DATA IN A PINCH

Kingston Mo­bileLite Wire­less G2

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST - by Zachary Chan

The Kingston Mo­bileLite Wire­less G2 is de­scribed as a ‘wire­less me­dia reader’—it says so right on the box, but that’s sell­ing it short. It’s ac­tu­ally a ‘wire­less me­dia reader that is also a por­ta­ble Wi-Fi/LAN/3G router and a backup bat­tery charger all-in-one’, but I guess that won’t fit. As its name im­plies, this is the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion Mo­bileLite de­vice from Kingston. The ma­jor im­prove­ments to the G2 in­clude a much larger bat­tery—4,640mAh on the G2 com­pared to just 1,810mAh on the orig­i­nal—plus LAN and 3G con­nec­tiv­ity op­tions in ad­di­tion to Wi-Fi.

Out­wardly, the G2 has four ports: an Eth­er­net port at the rear, a full-sized USB port and SD card slot to the left and one mi­cro USB port in front. The front mi­cro USB port is ba­si­cally used to recharge the G2. How­ever, in ad­di­tion to be­ing charged, it will also turn the G2 into a stan­dard wired card reader when con­nected to a PC. The G2 will read any USB drive or SD/SDHC/ SDXC that’s plugged into the side ports and sup­ports FAT, FAT32, NTFS and exFAT for­mat­ted drives.

To use it as a backup bat­tery, you con­nect your smart­phone to the side USB port and turn the G2 on. Just re­mem­ber that the G2 has two op­er­at­ing modes. Press­ing the power but­ton once ini­ti­ates a bat­tery test mode. Press­ing and hold­ing the power but­ton for longer than 3 sec­onds will turn the G2 on fully. If you just want to charge your phone, you should do it in the bat­tery test mode, since this will not en­able its Wi-Fi fea­tures that drain its bat­tery faster.

Con­nec­tion with the Mo­bileLite G2 must first be es­tab­lished via Wi-Fi. This means dis­con­nect­ing from mo­bile data or other Wi-Fi net­works that your smart­phone, tablet, or PC/note­book is cur­rently con­nected to. If your main goal is merely to ac­cess data or stream movies from the G2, this shouldn’t pose an is­sue. If you don’t want to lose your in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity, the G2 al­lows you to have your cake and eat it too. As a mo­bile

router, the G2 has three ways to con­nect to the in­ter­net. You can con­nect di­rectly it via its Eth­er­net port, as a bridge to an ex­ist­ing Wi-Fi net­work, or by us­ing a USB 3G don­gle. How­ever, if you chose to last op­tion, it will oc­cupy the USB port and you’ll be left with only the SD card slot for data.

To in­ter­act with the G2, you have to down­load the Mo­bileLite app. It sup­ports An­droid 4.0+, iOS 7 and above, plus Kin­dle Fire and Fire HD de­vices, so the app is avail­able on Google Play, Ap­ple and Ama­zon App Stores. The app acts as a file man­ager to read and copy files be­tween your smart­phone and the G2, plus the con­trol panel to configure its wire­less set­tings, view bat­tery sta­tus or re­boot the de­vice.

By de­fault, the Mo­bileLite app will rec­og­nize some pop­u­lar for­mats such as mp3, mp4, wav and jpg, and sort them by pho­tos, videos and mu­sic. How­ever, the G2 is not a me­dia streamer; it has no na­tive file play­back fea­tures. It will al­low you to ac­cess just about any file on con­nected USB drives or SD cards, but to open, view or play­back these files, you’ll need an ap­pro­pri­ate app on your smart­phone or tablet such as VLC.

Although the G2 is de­signed as a mo­bile com­pan­ion, you can ac­tu­ally ac­cess its con­tents wire­lessly from a note­book just the same. How­ever, since there doesn’t seem to be a Win­dows or OS X app, you can only ac­cess its files and set­tings via web in­ter­face. The prob­lem here is that you have to man­u­ally find its cur­rent IP ad­dress and in­put that in your browser, which isn’t that straight­for­ward.

In use, the G2 per­formed as ad­ver­tised. Wired con­nec­tion and charg­ing fea­tures are pretty much stan­dard. The Wi-Fi con­nec­tion it cre­ated was rock solid for stream­ing even full HD movies, though there was a drop in wire­less speeds when us­ing Wi-Fi bridge mode to ac­cess the in­ter­net. The app could use some pol­ish in the UI de­part­ment, but it is speedy and es­tab­lishes a con­nec­tion very fast. The Kingston Mo­bileLite Wire­less G2 is ac­tu­ally one of the few well-thought out de­vices that I can see be­ing of real use, es­pe­cially dur­ing trav­els. My only real com­plaint is the lack of proper doc­u­men­ta­tion that de­tails ex­actly what it is ca­pa­ble of. There isn’t even a quick start guide in the pack­ag­ing.

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