HyperDrive for iPad user review

Mike on the dpreview.com Storage and Media forum posted this great HyperDrive review. He has kindly agreed to let me share it here on my blog.

As I am about to embark on a long Italian trip, you can understand that I am “all ears” on subjects dealing with travel photography.

So here it is’ my second guest post:


As I promised on another thread, I am posting my first experiences with the HyperDrive iPad Hard Drive. I am not a professional reviewer and this is not intended as a formal review, so please keep that in mind. Nonetheless the post turned out to be so long that I decided to post it as a separate thread rather than include it in the earlier thread. Please forgive me if it is a bit verbose. I have already had to trim quite a bit from this post due to its length.

When the HyperDrive unit arrived I unpacked the box and found inside the following:

1) The HyperDrive unit,
2) A usb cable,
3) The charger,
4) A screwdriver and two extra screws,
5) Soft carrying case,
6) The extra battery I ordered.

First some background.

I have a number of TravelStar type drives left over from upgrades to our laptops and, because the drives are fairly large and in good condition, I ordered only the HyperDrive enclosure. I also ordered a second battery so I would not have to worry if I traveled for several weeks without access to power.

I also have an older 80GB digital storage unit from another manufacturer that I have used for several years to store images when traveling. The unit works well and backed up all of my images from my last trip, but the battery no longer holds a charge for very long and a replacement battery is fairly expensive. In addition, since it was designed years ago, it is very slow when copying the RAW files from my Canon 7D. I assumed (correctly as you will see in this review) that the HyperDrive would be faster.

Next, some general observations.

1) The HyperDrive comes with a small screwdriver on what appears to be a keychain loop, but it is so small that I was not able to successfully open the back of the unit using it. Fortunately I had a set of small screwdrivers that contained a hex screwdriver small enough to fit the screws on the HyperDrive, but large enough to actually use. Perhaps others, with more dexterity, would not have this problem.

2) Turning the HyperDrive unit on is done via a switch on the top. You must press the switch to the left and hold it for the unit to turn on. The same process seems to be required to turn the unit off. When the unit is on, the main screen displays a set of icons and you must select the icon you want through use of the 4-way switch on the front and the select button. All actions are initiated from selecting these icons.

3) When turned on the unit screen shows 9 icons: iPad, Import All, Import New, Recover, Photos, Manager, USB, HDD Info and HDD Test. Moving the selected icon to the right opens a second screen containing icons for Card Info, Card Test, Erase, Wallpaper, Backlight, Language, Update, Format and Reset. The only supported languages appear to be English and Chinese.

4) The screen is not a touch-screen, the cursor key must be used for all navigation and the select button must be used for doing the actual selection.

Next, usage.

Once the unit was ready for use I inserted a compact flash card from my 7D (Transcend class 10 16GB) which had 166 RAW images amounting to about 4 1/4 GB of data, selected the Import All icon and timed the import. I did not need to bother timing it since the unit display, after the import was complete, displayed elapsed time and the import speed. The computer import time was 2′ 47″ and the speed was 25.5 MB/sec which seemed quite fast to me. I then compared the import speed with my older unit and found the HyperDrive to be almost 5 times as fast.

Next I hooked the unit up to my iPad (iPad 1, OS 3.2.2) and selected the iPad icon on the HyperDrive. After a couple of seconds the iPad displayed the images, including the videos, as it does when connected to my camera. I was able to import the photos and videos directly from the unit with no trouble in an identical way to when connected to my camera. I tried this with both the usb cable that came with the unit and one of my existing cables. Both worked properly.

I then tried the unit with one of the Sony MagicGate memory sticks from my wife’s Cybershot camera. I normally have to use an adapter with this card because the new memory sticks are too small for my readers, but the HyperDrive worked with both the naked card and the adapter. It successfully imported all of the photos with an import speed of 10.1 MB/sec.

I next connected the HyperDrive to my computer to see if I could easily copy the images to the computer. I had to first select the USB icon and then wait while the unit ran a script for the interface. Oddly my computer then opened a window asking if I wanted to Scan And Fix the local drive, but after telling it to continue I had access to the entire disk and its contents. Copying the images to the computer took 5′ 20 “.

I next tried to see how the iPad and unit reacted if I connected them and selected the USB icon instead of the iPad icon, but I got no response from the iPad. I do not see any way to use this unit as an auxiliary file system for the iPad and believe it is a dedicated photo storage device with the ability to download those photos and videos to the iPad.

Having had success so far I decided to see if the unit would work with my iPhone and iTouch, but had no luck.

Given how much faster this device is than my previous storage device I am well satisfied with the purchase. I can carry it, and a spare drive and battery, confident that I can quickly download images to the storage unit and then selet slide-show images for the iPad. This is what I bought the unit to do and it seems to do it well.

I am curious to see if the HyperDrive will work properly with the new iPad 2 given that I have seen comments on this forum about the OS upgrade reducing the power available to the CCK, but since I do not have one of these at home I will visit the local BestBuy sometime later today or tomorrow and test that. My guess is that it will work since it is a powered unit.

– Mike

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6 Responses to HyperDrive for iPad user review

  1. Pingback: My second summer as a photographer: an Italian vacation – Part VI | MaxPhotoBlog.net

  2. Pingback: 3 iPad Solutions for Travel Photography | MaxPhotoBlog.net

  3. Michele says:

    I am getting my first ipad in hopes of using it as a means to backup photos on a 10-day camping trip where I will be taking alot of photos daily. Can I connect a card reader (CF cards) to an i-pad? Then can I copy photos from i-pad to a usb flash drive? Otherwise, I am thinking about the HyperDrive. Thank you.

    • maximegousse says:

      The short answer is that you can not connect a CF card to an iPad, although reports have shown that some will work. You can however import to your CF card to the HyperDrive and import from the HyperDrive to the iPad. If for you “lots of pictures” is like 1,000 or 2,000 and if you have a 64GB unit you should be good.

  4. kevin says:

    Mike, are we talking about the same product here? The Hyperdrive, 1 TB for ipad/ipad 2? I’ve had a HORRIBLE experience with it! Where is the on/off swith you speak off? I open the back with my computer tool kit I keep, and I cannot find anythign resebling a battery I am acustomed to. After less than 2 days of use & fianlly being able to transfer 2 movies to my device, it noe refuses to take a charge. There is NO helpline number that comes witht he product. I am beyond frustrated. Esp since I bought it erarly and wait a while to open it, and so paid $500 (!) for mine. Completely disgusted and exasperated. 😦

  5. macbook pro says:

    It’s awesome to visit this site and reading the views of all friends on the topic of this paragraph, while I am also keen of getting experience.|

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