacking SD card support, such as the Nexus series or many iOS devices, the WD01 offers a unique solution to a very serious design flaw.
File Server Performance
As a file server, the WD01 functions as well as one might expect. After a semi-lengthy, although uncomplicated, setup process, I found it quite easy to access and stream media files through my browser. It’s best seen as a simple location to store files which one can access via mobile device (or desktop). It also supports simultaneous connection of up to five devices.
On the downside, the custom software used to link the WP01 to desktops needs more visual polish. Although functional and easy to use, its graphical interface appears far less polished than the mobile apps available. On the other hand, you can access the WD01 using any file explorer capable of interacting with SAMBA or SMB connections (read our article on setting up streaming techologies, such as SMB). Given the ease of accessing the drive through a browser or file explorer, the accompanying software is entirely optional.
The WP01 should work with any mobile device, including Blackberry and Windows Phone. For iOS and Android mobile devices, there exist two apps that automate the connection process:
- Android: Connecting to the WD01 can be done using either your favorite file application, through a web browser or using RAVPower’s RAV Filehub app. The connection process is incredibly simple. Just connect to the ‘WiFiSD-XXXX’ WiFi network and input the password, which is blank, without additional configuration.
- iOS: RAVPower also publishes a pairing app that you can find in their app store: AirStor. However, I was unable to test this app, and cannot speak as to its quality. Reviews generally favor the app, though. As a side note: for those of you getting poor battery life on iOS 7, you might be better off adjusting your settings.
USB Drive Performance
Accessing the WP01 on a Windows 7 machine through USB didn’t require much work at all. I simply connected the device and my files were accessible as an external storage device. Transfer speeds were on par with writing to flash memory over a USB cable, at around 3-3.5 MB/s.
It’s also worth noting that you can connect both an SD card and a USB flash storage device – these show up as separate drives. While many desktop users might scoff at the utility of such a feature, this adds a great deal of value to mobile users who lack both SD card and USB drive slots.
Backup Battery Performance
RAVPower recommends discharging and charging the battery four to five times before it reaches its maximum performance. I only discharged it twice, but found it performed as expected pretty much out of the box. After plugging it in to a standard USB port, the WP01 managed to recharge in about 3-4 hours, which is about right for a 3,000 mAh battery. Using the USB cable included with the battery, I found that the battery charged a Nexus 7 (4,325 mAh battery) in a slightly longer period amount of time (more than four hours).
For a 3,000 mAh battery, the WD01 borders on the bulky, although its slim form factor grants it a high degree of portability. It fits inside of most coat and pants pockets, although with not a great deal of room remaining.
A note of caution: I must warn against using a short-length USB cable. Short-length USB cables provide less electrical resistance, and therefore there’s less loss of power when energy transfers between the battery bank and your device. However, I’ve noticed that short-length cables tend to cause the battery bank to overheat, which might prove disastrous. I tried a short-length cable with the WD01 and didn’t experience any overheating. If you prefer the efficiency of a short-length cable, as a precaution, I would read up on the potential dangers that an overcharged battery can cause.
Should you buy the RAVPower RP-WD01 Wireless File Hub and Power Bank?
The RAVPower RP-WD01 provides a unique device in the sea of backup batteries available to consumers. In my experience, it’s a well-designed, highly functional device with few vices. While the pairing software and process need a bit more visual polish (such as drag-and-drop functionality), the overall experience feels seamless and efficient.
For what you pay ($44.99) on Amazon, the WD01 absolutely kills as a multifunctional device. While the onboard storage won’t hold much more than the size of the SD card or flash drive that you use, it’s great for keeping important documents that you may need to access wirelessly from a mobile device lacking an SD card slot. I highly recommend the device for mobile professionals who occasionally need to access information held on an SD card. As backup battery, the 3,000 mAh capacity is enough to fully charge most smartphones and many tablets.
MakeUseOf recommends: The WD01 fulfills a unique niche in the Android and iOS ecosphere by providing both a means of charging your device on-the-go while also giving both USB and SD card support.
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