Whilst the iPhone and iPad’s price tag is growing each year, their internal storage isn’t. With the introduction of 12mpx stills and 4k video with the iPhone 6s & 6s Plus, it won’t take long until even the biggest iPhone/iPad capacity of 128gb is full and you encounter the painstaking experience of manually choosing what you think you can delete vs what to back up via iTunes.

To help mitigate these issues, meet the iKlips by Adam Elements: The ‘world’s fastest Apple lightning flash drive’ compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

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As soon as we heard about this device, we reached out to Adam Elements and asked them if they would send us a review unit so we could see whether the iKlips was worth the investment as a viable iPhone/iPad USB thumb drive. To their credit they agreed, and we received the 32gb model in grey to produce the most in-depth iKlips Flash Drive Review available; and have been testing this device extensively over the last two weeks.

iKlips Design & Build Quality:

The first thing you will notice about the iKlips Lightning Flash Drive is the quality of the packaging. It comes in an attractive box that would look right at home in an Apple Store display. Inside the box you get the iKlips, a carrying pouch and instruction manual.

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The iKlips feels like a very high quality product. It is made from aluminium alloy and features two removable silicon rubber caps designed to protect the lightning and USB 3.0 connectors that fit perfectly.

The stainless steel metal clip on the back feels very solid and not only looks great – it’s also practical. I took to wearing the iKlips on the inside of my front shirt pocket and clipping it to my iPad case.

The design of the iKlips Lightning Flash Drive is the best of any iPhone/iPad compatible external flash drive on the market we have tested. It is nice and simple and compliments the iPhone and iPad’s aesthetics and colour options perfectly (space grey, silver, gold and rose gold) — however there is one caveat: The iKlips is not compatible with cases that cover the bottom of the iPhone or iPad.

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iKlips is not compatible with case on left. You need an open bottomed case for iKlips compatibility like case on right.

I had to remove my iPhone case to be able to securely attach the iKlips. It will work perfectly with cases that leave the bottom fully exposed. This may be a deal breaker for some – but personally I opted for an inexpensive case that could accommodate the iKlips instead, and my iPhone 5s and iPad Air 2 already had cases with the base more fully exposed.

Performance:

The iKlips is a USB 3.0 device, however compatible laptops and desktops are the only devices that support USB 3.0 speeds, whereas Apple’s lightning connector sadly does not. This means you get fantastic speeds copying media to and from a computer to the iKlips – but don’t expect that performance to be replicated once it’s plugged in to your iPhone or iPad.

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Adam Elements states that the iKlips is capable of of read speeds of 140MB/s and write speeds of 70MB/s on a computer equipped with USB 3.0, and 26/10MB/s on an iPhone or iPad. In our independent testing we were unable to achieve the same USB 3.0 transfer speeds quoted by Adam Elements. We recorded a top read/write speed of 135.4/42.4MB/s on both a 2013 iMac and 15” Retina Macbook Pro using Black Magic’s Disk Speed Test.

Still, it is very fast to transfer files to iKlips from the computer, and much faster than other USB 2.0 options like the SanDisk iXpand. In real terms, 1gb takes 22 seconds to copy from a USB 3.0 equipped computer which is pretty darn quick – so kudos to Adam Elements there.

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Using the iKlips app’s Camera Roll backup feature it took 41 minutes to backup a 18gb Photos library from my iPhone 6 which was a mix of photos and videos. This is a big improvement over wireless options like the Maxell Airstash which has been our long time external storage device, and copied our Camera Roll library at a rate of 3.34gb per hour! In fact the Airstash is so slow that we were unable to do a full Camera Roll backup without the Airstash going flat! Even if the Airstash had a better battery it would take it over 6 hours to copy what the Adam Elements iKlips did in 41 minutes!!! Now you can see just how amazing the iKlips actually is in real world terms. Obviously we are saying goodbye to our long time Airstash and moving to iKlips.

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We were able to playback most videos smoothly directly from the iKlips plugged into an iPhone 6 — but with high quality UHD video files from our GH4 with a data rate of of 100MB/s the Lightning connector’s native speed is — not surprisingly — incapable of keeping up. In such cases you can easily transfer video files to the iKlips app’s internal storage and play it back smoothly from your iPhone/iPads high speed SSD. Awesome!

Lastly, the iKlips supports both Fat32 and exFAT file formats which means, if you use exFAT you are on longer limited to the dreaded 4gb file limit per file.We were able to easily copy a 17gb ZIP file to GoodReader without any problems! Yippeeeee… another tick for the iKlips.

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The iKlips App is a free download from the App Store and is really the most important part of this product. Without a way to easily and reliably access and share media on the iKlips or backup files to it, the device would be worthless. So how does the iKlips app stack up?

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Well firstly the app is available on both iPhone and iPad which is a plus and plugging in the device will prompt you to launch or download the application. The interface is very clean and simple and gives you the option to filter the file type and display just photos, musics, documents or movies – and tapping Finder will display all your files as you would seem them when connecting the iKlips to a computer as a USB thumb drive.

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Tapping the Adam Elements icon gives you access to useful features like settings; allows you to perform a camera roll and contacts backup; launch the iKlips Camera which will record photos directly to the iKlips instead of your photo library; and lastly tells you how much available space you have on both your iOS device and iKlips. All work really well, although the iKlips camera let you tap to set focus or exposure like the iPhone’s native camera app – so room for improvement there.

The placement of the Adam Elements icon/button is the only thing I really dislike about the app’s interface. The problem is that when you browse your files, it continually obscures them and stands out like a sore thumb. It is even more annoying on the iPad version of the app and really should be relocated to the top menu bar in a future update.

Viewing and navigating your files in the Finder is easy. You get generic icons for each file type with the exception of still images which will display a small thumb nail. The iKlips will let you view any format supported by Apple’s iOS including:

Music: mp3 .wav .acc .aiff & .m4a
Video: mp4 .mov & .m4v
Document: .pdf .txt .doc .docx .xls .xlsx .ppt .pptx .jpg .png .tiff .gif & .bmp.

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But you are not limited to the official supported files of Apple’s rather locked down iOS either – iKlips will let you copy any file format to it.

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By using the ‘Open In’ feature you can use additional formats like Zip files (open in GoodReader to uncompress) and AVI and MKV files (open in VLC) and many more. If you can find an app that supports a given filetype, then the iKlips will let you access it on iOS. Brilliant!

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You can easily add new folders and name them by tapping the folder icon. Swiping right on a file gives you the option to share it via ‘Open-In’ functionality which is great as you can open files in any app that supports this feature. Swiping left on a file will give the option to copy, move or delete your file. This is well designed and intuitive.

You can copy or move files to another folder on your iKlips device or to the apps internal storage on your iOS device, which is great if you don’t want to always have your iKlips connected. Doing this also will allow for much better playback speeds due to the faster transfer speeds of the iPhone/iPads solid state internal storage.

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Tapping the photos icon in the upper right will allow you to either backup individual photos to the iKlips or backup your entire photo library (including all photos and videos). The downside is that you can’t import all the photos in a certain album, you have to select them manually. Hopefully they can address this in a future update.

While you can backup all of your photos and videos at once, there is no way to import all images in a given folder on your iKlips device back into your Photos app on the iPhone/iPad – this has to be done manually one by one, by viewing the photo full-screen and tapping the share button in the upper right. As a result, whilst a full camera roll backup is very practical, restoring them back to your iPhone from the iKlips isn’t right now – way too time consuming. Again, let’s hope they add better restore features for photo libraries in the future.

Overall, despite the minor issues listed above, I really like the iKlips app and it received two updates during the time I was testing it with bug fixes and new features, so hopefully they keep these regular releases up. It is reliable and easy to use, and makes full photo library backups an absolute breeze. Just tap and let it do its thing. You can work in other apps or put your phone to sleep and it will still continue to backup in the background.

The Open-In functionality is what makes the iKlips so powerful. Whether it is used to import DSLR footage into iMovie, open PowerPoint presentations in Keynote, audio files for editing in TwistedWave, Photoshop PSD files in Pixelmator or MKV High Definition video files in VLC — this is what makes the iKlips so such a powerful and essential tool for iOS content producers and consumers.

Value for Money:

Ranging from $58 for the 16gb model, to $99 for the 64gb, all the way up to $399 for the 256gb model – the iKlips is a premium product with a price tag to match.

The 64gb iKlips model, for example, costs just fractionally more than its closest competitor: the SandDisk iXpand which you can pick up for $7 less on Amazon for about $93 USD – but the iKlips offers much better specs such as USB 3.0 over Sandisk’s sluggish USB 2.0, as well as a better accompanying free app and much much better looks and a more practical design. Overall, iKlips does offer the best value for money.

Having used this device for the past two weeks, any reservations I had about the price have been trumped by the iKlip’s usefulness. It is the best designed and fastest Lightning storage device on the market and makes iOS file management and backup easy. I will be happily purchasing the 128gb on Amazon so I can make a full back of my 128gb iPhone 6s Plus and all the 4k video I will be shooting.

Conclusion

The iKlips Lightning Flash Drive for iOS is an essential accessory for iPhone and iPad owners who are looking for increased storage and an easy way to backup and manage their files. It looks great, works beautifully and offers fast transfer speeds to and from your computer; as well as powerful sharing features which allow you to open a huge range of filetypes in your favourite apps. The iKlips app in its current version (1.5.55) proved to be incredibly reliable and easy to use during our extensive testing on both iOS 8 and iOS 9, using an iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2. It just needs to address a few of the minor issues outlined above to be the perfect app. Overall, the iKlips is an essential tool for iOS users that is well worth the investment.