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Appeared on: Thursday, October 01, 2015
Toshiba FlashAir III 32GB SDHC review


1. Features, specifications

Earlier this year, Toshiba introduced the FlashAir III Wireless SD Card, a third generation memory card that serves as its own wireless LAN access point, allowing you to share images, videos and files wirelessly. Compared to previous generation the FlashAir II Wireless SD Cards, the latest models offer enhanced photo sharing and management features, you can quickly designate which photos to instantly share and manage files from a web browser on a PC more easily.

In addition to Class 10 speed for data transfer, the FlashAir III Wireless SD Card's Internet pass-through feature allows users to access the card and Internet (via your separate wireless router) simultaneously - enabling the ability to upload images in real-time. Using a wireless LAN chip, The FlashAir III Wireless SD Card is accessible to any wireless capable computers, smartphones or tablets, and can support simultaneous access from up to seven devices. In addition, the built-in Wi-Fi access point also allows for transfers without an Internet connection.
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Toshiba FlashAir III Wireless SD Card is easy to set up. Just like the regular wireless LAN access point, the wireless connection can be secured with WEP, WPA or WPA2.

Toshiba also offers a free FlashAir mobile app that allows you to share via iOS and Android-based devices. The FlashAir III Wireless SD Card is backed by a five-year standard limited warranty.

The Toshiba FlashAir III Wireless SD retails for $79.99 MSRP3 for 16GB and $99.99 for 32GB. The latter model is what we are having in our labs and we will shortly present it to you.

Features

Specifications


2. Software
The Toshiba FlashAir III 32GB SDHC can be bought online for $39 (www.amazon.com).

The package includes:

As far as SD cards go, the Toshiba FlashAir III has the same has a sleek looking off-white enclosure and black inscription. It is of standard size and weight and can fit into any SD slot on a camera or PC.

On the front-side, it has all relevant information including the FlashAir III name (W-03) wireless logo, capacity, and the Toshiba branding. Also shown on the front of the SD card is the Class 10 speed designation.

There is a also small slide-locking mechanism. When locked, all images that are taken are protected.


The reverse side of the card features 9 gold connector pins.

First you should download the latest FlashAir configuration software and installed it to a PC. Insert the FlashAir III card into the computer's SD card slot and start the "FlashAirTool" software. The window below will open and will soon detect the FlashAir III card. make sure that the write protect tab on the card is set to LOCK.

Once the card is recognized, the following main window will show up. Fro there you can set the network settings, the wireless LAN startup modes ( Automatic startup and manual startup) and also initialize the card.

In the network settings window, the following settings can be configured:.
・The FlashAir SSID
・The FlashAir password
・Redirecting function settings
・Internet pass thru mode settings
・The SSID of the access point used for internet pass thru mode
・The password of the access point used for internet pass thru mode

The redirecting function automatically redirects the browser to "http://flashair" when accessing the FlashAir card with the browser on your smartphone or similar. This function is available for FlashAir W-02 and FlashAir W-03 cards.

The Internet pass thru mode allows a connection to another access point to be made via the FlashAir card. When an internet access point is connected to, images stored on the FlashAir card can be viewed, and the internet can also be accessed.

When Wireless LAN Startup mode is selected, the following window appears. There are two startup modes, Automatic startup mode and Manual
startup mode.

When the Automatic startup mode mode is used, wireless LAN functionality will start up automatically when the device (e.g. digital camera) that the FlashAir card is inserted into is turned on.

If there is no attempt to connect to the FlashAir card from a device (e.g. smartphone) within the time set in the timeout setting, the wireless LAN functionality automatically turns off.

When the Manual startup mode is used, wireless LAN functionality stops and starts when image protection is turned on and off on the digital camera. This can prolong battery life as wireless LAN functionality only turns on when necessary.

 

 

FlashAir III drive makes it possible to copy FlashAir files to a computer via wireless LAN using file management software (e.g. Windows Explorer, Finder on Mac computers).

In other words, just like a network drive, you can see files on the FlashAir card on your computer when the FlashAir card is still inserted into the digital camera or other device that it is normally used in. You can then copy these files from the FlashAir card just as you would copy files on your computer.

Of course, the "FlashAir drive setting" can only be used on computers equipped with wireless LAN.

To use this function, set the "Wireless LAN Startup Mode" to "Automatic startup mode".

This function is only available for FlashAir III W-03 cards.

As a note, the FlashAir drive setting can only be used to copy files on the FlashAir III card to a computer. It cannot be used to copy files from a computer to a card.

If you attempt to copy files from a computer to a FlashAir III card, it will appear as if the files have been copied in Explorer (Finder), but the files will not actually have been copied to the FlashAir card.

If you select "FlashAir drive setting", the following screen will be displayed:


If you select "ON" and click the "Apply" button, a window guiding you through the FlashAir drive setting procedure appears . Follow the instructions to configure the FlashAir III drive, if it has not already been configured.


If the network settings were configured using a smartphone or similar and not this software, the SSID and password confirmation screen shown below will appear. Enter the password and click "Next".

If the network settings were configured using a smartphone or similar and not this software, the SSID and password confirmation screen shown below will appear. Enter the password and click "Next".

The next step is to remove the FlashAir III card from the card reader/writer or SD card slot, then insert it into the device with which you will normally use the card (digital camera e.t.c). Turn the device on, and click "Next".

The FlashAir drive III will be configured. It may take several minutes to configure the FlashAir drive. If the digital camera etc. is set to turn off automatically, change the setting so that it will not turn off during this step.

Using the FlashAir drive with Windows

A background application will start up when the FlashAir drive has been configured. You can Right click in the system tray to display a menu with the following options: "Connect to FlashAir", "Disconnect FlashAir" and "Exit". Click "Connect to FlashAir" to connect to the FlashAir card via wireless LAN and open Explorer.

The "Initialize the card" function restores the card settings to the default settings. If "Initialize the card" is performed, all data recorded on the card will be deleted. Be sure to back up the data on the card using a PC or other SDHC compatible device before initializing the card.

When "Initialize the card/change settings" is selected, the screen below will be displayed. If the card is initialized, the initial FlashAir settings (Network settings, Wireless LAN startup mode and FlashAir drive setting) must be reconfigured. When the card is initialized, this software will recognize the card as a new card and a message saying "An unconfigured FlashAir card has been found" will be displayed. Then, a window guiding you through the initial setting procedure will appear. Follow the instructions in the window to configure the card.

The MASTERCODE allows network settings such as the FlashAir SSID and password to be changed using the smartphone app. To set a MASTERCODE, enter the code you want to set and click the "Apply" button. The MASTERCODE must be 12 alphanumeric characters.

Set a MASTERCODE if you wish to be able to change network settings on your smartphone. If a MASTERCODE is not set, the network settings can only be changed on the device (computer, smartphone etc.) on which the initial FlashAir settings were configured.


3. Using the FlashAir III 32GB SD card

Usability

You can connect to the Toshiba FlashAir III SD card through a device that supports Wifi, such as your smartphone PC, or your digital camera.

In case of a camera, switch it on with the the FlashAir SD Card inserted. In another Wireless LAN device like a PC/smartphone/TabletPC, enable Wireless LAN in the Wireless LAN configuration and connect to the FlashAir network. Start a web browser on the Wireless LAN device and input the http://flashair URL. There you can also set the SSDID and change the password. The default 12345678 and it' better to change it after the first use.

The one major difference between the FlashAir II and the new FlashAir III SD cards is the ability to open the memory card like a wifi network drive on your computer. After connecting to the FlashAir III you will see the SD card as a removable device on your PC. The image thumbnails loaded fast, although downloading an image took more than we expected to complete.

The mobile app is a key feature of the the FlashAir III . On iOS and Android devices, the pitch is that you can connect to the FlashAir III to have easy access to a list of thumbnails from which you can download the full image. Once you connect to the wifi network that the card creates, you can start transferring photos. The app is pretty easy to navigate. The thumbnails loaded fast but downloading an image took as long as 8-12 seconds to complete. The app also allows you to upload a picture on social networks (Facebook, twitter, etc).

Benchmarks

It's time to run some file transfer benchmarks with the Toshiba FlashAir III 32GB Wireless SD card. The card's class rating (10) is within a letter "C" on the label. The Class 10 rating ensures a 10MB/s minimum write speed. Generally, the speed classes are minimum requirements and SD card manufacturers can define constant minimum write speeds that are higher than the speed class designation of the SD card.

We tested the Toshiba FlashAir III 32GB SDHC Wifi Card using a Kingston MobileLite G3 memory card reader inserted to a computer's USB3.0 port.

H2Testw: This is the most popular software used to test memory products. The At this test FlashAir III 32GB gave a 17.4MB/sec speed for read and 10.4MB/sec for write, both sequential.

Compared with the performance of other the Class10 SD memory cards, the Toshiba FlashAir 32GB III SDHC was slower. The card was not faster than the FlashAIR II model, but still, it still performed according to its specs quoted by Toshiba:

H2Testw
Reading (MB/s)
Writing (MB/s)
Kingston UltimateXX UHS-1 SDHC 32GB
77.7
34.1
Kingston UltimateX SDHC Class 10 32GB
31.3
14.1
Sandisk Extreme UHS-1 SDHC 32GB
42.2
32.3
Toshiba FlashAir III 32GB SDHC Class 10

17.4

10.4
Toshiba FlashAir II 32GB SDHC Class 10
17.9
11.2

The CrystalDiskMark 3.0.2e x64 edition benchmark returned slightly higher figures. The average speed during reading was 19.MB/sec while writing was 12.85 MB/sec. However the 4K/QD32 performance was poor:

CrystalDiskMark Sequential Read Sequential Write
Kingston UltimateX 32GB SDHC Class 10 20.12MB/sec 14.47 MB/sec
Kingston UltimateXX 32GB SDHC 89.29 MB/sec 47.73 MB/sec
Toshiba FlashAir II SDHC 32GB Class 10 19.08 MB/sec 12.80 MB/sec
Toshiba FlashAir III SDHC 32GB Class 10 19 MB/sec 12.85 MB/s
Sandisk Extreme UHS-1 SDHC 32GB 20.62 MB/sec 19.86 MB/sec

4. Final words

FlashAir is the SDHC memory card with embedded Wireless LAN functionality. Since FlashAir works as a stand alone Wireless LAN access point, the FlashAir card is able to both send files to and receive files from each other.

Toshiba's new FlashAir III provides users with an easier means of transferring media from their camera. Equipped with a wireless LAN chip and antenna, the FlashAir III can wirelessly send its data to computers, tablets, and smartphones. Most importantly, it can be used with or without a wi-fi signal thanks to its internet pass-thru feature.

FlashAir also retains the normal functionality of an SD card, allowing general Wi-Fi devices like PCs and smartphones to access its contents.

The FlashAir III 32GB SD card is very similar to its predecessor (the FlashAir II) in terms of performance and in features, besides the really handy addition of the the ability to open the memory card like a wi-fi network drive on your computer.

As a note, the wireless function is powered off when not in use to reduce the card’s drain on the camera’s battery, though the camera must be turned on during wireless transfers.

As far as performance goes, we saw sequential read speeds of just 18 MB/s and sequential write speeds of 12 MB/s. That's not so fast and definitely not an improvement compared to the previous FlashAir II 32GB SD card.

At the time of the review, the FlashAir W03 32GB can be bought online for about 38 Euros. Before buying the device, make sure to check the list of supported devices, as they have been compiled and tested by Toshiba.

Pros

Cons



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