Finding the right portable storage is a problem many of us face. Often we might get away with a small USB drive or out phone, maybe a cloud based solution. All have their uses but there are limitations in size, speed, availability and so on. So with those limitations in mind we began to see wireless storage devices hit the market and one of the notable options was Corsairs Voyager Air.
Now, 18months after the launch of their first Mobile Wireless Storage device Corsair have a new revision, the Voyager Air 2. With USB 3.0 support, 1TB capacity and a more compact design it aims to provide for many of our storage needs, especially integration with smart devices. Today we have one for review.
The Voyager Air 2 arrives in a compact box which gives nice clear view of the product along with a graphic representation of its potential. We also get some feature information on the box and then inside we find the USB 3.0 data/power cable along with a small manual. An optional mains power kit is also available for $19.99.
The Voyager Air 2
The Voyager Air 2 measures 5.5×3.3×1.1 inches and weighs 0.72pounds. From the top it looks entirely black but it actually has a blue base. While most of the top and sides are black matt plastic the front portion is gloss and has the ability to rock and activate buttons beneath. Left for power and right for Wi-Fi (B/G/N 2.4GHz). Also present here is an LED to show mains power and another for the battery (Red/Orange and Green) status.
Turning the drive over we find that blue base and running around the centre is a black section which provides stability on surfaces. Worth noting is that the blue area is also slightly rubberised which adds grip when holding. On the back edge we can see the power input as well as the USB 3.0 connector.
We can connect the Voyager Air 2 to our PC using USB as normal or via Wi-Fi. It appears like a network in our list of connections and we simply connect to it. Really though the wireless functionality is more likely to be used by smartphone and tablet users. For them Corsair provide apps via the Apple and Google stores (free) which allow us to access and configure the device. The Android version is shown above and to use it, just as on the PC we connect to the drive, just like it was a Wi-Fi network. Once that is done we can browse content, upload/download from the drive and play media. (Library supports thumbs, sorting by show, season, Artist, album, etc. MKV/AVI playback and Google Drive/Dropbox integration)
Of course as we are connecting via Wi-Fi at this point our mobile device can’t see the Internet at first. This is where the various modes available on the Voyager Air 2 come in. The most important for most people being the ability to pass on another internet connection as if the drive were a mini-router.
The full list of modes and their pros/cons from Corsairs documentation are as follows:
Basic Configuration – Devices connected to Voyager Air 2 network
Pros: Easy Setup, quick access on the move. Cons: No internet Connectivity on mobile Device.
Basic Plus Configuration – Devices + AppleTV connected to Voyager Air 2 Network
Pros: Enables Airplay from App. Ideal for hotel environments or similar. Cons: No internet on devices, Streaming HD can be limited.
Moderate Configuration- Devices connected to Voyager 2 Air. Voyager 2 Air connected to home network with Internet Passthrough.
Pros: Mobile devices have internet, enables easy firmware updates, drive can connect to DNLA devices. Cons: Requires additional power, Streaming of HD content can be a challenge, App cannot see Airplay devices.
Advanced Configuration – Voyager 2 Air connected to Home network (with passthrough if needed), devices connected indirectly through the router/network.
Pros: Home networks enhanced range, easy firmware updates, DNLA capability, Airplay Connectivity. Cons: Requires additional power, Streaming of HD can be a challenge.
User Experience and Conclusion
Starting with the build quality of the Voyager Air 2 we have a device which feels very sturdy. It would have been great to have the soft touch coating of the base on top/sides too but that doesn’t take away from the sturdy feel the drive has. The two ports on the back appear sturdy also and there is a decent feel to the front rocker switch which is always a bonus. For peace of mind, there is also a 3-year warranty on this product.
In terms of design, we like the compact nature of the Voyager Air 2. It is pretty much pocketable and will easily fit into side pockets of bags, rucksacks etc. The LED notifications are simple to understand and the overall colour scheme used is fine.
As a side note, we do think Corsair could provide the power kit in the bundle. It would be of great use.
Could the design be improved? We would love to have the ability to quickly change the storage drive, swapping with a SSD for example. Additionally if there was a port on here which would allow us to charge our mobile device from the Air 2 that would be awesome (we would accept that it couldn’t be on/streaming during this process). Water resistance would just be the icing on the cake.
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Looking next to performance we have a device which when connected via USB 3.0 hits the levels we would expect for a unit containing a mechanical drive. Via Wi-Fi a 5GHz band option and wireless-AC (with pass-through) would be nice but the drive does allow us to stream HD content fine as is and Corsair note that it will allow streaming 720p content to 5 devices at a time. Battery life when streaming for us was around 6hours, enough for a decent length flight really but keep in mind that when charging via USB the Wi-Fi functionality isn’t available. As for the app used to manage all of this. It’s ok. Functional if lacking a little in how intuitive it is.
In our opinion the Voyager Air 2 is best viewed as an advanced USB storage device for PC and a decent one at that. Or alternatively a storage drive for those who want to take a bunch of content on the move and watch/listen on their space limited Smartphone/Tablet. Some users will find the other modes useful too but these first two are the key areas where the Voyager Air 2 succeeds.
You can find your local pricing by visiting Corsair here: http://www.corsair.com/en-gb/voyager-air-2-mobile-wireless-storage-1-tb