SanDisk iXpand Base review: iPhone backup those who fear the cloud


SanDisk iXpand base

Most photos are taken with smartphones these days and the last thing you want is to lose your phone and all of your precious memories. The typical route is to store your everything in the cloud but there are those who are worried about the potential security risks when it comes to online storage.

If cloud storage isn’t your thing, the SanDisk iXpand Base could be an alternative to keep your captured moments safe. You’ve probably seen previous iXpand products before but this version will backup your photos, videos and contacts as you leave your phone to charge overnight.

At first glance, iXpand Base looks like a wireless charger but it isn’t. The top has a rubberised texture to keep your iPhone from slipping off while the bottom half feels like metal with a nice matte chrome finish that’s smooth to touch.

Out of the box, the iXpand base comes with a 15W micro USB power brick (5V 3A) which can charge faster than your standard 5V 2A charger. At the rear, you’ll find a micro USB port for charging and data transfer, and there’s also an SD card slot which allows you to upgrade the base with a larger capacity in the future. We got the 128GB version for review and it comes with a SanDisk Ultra Plus SD card with a read speed of 80MB/sec.

To connect the iXpand base to your iPhone, you’ll need to connect a lightning cable which, unfortunately, isn’t included in the box. We reckon the iXpand base could have been better if it was designed like an Apple Lightning dock. For better cable management, you can loop the cable around the sides which is covered neatly underneath its rubber cover.

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To get started, you’ll need to install the iXpand Base app and grant the permissions that are required by the app. The first backup is the longest and it can take days to complete depending on how much photos and videos you have on iCloud.

I have more than 4 years worth and it took almost 3 days to backup over 60GB of photos and videos. The whole process is also depended on your internet connection as the app will download all of your photos and then transfer to the SD card. From my experience, the backup did stall a couple of times and it resumed after I reconnect the cable and restarted the iXpand base app.

There’s no way to bypass iCloud in the backup process, so you have no choice but to be patient with the initial setup. You could speed things up by unchecking video from the list of things to backup.


Alexander Wong