Images courtesy of Verbatim.
If you're planning a long trip and you want to take your media library with you, there are several options available but all have their limitations. Verbatim's MediaShare Wireless device doesn't overcome all of these issues, but it is one of the most flexible, reliable and affordable solutions around.
For accessing your entertainment on the go you could use Pogoplug or Tonido devices to stream media files over the Internet from a networked hard drive in your home. Their effectiveness, however, depends on a decent Wi-Fi signal. Plex's Cloud Sync service works in a similar way but you have to pay for a Plex Pass and are limited by your cloud storage space and your provider's upload limits. Hard drives such as Seagate's Wireless Plus are also an option but they, too, have limited capacity.
With the MediaShare you don't have to worry about filling up storage space. This lightweight box, which is about the same thickness as an iPhone and slightly wider, is basically a mini router with an SD card slot and a USB socket. After the internal battery is charged and the device is powered on, it creates a local Wi-Fi network that you and four other users can connect to from a tablet or smartphone. You can access media files on an attached SD card, thumb drive or hard disc using an Android or iOS app.
Setting up the MediaShare is easy: you charge it from a power outlet or a computer using the included Micro-USB cable. Then you plug in your media drives, power it up and connect to its Wi-Fi signal using the SSID and password printed on the underside.
The MediaShare Wireless app that you need to access content connected to the drive looks dated but is easy to navigate and has AirPlay capability. It also has a detailed Settings menu that gives you the option to rename the device, set a password and set up a bridge to a wireless network that is connected to the Internet.
Another nice feature of the MediaShare device is its capacity to provide enough juice to some hard drives that would otherwise need an external power source. Moreover, if you want to attach more than one USB storage device, you can use a hub. The MediaShare's wireless signal can also be active while it is charging so you needn't worry about running out of power if an outlet is available.
The battery is said to last up to nine hours but such estimates should always be taken with a grain of salt. Battery life will probably be less than that, especially if you have more than one hard drive attached or more than one person connected to the Wi-Fi signal for an extended period.
The MediaShare's biggest downfall for travelers is that it is something else to pack along with any drives that you want to plug into it. Given its small footprint, flexibility and low price, though, it will still be worth its weight on your next long trip if you have a large and portable media library that you want access to.