PNY Duo-Link 3.0

£70 inc VAT (60p per GB) • pny.com

PC Advisor - - CONTENTS -

It might look like a USB flash drive – and it is – but there’s not too much dif­fer­ence be­tween the flash stor­age used in most por­ta­ble SSDs and the Duo-Link. The big ben­e­fit here is not the al­most im­pos­si­bly tiny size, but the fact this there are two con­nec­tors: full-size USB 3.0 and Light­ning. Hence the Duo-Link name. There’s a list of com­pat­i­ble iOS de­vices on PNY’s site.

Price

It should come as no sur­prise that the Duo-Link is ex­pen­sive. At 60p per GB, it’s one of the prici­est flash drives around. One rea­son is that you’re pay­ing ex­tra for the Light­ning con­nec­tor since Ap­ple charges com­pa­nies to use its tech­nol­ogy.

Fea­tures and de­sign

The de­sign is slightly dif­fer­ent from PNY’s older Duo-Link, but it still works in the same way: slide one way to ex­pose the Light­ning con­nec­tor and the other for the full-size USB port.

That USB con­nec­tor sup­ports USB 3.0 for faster trans­fers than the pre­vi­ous model, an­other rea­son to opt for this one. When you plug it into your iPhone or iPad, it will bring up a mes­sage telling you it works with an app you don’t have in­stalled and there’s a link to go straight to the Duo-Link 3.0 app in the App Store. Once in­stalled, you can view files on the drive.

Its pri­mary pur­pose is to of­fer ad­di­tional stor­age for your iPhone or iPad, although this is com­pletely sep­a­rate from the de­vice’s in­ter­nal stor­age. The app lets you watch movies and lis­ten to mu­sic stored on the drive, as long as they’re in a sup­ported for­mat – in our tests, it played MP4 files fine, but re­fused to play AVI. The video player is okay once you’ve fig­ured out the con­trols, but it doesn’t re­mem­ber your po­si­tion in a video.

The app can ac­cess your iOS Cam­era Roll and back up your pho­tos and videos to the Duo-Link drive and of­fers the op­tion to delete them from your phone or tablet, free­ing up space.

It’s just a shame that the app is al­most im­pen­e­tra­ble – the in­ter­face is un­in­tu­itive and there’s very lit­tle help or guid­ance. It took a great deal of trial and er­ror, ham­pered by the poorly worded but­tons and no­ti­fi­ca­tions, to work out how to do any­thing.

It’s also pos­si­ble to copy files be­tween the drive and the app, although the only real ben­e­fit is that it of­fers an easy way (which doesn’t in­volve iTunes) to copy films, TV shows and mu­sic to your phone. Don’t for­get, though, that you can ac­cess them only in the Duo-Link app.

Per­for­mance

The drive is for­mat­ted with exFAT for com­pat­i­bil­ity with iOS de­vices, Macs and PCs. We found that the drive’s per­for­mance was rel­a­tively poor, read­ing files at 90MB/s and writ­ing them at a lowly 26.2MB/s. That’s with large files. With small files – the type you’re un­likely to store on the drive – it was also poor, read­ing them at 2.9MB/s and writ­ing at 1.2MB/s.

Ver­dict

The only rea­son to choose the Duo-Link is to add stor­age for mu­sic and movies to your iPhone or iPad. While, tech­ni­cally, it does the job, it does it in such a ham-fisted way. Add to this the rel­a­tively poor per­for­mance and it’s hard to rec­om­mend. Jim Martin

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