Kwilt Shoebox REVIEW Offload Preserve and Access Anywhere
The modern smartphone has become so much more than a phone, acting as a music player, video player, handheld gaming system, GPS device, internet surfing device, weight loss assistant, activity tracker, calendar, pedometer, HR tracker, etc. Most interestingly, our phones have mostly replaced the need for an expensive camera. With each successive generation of phone, we receive enhancements to our ability to capture memories. Furthermore, Apps like Filmic Pro Mobile can significantly add to the hardware functionality of the camera, and allow for some truly amazing shots. With my smart device at the ready, I find that I capture more videos, pictures, and audio with my youngest child than I did when I had the Samsung SCH-i760 (2009 when my first son was born). I have experienced the data limitation frustration of having to manage apps/data, after purchasing the low storage sized phones. To circumvent this, I have opted for the middle/high tiered storage sizes. Personal data cloud devices provide another way to offload data.
Upon first impression, I was drawn to the quilted cover of the box, which was adorned with fifteen 1 3/8 inches wide by 1 3/8 inches tall picture squares. The solid central red square stood apart from the multiple colors of the surrounding pictures and served as a clean canvas to display the white “Kwilt Shoebox” title along the middle of the box. The cover did not provide any details about the product and did not tell me what I was holding. Despite the title, there was a 1 3/4 inches long by 1/2 inches wide “YOUR FIRST CLOUD IS ON US! Free 32 GB memory stick inside” sticker along the middle. A few of the images had a 5/8 inch circle with inset triangle and the top/bottom of the cover had smartphone screen icons. Turning the 4 1/8 inches wide by 7 1/4 inches tall by 2 1/8 inches thick box to either side, I found that the panels promised the ability to “Offload memories, Preserve memory, Access anywhere.” The top and bottom panels had a red square with an off-white quilted “k,” the “Kwilt Shoebox” title and the “Unlimited personal storage for your phone” subtitle. To learn about the nature of the product, you will need to evaluate the back panel. The upper section was a bit wordy, providing four paragraphs of information. The first paragraph championed the image capturing benefits of our modern smartphones but then humbly discussed our storage limitation woes. The second paragraph walked through a few options for data management, namely the need to delete images/videos/apps, or to pay for storage options. Furthermore, it detailed the ability to utilize the Kwilt app to easily move data from your smartphone to the Kwilt Shoebox, from anywhere. The packaging promised an unlimited, expandable system, limited only by the size of your USB drive. I was excited for the opportunity to “Seamlessly offload your phone’s photos & Videos, enjoy unlimited storage for your mobile, keep your full resolution originals safe at home and access them from anywhere.” Lastly, the fourth paragraph promised all of the above features without any monthly fees.
Beneath the paragraphs, the company provided a list of seven bulleted features: Store and access any file type, Easy Photo & video sharing, Rich mobile photo editing, Play your photos & videos on your TV, directly order custom photo prints from your phone, Web, Windows and Mac compatible, and FREE iOS/Android Apps. At the bottom of the panel, I was both pleased and let down by the image of the device. I liked that they chose to display the input ports of the Kwilt Shoebox but wish that I was able to also see the device from top-down and frontal views. The Wi-Fi enabled device had an HDMI port and separate USB-micro ports for USB sticks/drives (any size) and an outer power port. Despite the nonspecific details of the cover/sides/top, the back panel redeemed the Kwilt Shoebox. The information listed on the reverse panel promised an interesting, feature rich device. The image provided a glimpse of the device and I was shocked when I read that the 3 1/8 inches long by 11/16 inches tall image was the “Actual Product Size.” Lifting the lid from the packaging, I found a 6 3/4 inches tall by 3 1/2 inches wide trifold instruction manual, a similarly sized red/white tip/troubleshooting page, two Kwilt Shoebox stickers, and a square welcome/referral rebate card. Beneath the paperwork, I was pleased to find a 3 1/8 inches long by 11/16 inches tall by 1 1/2 inches wide Kwilt Shoebox device, a 1 3/8 inches long HDMI extension (13/16 inches wide by 1/2 inches tall face), a white 6 inches long USB-micro to USB-A cable and a white box. Inside of the white box, the company added the AC adaptor with a generous 41 1/2 inch long USB-micro cable. Lastly, along the top of the box, you will find a silica packet and a tiny 1 1/2 inches long by 1/2 inches wide by 3/16 inches thick silver-colored 32 GB USB-A jumpdrive with a small 5/16 inch diameter loop
The trifold instruction manual was broken up into three simple steps: Connect the Shoebox, Download and Run the App, and Setup the Shoebox. Since my iPhone X is 256GB and I have more than 32GB of pictures on my phone, I was concerned about the ability to complete the test. However, as you will learn, you can choose how many pictures and which pictures you offload. I plugged the power supply into my power strip and then into the rightmost port of the Shoebox. I plugged the USB cable adaptor into the middle USB-Micro slot and then the USB-jumpdrive into the adaptor. The power adaptor had a rather bulky type A wall prong end, which limited my ability to plug other devices into my power strip. I initially thought that the power cable was long enough but this did not reach from my desk to the surge protector on the floor. Luckily the WiFi device can be set just about anywhere and link to my WiFi. With the device plugged in, I turned to the iOS App store and downloaded the 3.6* Kwilt mobile app. The app will ask to use location, likely to sort them based on the location that the photos were taken. I typically only allow location services while the app is running, so I chose to allow the app to monitor my location. The app will then ask to access your photos and then you will need to log in with Facebook, Google, Microsoft, kik or email. I chose to login with my email, added a password and began to enjoy the app. If you look along the top left of the app, you will find a tappable shoebox icon. When you tap the icon, you will see two new icons appear: a cog icon “Setup a new Kwilt Shoebox” or a shopping cart with “Buy a Kwilt Shoebox.” I chose to set up a new device and then followed the on-screen prompts. My iPhone X connected to the WiFi and then it wanted to link to my home network. The device will only connect to 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz) Wi-Fi networks. The next steps were very straightforward and took about a minute to complete. Simply select the network of choice, enter the password and wait for the system to complete the setup. Step three allowed you to enter a name and password to protect the device.
There were four informational screens detailing the features of the device. The Kwilt app links to your social media, suggests that we can offload mobile memories to the shoebox (automatically), save any filetype, view photos in timeline, location, media source, search and you can create a KwiltKeys keyboard for messaging (settings general, keyboard, add new keyboard, kwilt, kwiltkeys, allow access). The app states that it does not track keystrokes, they do not access or store information that is sent or received, that no information is shared other than app performance data. For my first test, I selected 9 pictures and transferred them to the kwilt shoebox. The process took 28 seconds for the 9 items and then asked if I wanted to delete the items from my mobile. I selected yes and then the device asked me if I was sure and wanted to continue. I loved the option to either transfer and backup or to transfer and delete because both of these options may be valid in certain circumstances. For my second test, I transferred 25 photos from my phone to the shoebox, which took 32 seconds. You can select all or you can choose select item but you cannot hold and drag your finger to tap multiple images. For test 3, I transferred 50 items to the shoebox, which took 2:23.35. Once the 113 photo files were transferred, I navigated back to the main page. Having tested numerous apps, I had an idea of what I needed to do to navigate the App. There should have been more tutorial for the average user. If you tap the shoebox again you can choose to Transfer to Shoebox, Browse Shoebox Filesystem, Transfer Preferences, Manage Kwilt Shoebox. You can automatically offload your phone data to the device, just photos, just videos or both. If you tap the Browse Shoebox Filesystem, you can navigate through the extensions as you would inside of File Manager on a PC. If you tap “Transfer Preferences,” you can enable cloud transfer and automatic transfer features. For the first use, I waited about an hour to check back on the app and the indexing was complete. If you transfer all of your data, you may have to wait a while for this to index.
As I played with the app, I realized that if you tap the central lower button, you can sort the images in collage form, calendar form, location form, all sources (cloud icon) and you can search. If you tap the cog icon to the side, you can see all the sources and turn on/off which sources you see, you can adjust preferences (theme color, thumbnail columns to 1–5, show source of photos and toggle email notifications on/off), and if you tap help you can access tutorials. If you tap the “Use Kwilt App” button, you will get to see the four panels that I discussed previously. If you tap Connecting your shoebox video, it will play a 1:38 slideshow of the instruction manual. You can also select Kwilt Keyboard setup video to utilize the Kwilt Keyboard. It was about this time that I became curious about the ability to take my drive with me. I removed the jump drive from the Kwilt Shoebox and inserted it into my MacBook Pro USB A slot. I loved that this saved the files to the disk just like a computer would save them and did not use some weird format or data file type. This was one of the biggest complaints of the LIMA and Lima Ultra Personal Cloud Storage. I was able to directly utilize the images, drag them to my desktop, copy them etc. I used the included 32 GB jump drive for a while and then I used a 1 TB hard drive. This system is dependent on flash memory and is not redundant. It is also not backed up into the cloud, so be cautious of offloading and deleting from your mobile device. I was able to transfer files over WiFi and was able to free up space. When you change drives, you will be able to see the new files but not the old files. There are more features to this system that I have not covered. For example, you can access the drive from your laptop/PC etc and use it as a shared drive and delete files/add files etc over your local network. The website has a very useful FAQ system and I did not experience any negatives from the device. It was easy to set up, it was easy to navigate and it worked on multiple WiFi networks and cellular connection.
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Originally published at macsources.com on July 12, 2018.