When buying an iPhone you need to consider not just how many gigabytes of space you will need now, but also in the future when new Apps are downloaded and media created. The PKparis K’ablekey is a hybrid flash drive that wants to be your go-between storage solution for media and documents whilst additionally being a handy charging cable. It could potentially save upgraders substantial sums with a pricing structure of €59 - 16gb, €79 - 32gb and €99 - 64gb. But does it actually flow with iOS and can it be relied on?
The double sided approach of the design is clever, with a USB 3.0 port (120MBps read and 20MBps write speeds) on one side and a Lightning port on the other. They're conjoined by magnets and yes, it’s definitely a fidget clicker on anyone's keychain. However, the benefit of the magnets is apparent when plugged into an iPhone as the USB side just rests behind the phone. The familiar almost luminous orange that we’ve seen on other product designs from PKparis is seen on the rubber caps protecting the ports. This, together with an aluminium housing, keeps the device well protected; it’s the kind of object we’d expect to continue using after years of being taken here, there and everywhere.
To get started using the PKparis K’ablekey you’ll need to download an App. Documents are shown in list or thumbnail format, similar to how iOS structures itself. Password protection is inbuilt for sensitive documents or you can keep things stored in a public area, which is mostly how we make use of it. We like the fact that via the App we can switch between viewing media on our device or the flash drive in one click. Copying photos, videos and music is all rather straightforward, quickly organised with options to rename and create folders. In fact, we can play all the videos and music we’ve sent from our iPhone onto the flash drive in realtime with no lag if desired. However, there are downsides, like the fact that we can view documents on the K’ablekey that we’ve transferred from a USB source and transfer them into Apps that recognise the format, but we can’t see those on our iOS device and save them onto the flash storage. This isn't the fault of PKparis, it’s the fact that Apple won’t let devices have access to files any deeper than those mentioned above. This means that third party App data and even documents from Apple Apps like Pages or GarageBand are off limit. If things change though, PKparis would only need to update their App to make use of new functionality.
The PKparis K’ablekey flash drive is a really well designed product to physically use, but is currently a three quarter baked solution for file management on iOS devices. If you’re running low on space or don’t desire to pay a premium for iPhone storage on upgrade, then this will efficiently handle your music, video and photo files on a triangular circuit between your iOS device, K’ablekey and Mac or PC. Its limitations come from the safeguarding of iOS by Apple, meaning we can’t make use of it for storage outside the PKparis App and we can’t delve any deeper into iOS to manage documents and third party App data.