Smartphones come with one major problem – the need to charge them, and do that daily. Wireless Charging has added some ease to the process, but it is still a faff. Chargers are pretty dull devices, your standard functional device to tick a box. SanDisk, renowned for their storage solutions, have come up with a brilliant idea to merge charging with backing up. The SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync promises to charge your device wireless as well as sync your photos and contacts on itself. Available in 128GB and 256GB packages, it offers plenty of storage, and allows up to 3 different devices to be connected to it.
SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync – Features
- Qi Certified 10W Wireless charging for Qi compatible phones
- Automatically backs up full resolution photos and videos, as well as contacts
- Supports multiple back up profiles
- Safety features built in
- Charges phone with cases
- Data on device accessible via Micro-USB port
- Works through Bluetooth and WiFi
- Available in 128GB and 256GB
Look and feel
Generally speaking, it looks like a thick soft shelled hard drive with a little dip on the top to place your phone.
The dip is an interesting feature for me, because I do wonder if it naturally pushes bigger phones away from the charger. Having said that, it does work with a case on for most phones, so probably not the biggest issue.
Also, on the case is an LED, quite low, so a bit hard to see unless the device is sitting eye level with you.
On the back you can see the charging port and a micro-USB port. Once again, I’d say this could have been USB-C. Interestingly, though I don’t blame SanDisk, they haven’t provided a Micro-USB cable with the device.
Comes with an AC Charger!
One polarising feature for the device is the fact that it comes with an AC plug. I, personally, prefer that option, but I can understand that some people might find it a waste.
Testing without setup
While I’ll come to the setup section shortly, I also wanted to test how this would work without being setup. That is, does the charger work like a charger without it doing any back up? The simple answer is yes, though I found it to be a bit fussy around phone placement, and it takes a bit of time to start charging.
To run this with its feature of back up, you need to install the app. Apps exist for both iOS and Android devices, and it is somewhat cumbersome but no real bother.
Annoyingly, it needs access to location to be able to back up, which I think is a bit pointless. It also wants constant access to location to be able to work seamlessly which seems even more pointless.
Setting up starts via the app, where you connect to it via Bluetooth, and then that uses that connection to connect to a WiFi network that the phone and this device must share. Only 2.4GHz networks are allowed, but that shouldn’t be an issue for most folk.
Once setup, you place your phone on the device, and theoretically, walk away.
Charge OR sync, not both
It’s probably a thermal management thing, but the device won’t charge and sync at the same time. This meant that at the initial setup, the device was shifting between backing up and charging every few seconds. On an iPhone, this means a vibration to indicate it going on charge (if set on silent).
This also means that the iPhone might move over time and go out of the charge zone if it has a case on it. Also, it going on and off charge every few seconds is probably not great for the battery either.
The device wasn’t without its connectivity issues. A lot of times, as I moved away from the charger, I would get a notification to toggle my Bluetooth on and off to reconnect. Sometimes I would be next to the device and it still wouldn’t connect, though it would eventually work.
The sync itself works over WiFi, so can essentially be ‘on it’ as soon as your device enters the same network, so I am not sure why Bluetooth or the charger working together is such a requirement. When it works, it is fairly seamless and you can see the fruits of its labour.
From there, you can then put things back in your phone if you like, or just delete items off your phone now that you have a back up.
Comparison with cloud services
If you went with a 200GB storage, iCloud will cost you £30 a year, while Google would cost you about £25. Both of those work without you needing to set anything up, but obviously, over 3 years or 4, this device will have paid for itself.
On the other hand, if you need a solution that keeps you away from the cloud, this ticks that box quite nicely!
More information on the SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync can be found on the Western Digital/SanDisk website.
It is available from around £90 and can be bought from the likes of Amazon.
While the device obviously has its perks, I feel like the execution could have been better. Luckily, the hardware is all there, so it is pretty much the app or the firmware that needs updating to bring the device more in line with the seamless solution that it has the potential of being.