I tested each devices’ wireless capabilities in ways I thought they would be ordinarily used, which include:
– Relatively close distances (less than or equal to 30ft)
– Streaming or interacting with various media types (pictures, music, videos)
The heart of each device in this review is their ability to create a Wi-Fi hotspot. Starting with the base model of the Travel Wi-Router, to the Wi-Reader and Wi-Reader Pro, each device had stellar wireless performance. My testing procedure for each device consisted of the following:
– Connecting four mobile devices (iPad 3, iPhone 4S, HTC 8x, iPhone 3GS)
– Interacting with various media types
— iPad 3 – Streaming VEVO or SHOUTcast while accessing content from SD card
— HTC 8x – Streaming VEVO TV
— iPhone 4S – Streaming VEVO or SHOUTcast while accessing content from SD card
— iPhone 3GS – Streaming SHOUTcast
Every device handled all four mobile devices at the same time without a hiccup. It is reassuring to know that any of the Apotop devices in this review could be used to provide at least 4 people with a reliable wireless internet connection. In addition to reliable performance, I was able to pull ~16Mbps down and shoot ~5Mbps up from about 30 feet away. For comparison, my desktop on a wired connection gets ~ 24Mbps down, ~5Mbps up, which makes sense since my connection is 25/5. Needless to say, if you’re in a normal hotel room or a decent sized suite, these Apotop devices can give you a wireless connection throughout the room.
SD Card and USB Device Sharing
After you’ve inserted an SD Card or USB device into the Wi-Reader or Wi-Reader Pro and connected via Wi-Fi, you can open Wi-Reader on your mobile device and access all media on the SD Card or USB device. The Wi-Reader app will automatically organize media into Videos, Photos, Documents and Music groups. Or you can tap on Folder View to browse the device as if you had connected it to a computer. You can start a slideshow with music that is stored on your device, or you can stream music from another source. Most importantly, media can be downloaded to your mobile device from a connected SD Card or USB device.
There is also the ‘Export’ feature. On iOS tapping on Export will bring up the ‘Open In’ app list for apps that support a particular file type. For instance, if I Export a .docx, I can open it in Pages so I can continue to edit it, upload it to Dropbox or Google Drive, or view/edit it in any other app that can handle .docx. All other file types have the same Export option, but the apps that will import that particular file type can vary.
I call the following ‘bonus features’ because they aren’t advertised by Apotop, but I think they are really useful.
1) Wi-Reader and Wi-Reader Pro can access USB external hard drives
I hooked up my 500GB external NTFS formatted hard drive, and either Apotop product had no trouble whatsoever accessing the external hard drive. I was able to stream 1080p videos, play music, and open documents. Of course, file type support is dependent upon the mobile device or installed apps. For instance, while I could play .MP4, and .MOV, .MKV files would not play. This isn’t a limitation of Wi-Reader or Wi-Reader Pro, but the iOS devices I’m using.
2) Background Music on iOS
If you have a bunch of songs on an external device, you can tap play, minimize Wi-Reader and continue to listen to music while doing other work on your iOS device.
3) Saving files back to an SD Card or USB device
Have a bunch of files on your mobile device that you want to easily get somewhere else? No problem! You can send those files to an SD Card or USB device through the Wi-Reader app.
What if you want to connect an SD Card and USB device at the same time? Well, only one will work at a time, and that will be the one that was connected last. This isn’t a drawback, but there is probably someone out there who would want to connect and use both. So I thought it’d be worth mentioning.