RedFox WizDrive Review
A few weeks ago, RedFox Philippines sent us a bunch of units for review, one of which is the company’s multi-purpose device called WizDrive — a portable hard drive that has wireless functions and doubles as a powerbank.
Once in a while, we bump into really unique devices that we fancy. The WizDrive falls into that category.
Design and Construction
In terms of design, the WizDrive is as minimalist as it gets. No fancy trappings can be found in and around the actual device, just an ordinary looking external hard drive with a two-tone paint job (black and grey) that creates a distinction between the front/back panels and the sides.
In today’s standards, the WizDrive is not what we consider as pocket-able. It is considerably thicker and heavier compared to other external hard drives, particularly those slim HDDs like the Canvio Slim 3.0 that we reviewed a year ago. But considering the fact that the WizDrive offers more features compared to your ordinary portable drives, I think we can sweep this little shortcoming under the rug.
We’re really not a fan of the glossy front panel of the WizDrive as it tends to attract all sorts of smudges and fingerprints with daily use, not to mention that it gets easily scratched. Luckily, the device’s underbelly, the side panel doesn’t have the same coating as the one on the front.
On the front, we have a total of seven (7) LED lights; four of which serve as a battery indicator and are placed inside a slightly carved circle, while the other three (3) are placed near the bottom right corner and shows the status of the Wi-Fi, internet and Power.
The side panel houses all of the buttons and ports one would need to use the WizDrive. On the left side is the charging port and on the other side is the power button with its own LED light. Down at the bottom is a full-size USB port (for its powerbank functionality), a USB 3.0 port, and a standard Ethernet port.
There’s not much to be seen on the WizDrive’s underbelly apart from two stickers that contains some information about your portable hard drive.
Unlike with other wireless hard drives, users can opt to upgrade the WizDrive’s hard drive for a bigger/faster one. However, it’s worth noting that changing the hard drive may void the warranty of the device so it’s best if you do it once the warranty expires.
Performance and Benchmark
Despite being marketed as a 4-in-1 device, the Redfox WizDrive’s primary function is being an external USB 3.0 hard drive. As such, we measured how much speed we can expect from it by running a few HDD benchmark tests using our system.
Test bed specs:
ASUS RoG Crossblade Ranger
3.7GHz AMD A10-7850K quad-core processor
8GB (2x 4GB) G.Skill Ripjaws X 2133MHz RAM (OC’d to 2400MHz)
256GB Micron RealSSD C400 SSD
Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM hard drive
Note: The Redfox WizDrive was connected to an available USB 3.0 on the motherboard during the test/s. No software-based USB speed booster were enabled during the test.
Sequential Read – 112.9 MB/s
Sequential Write – 33.32 MB/s
512K Read – 41 MB/s
512K Write – 31.52 MB/s
4K Read – 0.482 MB/s
4K Write – 0.414 MB/s
4K QD32 – 0.896 MB/s
4K QD32 – 0.726
ATTO Disk Benchmark:
HD Tune Pro 5.50 (File Benchmark, Random Access and Read):
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Read: 95.8 MB/s
Note: The “File Length” was set to 1000MB when the HD Tune Pro 5.50 File Benchmark test was conducted. Furthermore, both HD Speed and HD Tune Pro didn’t allow us to run any “Write” tests on the drive because it’s detecting that the drive has one or more partitions even though we’ve managed it using Windows Disk Management tool prior to testing.
One of the things that made the WizDrive a tad pricier compared to your typical external HDD is its wireless functionality. With this, users can wirelessly transfer files to and/or from the hard drive and stream contents from the hard drive to their devices.
There are two ways you can wirelessly access your contents inside the WizDrive; one is to connect to the drive’s built-in Wi-Fi and use a web-based dashboard or, if you’re using an Android or iOS device, through a downloadable app called WiAir.
In all honesty though, there’s not much of a difference between the two access methods mentioned above other faster access by no longer having to input the given IP address of the drive. The User Interface, both on the web-based tool and on the app, is uninspiring and buggy at best and could really use a major facelift to make it more user friendly.
Despite of the horribly-design interface, wireless access to the WizDrive works like a charm. We were able to manage the files inside the hard drive with ease and almost free of lag. Streaming contents wirelessly is also a joy, we tried pretty much any content there is and the WizDrive was able to stream it to our device without breaking a sweat.
Wireless Router and Powerbank features
What sets the WizDrive apart from its wireless hard drive contemporaries is the addition of mobile charging and Wireless AP Router features to its arsenal. The latter allows user to plug in an Ethernet cable to the WizDrive and use it as a router to broadcast the internet and allow other device to connect to it.
The Powerbank functionality is pretty much self-explanatory. Users can connect their mobile device through the WizDrive’s USB 2.0 and use the device’s 4800mAh rechargeable battery to charge it via USB cable.
The 4,800mAh battery pack inside the RedFox WizDrive is nothing to scoff at. In fact it’s almost twice the capacity of the battery found inside the new LaCie Fuel (2275mah).
As such, the mileage we got out of this device was pretty remarkable. On average, we got around 15-17 hours of battery life out a single charge without video streaming. Our mileage went down to around 10-12 hours when we wirelessly streamed our contents to our mobile device.
To conclude we would describe the WizDrive as a “jack of all trades, master of none” device. RedFox tried to stuff as much feature as possible into their device to make it stand out amongst other wireless HDDs in the market while keeping the price competitive.
RedFox WizDrive (WS221) specs:
Capacities: 500GB and 1TB SATA II
Supports up to 2TB 2.5-inch HDD
Interfaces: USB 3.0 (backwards compatible with USB 2.0)
Wi-Fi 802.11 g/n with wireless security (WPA/WEP)
Up to 150Mbps Transceiver Speed
1x Built-In LAN / WAN Port for wireless AP router mode
1x USB 2.0 (Host) + 1x USB 3.0 port
Supports 5V 2A Powerbank Output Function
Dimension: 132.5 x 82 x 21.6mm
Price: 500GB for Php6,450 / 1TB for Php8,150
As a result though, they ended up cutting a few corners such as the device’s all-plastic design, lackluster app/UI and slower USB 3.0 read/write performance, not to mention the lack of additional software that would make it easier for users to backup their data.
Bottom line, if you’re willing to live with the aforementioned missteps in exchange for the powerbank, AP router functionalities and long battery life, then the WizDrive should be a worthy investment. On the contrary, you’re better off getting a wireless hard drive from a more reputable brand if you want faster transfer speed and the extra software that usually comes with the hard drive.
What we liked about it:
* Mini AP router feature
* Built-in powerbank functionality
* Outstanding battery life
* Easy-to-replace hard drive for better performance
What we didn’t like about it:
* Cheap plastic-y build
* Takes too long (more than 5 hours) to fully charge
* Lackluster UI and mobile app
* Subpar Read/Write performance