Aren’t there two things you fear the most? Your phone running out of charge in the middle of the day, simply because you forgot to juice it up before leaving home and don’t have a charger in office? And somehow, in a cruel twist of fate, lose your photos from your phone? Again, perhaps because you’ve been lazy and didn’t backup regularly? SanDisk has the answer for both your fears, with the backup bit nicely automated too. Actually, they have one product that you should get for your bedside table or your office desk, solving the phone battery charge level as well as data backup requirements, in one fine swoop. To be fair, the SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync (the name is a mouthful) does fill up what may be a rather big gap in your life. Happily, works with all Qi enabled Android phones and Apple iPhones.
SanDisk is, at this moment, putting just one variant up for sale. That’s the 256GB storage option for Rs 9,999. Think of this as the cost of an external storage drive plus a wireless charger plus the premium for being the first of its kind convergence device, and also the fact that it means you don’t have to pay a monthly subscription for Google One or Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox for photo and video backup. To get this going, the two things you’ll need is a wall socket to plug this in, and the SanDisk Ixpand Charger app on your Android phone or Apple iPhone. This is available on the Google Play Store for the former, and on the Apple App Store for the latter.
Helpfully enough, SanDisk has printed the QR code on the underside of this wireless charger itself, as well as on the setup guide that comes inside the box. This is convenience at its best, and full marks to SanDisk for making things easier for folks who may not be as tech savvy. This app does a fair job of giving you detailed controls over what you want to backup, including sorting media by date and allowing you to sync incrementally every time the phone is kept on the mat for charging—but I missed some options, including sorting by file type. And of course, the app doesn’t have any Google Photos or Apple Photos sort of smart to let you search by image contents.
The other thing, and it is quite relevant in the times we live in—the SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync comes with a power adapter and charging cable in the box. No, you will not be asked for separately order a power adapter. You were worried about this, weren’t you? On the charging side of things, this is a 10-watt charger. It is the Qi standard wireless charger, which means compatibility for wireless charging capable smartphones, across brands, is quite wide. And not just phones, even wireless charging ready devices such as wireless earbuds will play well along with the SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync, for a quick splash and dash.
SanDisk bundles a long 6-foot power cable, and that convenience will be quite handy if you don’t have a wall socket immediately near your table. Mind you, at 10-watts, this isn’t the fastest wireless charger out there, but it does not feel slow at any time. This little crumb of information to keep in mind—SanDisk has a more conventional wireless charger as well, which does not bolt on the storage backup option, and that offers 15-watts of Qi wireless charging.
You get the SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync in the 256GB storage option. It is important to choose wisely, because you need to think of this as a physical external storage and not cloud storage that can be expanded later by bumping up the subscription plan. The three states of tune that are available globally are 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. In India, there is just one variant on sale, the 256GB one, and quite sensibly too, because phone storage capacities are increasing too. More than one member in your family can backup their phone’s media and contacts, with different profiles created for each—the more family members utilizing this, you should think of getting more storage from the outset. Each phone that will sync to this will need the SanDisk Ixpand Charger app installed, with the user’s credentials signed in.
But this does make one wonder, with phones now on the cusp of 512GB and 1TB storage options going mainstream, will even the 256GB storage really cut it in the long run? Particularly if you click a lot of photos and record a lot of videos, most likely in 4K? In that scenario, 256GB will fill up quite fast and you’d either be left to deleting, backing up a backup or simply use this just as a wireless charger. And that would be an expensive proposition. Mind you, this may be a limitation only for the really active photographers among you out there, and not exactly something most users may find a limitation.
The convenient thing about backup media, that is your photos and videos, is not just freeing up perhaps precious storage on your phone. But also, the single tap restore that the SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync allows, via the app. Made a mistake of deleting some photos or videos from your phone? This can get them back. The other thing I noticed about the SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync is that it shows up instantly as an external storage when connected with a Windows 10 laptop—this is another way of seeing what is stored here. And if you have multiple phones syncing with this charger, they’ll be nicely stacked in different folders. You’ll probably never need to connect this charger’s storage to a PC ever, but it is good to know that in case the app or phone connectivity acts up for some reason, there is an alternate route for getting to your backed up data.
Oh, and the SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync can also backup your contacts—that’s another layer of peace of mind, even though chances are you’d be backing up your contacts on Google and Apple iCloud already. Do remember though, Android phones that have microSD cards deployed to expand the storage space, will not have microSD cards show up by default for backup and cleanup. I did not have an Android phone at hand with a memory card to test if there is a workaround for this.
The Last Word: It Is Unique, It Does The Job And It Costs A Lot Of Money
We as tech journalists and indeed the masses always crave for useful convergence—one device that does more than one thing well. Maybe expecting an Apple iPhone to also make coffee just because it costs around Rs 1,50,000 is a bit much. But convergence is indeed very cool, and very relevant. Saves on cost, saves on the number of devices cluttering your home and also reduces electronic wastage at some point in the lifecycle. SanDisk has done a very good job with the SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync, by bringing wireless charging and data backup in one device. The first of its kind, mind you. Without really compromising on either’s performance. You’d expect this to be more expensive, but actually, it isn’t. It is Rs 9,999 for the 256GB version. You would expect to pay a premium for this convergence of convenience and simplicity, but it isn’t as big as you may have imagined. It is, after all, saving you on a monthly subscription cost for a cloud subscription for backing up your photos and videos.