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How to Choose the Right Photo Stick for Your Needs: A Comprehensive Review

photo stick beside the phone and camera Photo by Devenorr on shutterstock

With the promulgation of smartphones we humans are taking more photos than ever before. The problem is how to properly store and archive those photos so that our future generations can enjoy them and the legacy that we leave behind. Thankfully, there are many easy to use and convenient solutions when it comes to storing photos shot with our cameras. 

However, when it comes to photos shot with our phones we are either split between cloud storage or options that require plugging our phones to a computer and backing it up. Either, a reliable on-the-go solution is warranted that works without any dependency on availability of the internet and requires no laptop to transfer images.

photo sitck connected to the phone

Photo by zkolra on shutterstock

Enter the Photo Stick. They look like a regular thumb drive, they even work like a thumb drive when you plug it in to your laptop, but they are designed specifically for phones. Meaning you don’t need to plug your phone to your laptop in order to backup your photos. Simply plug the device to your phone’s Micro-USB port and it identifies photos and videos on your phone and  backs them up! It is the most convenient way to ensure that you have a solid backup system that’s reliable, not dependent on a laptop and doesn't require the internet.

What is a Photo Stick?

A photo stick is a small stick-like contraption that looks like any other thumb drive and is designed to back up photos and videos from your phone. The good thing about a photo stick is that you don’t need a laptop. Though, when you plug in to a laptop it works like any other flash drive or thumb drive. On a phone it works slightly differently,  and it automatically looks for photos and videos and then starts to back them up. You don’t have to manually locate your photos and back them up.

Imagine the amount of time you can save by not having to manually look for the photos and videos spread across dozens of folders on your phone. For some who uses multiple social media accounts, photo editing tools and is an ardent smartphone-ographer, it literally saves hours by not having to shift through all these folders and manually back up the photos. Not to mention the risk of inadvertently overlooking some folders.

hand-holding flash drive

Photo by Andrey Sayfutdinov on shutterstock

Photo Stick vs Flash Drive

There are some fundamental differences between how a flash drive and a photo stick works. A photo stick works with both a standard USB and a Micro-USB port. That means you can use a photo stick on your phone as well as on your laptop. On the other hand, a flash drive will only work with a laptop.

Another important difference between a photo stick and a regular thumb/flash drive is that a photo stick will only backup photos and videos while you can backup any files with a thumb drive. You can still backup other files but with such files you have to manually add them to be backed up by a photo stick.

Another major point of difference is that regular flash/thumb drives offer larger storage as compared to photo sticks.

blue and silver photo stick

Photo by PARINYA ART on shutterstock

Benefits of Using a Photo Stick

  1. Conventional size but large storage

Despite the smaller storage size as compared to thumb drives, photo sticks still offer a decent amount of storage for your photos and videos. To give you some perspective, a 64 GB photo stick can store more than 5000 photos (depending on the file size). The most important thing is they offer a secure backup system and that’s what makes them so useful.

  1. Fast Operation

There is absolutely no learning curve to use these photo sticks. Simply plug it into your phone’s Micro-USB port, press the “Go” button and it starts to do its job. It scans your phone/digital device and starts backing up photos and videos.

  1. Automated Backup

As the powering mechanism of a photo stick is a software, you don’t have to worry about identifying the folders where your photos and videos are located. The automated backup system identifies the folders where your photos and videos are located and backs them up. Most of the media file types such as PNG, GIF, JPEG, and MOV are backed up without issues.

Features to Consider When Choosing Photo Stick

  1. Storage Capacity

Photo sticks come in various storage options. The amount of storage you need is going to be dictated by your usage. If you are an “average” user a standard 512 GB photo stick will be sufficient for you. Just to give you a perspective, a typical 512 GB photo stick can hold between 30,000-50,000 photos. For someone who is a professional photographer or shoots a lot of photos with their phone a larger storage option is warranted.

  1. Connector Types

The traditional connector port types for photo sticks are USB-A and USB-C. Ideally, you need both for maximum versatility and device compatibility. All laptops come with USB-A ports and most modern phones come with the Type-C port. Having a photo stick that has both options means all your devices can be backed up.

  1. Speed

Read and write speeds of your device determines how fast files are backed up and and when accessing them how fast they load on your device. Choose a transfer speed that matches your requirements. A standard 150 MB/s data transfer speed is a good starting point. 

Best Photo Stick to Buy Right Now

Best Photo Stick for iPhone

1. iDiskk Photo Stick

iDiskk Photo Stick

Image Credit: amazon.com

The iDiskk Photo Stick may be your best option if you own an iPhone 11 or 12, an iPad, or a MacBook with iOS 14.

Specifications

  • Brand: iDiskk
  • Hardware Interface: USB 3.0, USB 2.0
  • Memory Storage Capacity: 128 GB
  • Special Feature: Lightning Port, USB 3.0 port to computers
  • Flash Memory Type: USB 3.0
  • Encryption and MFI certified.

Pros

  • Wide variety of file types are supported.

  • Has auto backup.
  • Possesses a variety of storage options.

    Cons

    • You may experience difficulties with the iDiskk app.
    • Outdated style (similar to ordinary USB 2.0s)

    2. JSL JDTDC Photo Stick

    JSL JDTDC Photo Stick

    Image Credit: amazon.com

    The JSL JDTDC Photo Stick is a popular storage option for iPhones. With Apple MFi Certification you can be rest assured that the device will be able to free up space in your Apple device. Even earlier models are compatible with this stick (as far back as the iPhone 5S).

    Specifications

    • Brand: JSL JDTDC
    • Hardware Interface: USB, USB 3.0
    • Memory Storage Capacity: 128 GB
    • Write Speed: 40 MB/s 

    • Read Speed: 80 MB/s
    • Warranty: 18 Months

      Pros

      • MFI-certified product by Apple

      • Numerous device compatibility including iPhone 5S, iPad 5 and Mini 2.

        Cons

        • Requires installation

        • The 12.9-inch and 11-inch iPad Pro with type-C port are not supported.

          3. WOFICLO Photo Stick

          WOFICLO Photo Stick

          Image Credit: amazon.com

          Gold, pink and blue are gorgeous colors for the WOFICLO Photo Stick. However, you are only allowed 128 GB or 256 GB of storage. You can manage your files with the CooDisk app and keep your files secure with a password and touch-ID encryption. It's ideal for confidentiality and privacy protection.

          Specifications

          • Brand: WOFICLO
          • Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
          • Memory Storage Capacity: 128 GB
          • Write Speed: 40 MB/s 

          • Read Speed: 80 MB/s
          • Color: Gold, Pink, Blue

            Pros

            • MFI-certified product by Apple

            Cons

            • Need to download the Coodisk App from the app store.

            4. SCICNCE

            SCICNCE photo stick

            Image Credit: amazon.com

            This is a high-capacity photo stick with versions available with up to 1 TB of storage. There are smaller storage capacity sticks as well - 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB. It's available in several storage options including rose gold, silver, and dark gray.

            Specification

            • Brand: SCICNCE
            • Memory Capacity: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1TB

            • Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
            • Read Speed: 80 MB/s (30MB/s for phone port)
            • Write Data: 30 MB/s (10MB/s for phone port)
            • Color: Rose gold, Silver, Dark gray
            • Item Weight: 0.12 ounces
            • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 0.16 inches

              Pros

              • Numerous compatibilities

              • Simple port switching for various devices.
              • Made of frosted aluminum metal.
              • No app required for Android phones.

                Cons

                • Periodically, pieces of the original file are lost (date, location, etc.)

                5. XINHUAYI USB 1 TB Flash Drive

                 XINHUAYI USB 1 TB Flash Drive

                Image Credit: amazon.com

                The XINHUAYI Flash Drive is quite the box and has several connectors. The drive is simple to use and offers USB Type-C and USB 3.0 connections for increased flexibility.

                Specifications

                • Brand: XINHUAYI

                • Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
                • Memory Storage Capacity: 1 TB
                • Flash Memory Type: USB Flash Drive
                • Color: Red, Blue, Pink
                • Item Weight: 0.528 ounces
                • Manufacturer: XINHUAYI

                  Pros

                  • Robust construction that safeguards the ports when not in use.

                  • One of the largest storage options on this list.
                  • Comes with a free app “Y-Disk” that supports streaming from the photo stick.
                  • Made of frosted aluminum and built very well.
                  • Comes with a 24-months warranty.

                    Cons

                    • The supporting app at times malfunctions.

                    6. Samsung Duo Plus(256 GB)

                    Samsung Duo Plus(256 GB)

                    Image Credit: amazon.com

                    The Samsung Duo Plus comes with a reasonable amount of storage but is clearly a winning design. It is built tough and is weather resistant allowing you to use it practically anywhere. Works with USB Type-A as well as USB Type-C ports.

                    Specifications

                    • Brand: SAMSUNG
                    • Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
                    • Memory Storage Capacity: 256 GB
                    • Connectivity Technology: USB
                    • Read Speed: 400 MB/s

                    • Connector Type: USB Type A, USB Type C
                    • Color: Silver, Black

                      Pros

                      • Quick transfer

                      • USB 3.1 port backwards compatible with USB 3.0/2.0
                      • Works with legacy devices like laptops as well as modern smartphones.
                      • Waterproof, shock-proof and heat resistive design.

                        Cons

                        • Storage is limited to 256 GB only.

                        7. The PhotoStick Omni (128 GB)

                        ThePhotoStick Omni (128 GB)

                        Image Credit: amazon.com

                        ThePhotoStick Omni comes with ThePhotoStick, but it's also paired with an adapter. A Type-C USB port, a Lightning port, a USB port, or a micro USB port can all be used with the adapter attached to the photo stick. You can download and use an app from the Google Play store to use the ThePhotoStick Omni with. The device comes in various storage options - 32GB, 64GB and 128GB.

                        Specifications

                        • Brand: ThePhotoStick

                        • Operating System: Android, Windows, iOS.
                        • Hardware Interface: USB
                        • Compatible Devices: Computers, Smartphones, Laptops, iOS devices
                        • Item Weight: 06 ounces
                        • Manufacturer: ThePhotoStick

                          Pros

                          • Multi port system with diverse use-case scenarios.

                          • Simple to use.

                            Cons

                            • The phone app is not the most intuitive to work with.

                            8. WansisenUSB-CFlashDrive (1TB)

                            WansisenUSB-CFlashDrive (1TB)

                            Image Credit: amazon.com

                            The WansisenUSB-CFlashDrive comes with a lot of storage space - 1TB of it. The most important thing about this photo stick is that it comes at a very reasonable price for the amount of storage that it offers.

                            Specifications

                            • Brand: WANSISEN

                            • Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
                            • Memory Storage Capacity: 1TB
                            • Write Speed: 16x
                            • Read Speed: 80 Megabytes Per Second
                            • Hardware Platform: Mac
                            • Manufacturer: Wan xin sheng
                            • Item Weight: 0.63 Ounces
                            • Product Dimensions: 2.09 x 0.59 x 0.25 inches

                              Pros

                              • Ample storage
                              • Low cost

                              Cons

                              • The brand is not as popular as some of the others on this list.

                              9 iDiskkPhotoStick (256 GB)

                              iDiskkPhotoStick (256 GB)

                              Image Credit: amazon.com

                              The iDiskk photo stick features a versatile 4-in-1 photo stick design. One that comes with a Micro USB, Lightning, USB Type-C, and a USB 3.0 connector. The design is queer but functional. Storage capacity is on the lower side for this model. However, there are 1 TB versions as well.

                              Specifications

                              • Brand: iDiskk

                              • Hardware Interface: USB Type C
                              • Memory Storage Capacity: 256 GB
                              • Flash Memory Type: USB
                              • Color: Silver
                              • Item Weight: 39 Ounces
                              • Manufacturer: iDiskk
                              • Hardware Platform: PC, Mac

                                Pros

                                • Versatile design that works with multiple devices.

                                Cons

                                • Users have mentioned about compatibility issues with Android as well as iOS devices.

                                Bonus: Top 3 Budget Photo Stick with Versatility

                                  10. Avomoco 3.1 128 GB

                                  Avomoco 3.1 128 GB

                                  Image Credit: amazon.com

                                  This flash drive is the most versatile because it has a 3-in-1 gadget. The connectivity options are micro, USB, and Type-C. As a result, the device can transmit data to and from PCs, laptops, vehicle audio players, and DVD players in addition to mobile devices. If you ever need a backup solution for any gadget, it's fantastic to have.

                                  Specifications

                                  • Brand: AVOMOCO
                                  • Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
                                  • Memory Storage Capacity: 128 GB
                                  • Read Speed: 100 Megabytes Per Second
                                  • Write Speed: 20x
                                  • Item Weight: 317 ounces
                                  • Manufacturer: Avomoco
                                  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 0.8 x 0.4 inches

                                  Pros

                                  • Compatible with Micro-USB, Type-C and USB ports.

                                  • Compatible with all OTG-enabled devices
                                  • Can connect with devices with Type- C connection

                                    Cons

                                    • It does not have file protection

                                    • Write speed is 20x only.

                                      11. SanDisk 1TB Ultra Dual Drive

                                      SanDisk 1TB Ultra Dual Drive

                                      Image Credit: amazon.com

                                      It is a chic and practical picture stick that makes storing data easily. With a USB Type-C connector on one end and a Type-A connector on the other, it is a convenient and tested design that’s being done by many of the other devices that we have listed here. Its dual connector allows transferring files between Macs, PCs, tablets, smartphones, and other devices simple.

                                      Specifications

                                      • Brand: SanDisk
                                      • Hardware Interface: USB, USB Type C
                                      • Memory Storage Capacity: 1 TB
                                      • Connectivity Technology: USB
                                      • Read Speed: 150 Megabytes Per Second
                                      • Item Weight: 0.635 ounces
                                      • Item Model Number: SDDDC4-1T00-G46
                                      • Product Dimensions: 75 x 0.48 x 0.34 inches
                                      • Manufacturer: Western Digital Technologies, Inc.

                                      Pros

                                      • Simple to use
                                      • Ample storage

                                      Cons

                                      • It lacks file protection mechanisms like passwords.

                                      12. USB 3.0 Flash Drive 512 GB AUAMOZ

                                      USB 3.0 Flash Drive 512 GB AUAMOZ

                                      Image Credit: amazon.com

                                      One-Click Backup of Photos & Videos is among its top features. It has a Type-C connection on one end and a USB connection on the other, making it compatible with computers and smartphones. Due to the inclusion of the micro USB function within the USB connection, the photo stick is quite versatile. The USB port has a reading speed of up to 80MB/s and a writing speed of up to 30MB/s.

                                      Specifications

                                      • Brand: AUAMOZ
                                      • Hardware Interface: USB 3.0 Memory Stick Select
                                      • Memory Storage Capacity: 512 GB
                                      • Read Speed: 80 Megabytes Per Second
                                      • Color: Orange
                                      • Item Model Number: 0-512 GB
                                      • Item Weight: 2 ounces
                                      • Product Dimensions: 3 x 0.8 x 0.19 inches

                                      Pros

                                      • Works with a number of devices.

                                      • The retractable design is very smooth and effective.

                                        Cons

                                        • Slower than average read and write speed

                                        Conclusion

                                        Although flash drives and photo sticks look the same and work similarly, there are major differences which have been highlighted in the opening paragraphs of this buying guide. To reiterate, a photo stick is a tailor-made design for phones but is versatile enough to work with laptops and other compatible digital devices as well. Hopefully, the details shared in this guide will be able to help you make an informed buying decision.

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